On Netflix: Rambo!
September 10, 2015
Posted by on
You know, Daredevil pretty well lost me the moment it devolved into being The Kingpin’s origin story with a little bit of filler from the supporting cast. I was going to watch another episode because people tell me that it really will all make sense when I get to the end, but one look at Wilson Fisk’s fat-faced momma’s boy Oedipus complexioned mug on the preview shot and I backed out. I just can’t take it anymore.
Instead I watched Rambo.
Now, I joke about hating everything that came out after 1980. And this is came out in 1982, so I was prepared to be disappointed. And yeah, I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the scene that inspired the splinter removal bit in I’m Gonna Get You Sucka. And good grief, the last thirty minutes or so with the ludicrous M60 action was so in line with Weird Al’s parody from UHF, it was uncanny. And the monologue at the end? What in the world?! The best thing about that was that I was spared having to comprehend the actual words!
But the first half of the movie or so… oh, it was perfect.
They introduce John Rambo with just a touch of mangst. They crack the door on his pain and loss just a bit… and he stoically tamps down on it. The bit where he gives the lady the picture of his old war buddy because the memento is suddenly pointless was well played. Why indulge in sentimentality, right?
But the treatment he gets by the cops– it was straight out of the Robert E. Howard play book. They were playing a corrupt and weak civilization in contrast to Rambo’s barely tempered barbarism. All they had to do was let him stop for a bite to eat as he passed through town. But they couldn’t let it happen. They were too comfortable swinging their weight around in the system that afforded them the extra forty pounds of fat that would have gotten them killed in short order in a guerrilla war. And with every escalation, the filmmakers made you hate them more and more while ratcheting up the viewer’s investment in the archetypal John Rambo.
The fly in the ointment is that even by 1982, people were too self-conscious to depict in the sort raw heroism you see in the old Conan stories. They had to make Rambo insane. But hey… a Rambo consumed with Vietnam flashbacks blubbering his way out of a no win scenario is still better than watching Wilson Fisk pick out his cuff-links and making breakfast.