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Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)



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Rambo: First Blood, Part II misunderstands what made the first film entertaining. The twist with First Blood was that the badguys were on the side of the law and amongst decent guys just trying to do their jobs. Part II sends John Rambo into Vietnam to rescue American prisoners of war. En route, he stalks and kills an endless parade of enemy soldiers who blunder unwittingly right into him. It plays like a slasher movie, except that we're on the side of the killer, which, I suppose, is not necessarily that different anyway.

For the finale, Rambo shifts from stalker mode to one man army mode, in which badguys never seem to hit him, even with machine guns, even when Rambo deliberately stands in full view instead of taking cover. In First Blood, I believed in the character's unmatched prowess at guerilla warfare; here I believed him only as a survivor in a world where the course of every bullet is directed by a man behind a camera.

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