Rambo: First Blood Part II
|Rambo: First Blood Part II|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||George P. Cosmatos|
|Produced by||Buzz Feitshans|
|Screenplay by||Sylvester Stallone
|Story by||Kevin Jarre|
|Based on||Characters created by
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Editing by||Larry Bock
Frank E. Jiminez
|Distributed by||Tri-Star Pictures|
|Running time||94 min.|
Rambo: First Blood Part II (also known as Rambo II or First Blood II) is a 1985 American action film directed by George P. Cosmatos and starring Sylvester Stallone. The screenplay was by Stallone and James Cameron. A sequel to 1982's First Blood, it is the second installment in the Rambo series, with Stallone reprising his role as Vietnam veteran John Rambo. Picking up where the first film left, the sequel is set in the context of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue; it sees Rambo released from prison by federal order to document the possible existence of POWs in Vietnam, under the belief that he will find nothing, thus enabling the government to sweep the issue under the rug.
Despite negative reviews, Rambo: First Blood Part II was a major box office success. Rambo: First Blood Part II is the most recognized and memorable installment in the series, having inspired countless rip-offs, parodies, video games, and even imitations such as Missing in Action, Strike Commando, Rampage, and The Interrogation of Muscular P.O.W. Rambo: First Blood Part II was the film that popularized and stylized the lone wolf/one-man army action hero element which has been used in numerous action thriller films and media since its release.
The film was on the ballot for the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Cheers, a list of America's most inspiring movies. Entertainment Weekly ranked the movie number 23 on its list of The Best Rock-'em, Sock-'em Movies of the Past 25 Years.
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), having been tried, convicted, and sentenced to hard labor, is working in a labor camp prison when he gets a visit from his former commander, Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna). Trautman offers Rambo the chance to be released from prison after the events of the first film and given full clemency, but on condition of him going back to Vietnam to search for POWs. Rambo meets Marshal Murdock (Charles Napier), an American bureaucrat who is in charge of the operation and he tells Rambo that the public is demanding knowledge about the POWs and they want a trained commando to go in and search for them. Rambo is briefed that he is only to photograph the POWs and not to rescue them, nor is he to engage any enemy soldiers. Rambo reluctantly agrees and he is then told that an agent of the US government will be there to receive him in the jungles of Vietnam.
Rambo parachutes into the Vietnamese jungles, but loses most of his equipment in the process because his parachute line gets caught on the plane on exit. He is left only with his knives and his bow and arrows. He meets the agent, a local woman named Co-Bao (Julia Nickson), who wants to go to the US, and who arranges for her and Rambo to go upstream with a group of river pirates. Rambo comes to the camp, and in contradiction to his briefing, he finds the POWs there and rescues one of them from torture. Later at the camp, a patrol discovers a dead sentry whom Rambo eliminated with a throwing knife. In response, a large patrol goes out into the jungles in search of the (unknown to them) intruder. Rambo, Co and the POW escape with the pirates, but are attacked by a Vietnam People's Navy gunboat and are promptly betrayed by the pirates, who fear the military's reprisals should they not cooperate; Rambo sends Co and the POW to safety and manages to destroy the gunboat with an RPG-7 and kill all the pirates. When Rambo calls for extraction, the helicopter comes but goes back as Murdock fears what will happen to him and his party if the public come to know about it.
Rambo and the POW are recaptured and sent back to the POW camp. Rambo's wrists are bound to an oxen yoke and he is lowered partially naked into a leech-infested cesspit. Later Rambo learns that the Soviet Army is aiding the Vietnamese and training them, and is tortured badly by a Soviet officer, Lt. Col. Podovsky (Steven Berkoff) and his silent, robust henchman Sergeant Yushin (Voyo Goric). After a transcript of earlier communications is read to him, Rambo is ordered to contact the military and tell them that they should not send any more commandos for rescue operations in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Co infiltrates the camp in the disguise of a prostitute and comes to the hut in which Rambo is held captive. Rambo at first resists and refuses to cooperate, but to protect the POW that he saved previously he seemingly agrees to Podovsky's condition. However, when he is given the microphone he instead threatens Murdock on the radio and says "coming to get you." With that, Rambo takes Podovsky and Yushin by surprise and escapes from there, with Co bursting on the scene and firing at the Vietcong. He then escapes from captivity into a nearby jungle with Co's help. Co then tends to Rambo's wounds and begins to implore him to take her to the US. Rambo agrees and they kiss; however, they are then attacked by some Vietnamese soldiers and Co is killed. Rambo kills them all (except for their commander, who escapes, but is later killed by one of Rambo's exploding arrows) and then buries Co's body in the jungle.
