Rambo: First Blood
"First Blood" by Yojimbo
Some times a sequel can take the concept of the original film and expand and elaborate on it in interesting ways. Others are just soulless, hulking abominations that suck the life out of the original until you forget that it was actually quite good. In First Blood Sly does what he does best as another stoic everyman (lets face it, when it comes to Stallone's performances, the less he says the better) who reverts to his survivalist training when persecuted by an arrogant and egotistical small town sheriff. There's no point in over-intellectualizing it, this is no analogy or "message" about the treatment of American soldiers in the aftermath of Vietnam. It is merely a tautly directed and well executed action thriller. Brian Dennehy is great as the hick sheriff who lets his ego get in the way of justice and the woodland scenes in which Rambo is hunted by the police and national guard are very good indeed. Unfortunately it does falter at the last hurdle, as the climax in which he singlehandedly attacks the town stretches both your credulity and sympathy. The closing speech is also mawkish and Richard Crenna's character is an absurd stereotype who trots out cliche after cliche, but as a whole it's far superior to the ridiculous cartoon flag waver the Rambo franchise became.