Forget the War (Rambo: First Blood Part 2, 1985)
Three years after First Blood, John Rambo came back. This time he was freed from Jail to go on a secret government mission in Vietnam, saving POWs. He is brought in by Richard Crenna’s Col Trautman at the request of Marshall Murdock (Charles Napier). Directed by George Cosmatos (who went on to direct fan favorite Tombstone as well as Stallone’s Cobra) we get a shift in the type of character and story.
This film ticks off all sorts of tropes, such as a tragic love story, betrayal by the government who hires him and so on. This film really pushes Rambo towards being a super hero. He is not merely highly skilled as a fighter…he is unbeatable. Bullets will miss him, but he will never miss.
First Blood Part 2 revs up the action and general violence, while toning down the tragic aspects of his character. The focus on POWs, of course, allows some of it to remain, tying it to the first film. But, tonally speaking, this feels unlike our introduction in First Blood.
The cast is good, though some of the characters are just gun fodder, meant to motivate Rambo. In some ways, this is the film that moved forward the Stallone Action Era, that made him into the character we think of Stallone as today.