Following his escape, the camp's Vietnamese soldiers and Soviet commandos are sent to look for him. Rambo assembles his weapons, and using guerrilla warfare tactics, is able to kill a large number of enemy troops in the jungle. He proceeds to a small enemy camp and destroys it and several vehicles with explosive arrows.
He hijacks a helicopter from the Soviets after throwing Sergeant Yushin out and proceeds towards the POW camp. He destroys most of the camp with the helicopter, then lands and arms himself with the machine gun that is mounted on the Huey, kills the remaining soldiers, and rescues all the POWs. They get to the helicopter and head towards the US camp in Thailand. Lt. Col. Podovsky chases them in his Mil Mi-24 helicopter gunship. Although Rambo's helicopter is heavily damaged by Podovsky's helicopter, he manages to land his helicopter on a river, then fakes his death. When Podovsky comes near him and gets careless, Rambo fires a rocket at Podovsky's chopper, destroying it.
Rambo then returns to the base and in anger wrecks Murdock's command center using the helicopter's machine gun. He confronts the terrified Murdock with his knife, demanding that Murdock finds and rescue the remaining POWs in Vietnam. Trautman then comforts Rambo and tries to pacify him. An angry Rambo responds that he only wants his country to love its soldiers as much as its soldiers love it. As Rambo leaves, Trautman asks him, "How will you live, John?" To which Rambo replies, "Day by day." The film credits roll as Rambo walks off into the distance while his mentor watches him.
The producers of the movie considered that Rambo would have a partner in the rescue mission of POWs. The producers allegedly wanted John Travolta to play Rambo's partner, but Stallone vetoed the idea. Lee Marvin (who was considered to play Colonel Trautman in the first film) was also originally set to play Marshall Murdock, but declined. James Cameron wrote a first draft under the title First Blood II, which originally had the idea of Travolta as Rambo's partner, but the concept was dropped and Stallone rewrote the script to have Rambo go solo.
The movie was shot between June 1984 and August 1984.
- Sylvester Stallone as John J. Rambo, the main protagonist of the movie. A Vietnam veteran returning to Vietnam from America.
- Richard Crenna as Col. Samuel Trautman, the commanding officer and closest friend of Rambo. Trautman trained Rambo ever since the start of the Vietnam War. Rambo looks to him as a father figure as he is the only one who cares.
- Charles Napier as Marshall Murdock, one of the two main antagonists of the movie, a corrupt bureaucrat.
- Steven Berkoff as Lt. Col. Podovsky, the primary villain of the movie, the Russian commander that assists the Communist Vietnamese army.
- Julia Nickson as Co-Bao
- Martin Kove as Ericson
- George Cheung as Lt. Tay
- Andy Wood as Banks
- William Ghent as Capt. Vinh (POW camp commander)
- Voyo Goric as Sgt. Yushin
- Dana Lee as Capt. Kinh
- Baoan Coleman as Gunboat Captain
- Steve Williams as Lifer
- Don Collins as POW #1
Awards and nominations
|Academy Award||Best Sound Editing||Frederick Brown||Nominated|
|Razzie Award||Worst Picture||Buzz Feitshans||Won|
|Worst Actor||Sylvester Stallone||Won|
|Worst Original Song||Frank Stallone ("Peace In Our Life")||Won|
|Worst Supporting Actress||Julia Nickson-Soul||Nominated|
|Worst New Star||Nominated|
|Worst Director||George Cosmatos||Nominated|
Rambo: First Blood Part II opened in the US on May 22, 1985, and was the #1 movie that weekend, taking $20,176,217 on 2,074 screens (which made it the first film in the US to be shown on 2,000+ screens). Overall, in the US, the movie took $150,415,432 and then took $149,985,000 internationally, giving Rambo: First Blood Part II a box office total of $300,400,432. The movie is easily the most successful of the Rambo series, with Rambo III in 2nd place with $189,015,611, First Blood in 3rd place with $125,212,904 and Rambo taking 4th place with $113,244,290. Rambo: First Blood Part II is Stallone's third biggest movie of all time, just slightly behind Rocky IV (1985), which took $300,473,716 (making 1985 Stallone's most successful year ever with over $600 million for the two movies), and The Expendables 2 (2012), which earned $312,573,423.
