Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

On Netflix: Rambo!

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.


9 responses to “On Netflix: Rambo!

  1. Bill Barnes September 10, 2015 at 7:15 am

    I love that movie.

  2. H.P. September 10, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Rambo is definitely more of a 70s movie than an 80s movie (it’s true, I think, that the decade doesn’t really turn over culturally until a few years in). It’s got that touch of jaded nihilism so prevalent in 70s movies (which is why I love 70s movies so much–that, and the cars).

  3. PeterD September 10, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    You mean First Blood, right? Rambo was the second movie, and it takes place in Vietnam.

    • jeffro September 10, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      Yes, I am discussing the 1982 film “First Blood” that featured the debut of John Rambo on the big screen wherein he levels a small town and its police department.

      • PeterD September 10, 2015 at 6:49 pm

        That one and the one in Burma from 2008 (just titled Rambo) are the only ones I ever saw end to end. I’m pretty sure the UHF bit is goofing on the sequel.

        First Blood is a good movie, although not great – the end bit is so preachy it loses its chance to be a really effective tragedy. Still glad I saw it.

    • jeffro September 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      America was still looking for closure on that whole Vietnam thing even at that late date.

      • PeterD September 11, 2015 at 9:06 am

        I’d argue less than 10 years later being a late date. 18 year olds who were in the A-Shau valley in 1964 would have only been 38 in 1982, nevermind those who served at the tail end of the war.
        It’s still a non-closed issue. You can hear it echoed in the “why didn’t the politicians just let the soldiers kill all the bad guys and win the war in Iraq?” lines in opinion pieces, in memoirs of soldiers, in movies, etc. The “Rambo” theme is an ongoing one.

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