Rentals and overall figures
The movie made $78,919,000 in rentals in the US alone. DVDs of each of the first three movies in the series have been released and selling since 1998, but no figures are available for these yet. As the movie took $300,400,432 at the box office and $78,919,000 from US rentals, it is estimated that with European/international DVD sales of Rambo: First Blood Part II, the overall take for the movie is somewhere in the region of $400–500 million.
The musical score for the movie was done by Jerry Goldsmith, conducting the National Philharmonic Orchestra. The main song in the movie is sung by Stallone's brother, singer/songwriter Frank Stallone. Varèse Sarabande issued the original soundtrack album.
- Main Title (2:12)
- Preparations (1:16)
- The Jump (3:18)
- The Snake (1:48)
- Stories (3:26)
- The Cage (3:55)
- Betrayed (4:22)
- Escape From Torture (3:39)
- Ambush (2:45)
- Revenge (6:14)
- Bowed Down (1:04)
- Pilot Over (1:52)
- Home Flight (3:01)
- Day by Day (2:06)
- Peace In Our Life - music by Frank Stallone, Peter Schless and Jerry Goldsmith; lyrics by Frank Stallone; performed by Frank Stallone (3:18)
Note: As released in the United Kingdom by That's Entertainment Records (the British licensee for Varèse Sarabande at the time), the UK version placed "Peace In Our Life" between "Betrayed" and "Escape From Torture," thus making "Day By Day" the final track.
In 1999 Silva America released an expanded edition with the cues in film order. Previously unreleased music is in bold.
- Main Title (2:14)
- The Map (1:09)
- Preparations (1:18)
- The Jump (3:19)
- The Snake (1:49)
- The Pirates (1:29)
- Stories (3:27)
- The Camp/Forced Entry (2:24)
- The Cage (3:57)
- River Crash/The Gunboat (3:37)
- Betrayed (4:24)
- Bring Him Up/The Eyes (2:06)
- Escape From Torture (3:41)
- Ambush (2:47)
- Revenge (6:16)
- Bowed Down (1:06)
- Pilot Over (1:54)
- Village Raid/Helicopter Fight (4:55)
- Home Flight (3:02)
- Day By Day (2:08)
- Peace In Our Life - Frank Stallone (3:19)
- A novelization was written by David Morrell, author of the novel First Blood, on which the first Rambo film was based.
- During the 1980s many video games came out in the wake of the series. The plots and characters had many similarities to the games, such as Cross Fire, Commando and its sequel Bionic Commando, Guerrilla War, Defender, Operation Wolf, Snake's Revenge, Gun Smoke, and had some inspiration for the popular series Contra.
- There was a ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 game simply called Rambo, based upon the movie. There was also an NES game as well as a Sega Master System game, and MSX and DOS games based on the film. Sega later adapted some of the battle scenes in the film for the 2008 arcade game Rambo.
- Officially licensed knives from the movie, based on Jimmy Lile's designs were made by both United Cutlery and Master Cutlery. Master Cutlery fabricated both a standard and Limited Edition version. The Master Cutlery versions are push tang construction, have a hollow aluminum cord gripped handle that contains an emergency survival kit, and a precision compass mounted in the pommel. The stainless guards incorporate standard and Phillips head screwdriver points in the design. They are 1/4" thick 420 J2 stainless blades.
- It's Fade-Out for the Cheap Film As Hollywood's Budgets Soar: It's Fade-Out for Films Once Made on the Cheap By ALJEAN HARMETZSpecial to The New York Times. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 07 Dec 1989: C19.
- "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills: Official Ballot". AFI.com. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
- "The Action 25 Films: The Best Rock-'em, Sock-'em Movies of the Past 25 Years". Entertainment Weekly. January 30, 2009. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
- [dead link]
- We Get to Win This Time, 2002, Artisan Entertainment
- Wilmington, Michael (May 22, 1985). "Movie Review : Why A 'Rambo Ii'? For Muddiest Of Reasons". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- Rotten Tomatoes
- Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0.
- Rambo: First Blood Part II at the Internet Movie Database
- Rambo: First Blood Part II at Rotten Tomatoes
- Rambo: First Blood Part II at allmovie