on March 12, 2003
The sequel to the critically acclaimed First Blood, Rambo is a film that delivers with intense action from start to finish. You can't be a fan of action movies until you have seen Rambo!
The movie begins with Colonel Troutman (played by the late Richard Crenna) visiting Rambo in hard-labor prison to offer him the chance of a pardon should he return to Vietnam to investigate claims of POWs still held there.
Though asking if "they'll be allowed to win this time," Rambo accepts the mission. Once on the ground, Rambo does find and rescues a POW only to find the political motivations of his mission did not include actually finding anyone. Abandoned by this own men, Rambo must fight out of the jungle with the help of Ko, a pretty young Vietnamese intelligence operative hopeful to leave the war behind against an entire army of Vietnamese soldiers and their Russian allies.
Cold War action at its best, Rambo puts its title character in an impossible situation and lets him shoot, knife, and muscle his way out of it. When he finally returns to base in Thailand and confronts the men who abandoned him in the jungle, he tells Troutman, "I want what they want, what every other guy who came over here and spilled his guts and gave everything he had wants: for our country to love us as much as we love it," the plea of every Vietnam vet who went to a war they didn't want but did the best they could.
Directed by James Cameron before his mania for the Titanic, Rambo is sure to thrill. Great from one end to the other!
on July 6, 2004
Where "First Blood" was a low-budget sleeper hit about a Vietnam vet still caught up in the nightmare, "Rambo" is a much larger and more elaborate fireworks display of an action film. Stallone's John Rambo is offered a potential pardon if he returns to Vietnam and brings back proof that there are still American soliders being held captive there. While there, he starts a one-man war against the sadistic Vietnamese soldiers and their Russian counterparts (led by everyone's favorite villian Steven Berkoff). "Rambo" is in may ways a marketable action vehicle for Stallone using patriotism as a good excuse to use every weapon imaginable to blow up everyone and everything in sight. While it does try to provide a message about the war and its importance, it is rather difficult to take this loud over-the-top live action toy commercial seriously as a "message movie". As a fun piece of adrenaline-filled action, it does however do its job.
After the first Rambo film 1982`s "First Blood" which reached a certain success with the audience,Stallone returned as John Rambo in "First Blood Part II" in 1985.This sequel is often remembered more than the original Rambo,who was based on David Morrell`s "First Blood" novel but was entirely rewritten for a movie but still keeping many of the basic elements of the book.Stallone gave us once again a great action movie that he can be proud of and that we can enjoy over and over again.It was filmed entirely in Mexico,not that it really matters,i just tought i`d add that in for extra information.It certainly has it`s own story and doesn`t copy the first at all,add to that it has even more violence than the first film.It seems that with each Rambo movies the more violence they have and that was proven to me with this one,"Rambo III"(1988) and "Rambo"(2008).
In "First Blood Part II" Rambo is currently serving five years in prison for his acts in "First Blood" at the beggening of the movie,until he gets released by Colonel Trautman if he accepts the mission the colonel gives him.As you could or should have guessed he accepted.Rambo must head for the P.O.W camp he escaped from in 1971 in order to find out if there are still some P.O.W.`s held in the camp.If he succeds he will be pardonned from jail and once again be a free man.Rambo does find many american hostages there and you can expect plenty of action from there.He must face many dangers that are very real.He also meets a young vietnamese girl whom he has a good relationship(not sexually)with and they become good friends.There are some flashback scenes from Rambo`s past in which he was tortured by the ennemies and we see how he got that big cut on his chest.I don`t want to give way the movie in every single details but there is plenty of action,killing,guns and other materials that can be 1)cool or 2)offensive depending of you,but be aware that all these aspects are in the film.
The special features.It is known already that the movie itself is incredible as well as a must see classic.The features from previous releases are gone for the most part.The first Rambo had the alternate ending s while this one has pretty much nothing.There are trailers for the movie,retrospectives and that`s about it.There are many possibilities for audio and visual which gives way to many options to set the movie to your liking with the metascopes and other modes that let you watch the film in different ways.I wonder why they cutted the extras,they did the same for the Rocky remasters.My advice : if you have the older versions don't get these you won't get anything new.its not worth it.If you cans score one of these "Special Editions" then you might consider yourself to have gotten a great deal.Those "Ultimate Editions" aren't so ultimate after all.
"First Blood Part II" stands as a classic and a must have.It does not suit everyone be advised so have to know a minimum on the movie before you actually rent and/or buy it.As mentionned above those editions aren't the best and the older editions are much better.Yet this one is easier to find and ainvailable nearly everywhere DVDs are sold which is pretty much the only advantage with these Ultimate editions.You can also save a lot by buying the "Ultimate Edition" boxed set of the first three Rambo.Overral,a solid sequel definatly worth seeing.Not the best Rambo but surely not the worst either and as a matter of fact pretty good!You can't go wrong by picking this up if you are a fan of action movies and/or Sylvester Stalone,I liked both so this definatly worked for me.
NOTE: A few weeks prior to writting this review the fourth Rambo was released,"Rambo",in theatres January 25th 2008(I will get to that in another review).
on January 6, 2004
When people think of Rambo and all that he represents, they're actually thinking of First Blood Part II (and Rambo III), replaced by a more escapist-oriented tone and approach. Virtually absent from this film is the "realism" of the first picture. Through and through, Rambo is nothing more than a full-blooded action film and because it's more forthcoming with its modest aspirations, it makes for better and more consistent entertainment than its predecessor. That still doesn't say much.
After the events of the first film, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is still serving time in a prison, but is given the opportunity for a pardon of all wrongdoings if he participates in a top-secret operation. Informed of the plan briefly after his release, he will parachute into Vietnam to search for evidence of American POWs in a specific prison camp. He's not to engage in combat, only to take photos. Teamed up with Co Bao (Julia Nickson), a Vietnamese freedom fighter, he sets out to free all the prisoners, even against the orders of his superiors.
Anyone looking for entertainment value based on plot and characters will be sorely disappointed. Both aspects are where the movie's flaws lie. Generally, the story just isn't that interesting, usually serving to drag the picture down rather than giving it a boost in between the action scenes. Stallone still makes for an effective Rambo, this time elevating his character to genuine action hero status. The human qualities he displayed in the first film are still evident, mixing in nicely with his outlandish heroics.
But it's virtually everyone else who's subpar. As the love interest, Julia Nickson was chosen for her appearance (and yes, she's very beautiful), but this isn't a role that does her any favors. Not only is the actress obviously half-caucasian, to give her the flavor of a Vietnamese woman, she speaks broken English, meaning she says lines like "You not expendable," basically leaving a word or two out of each sentence. But her pronunciation of each word is so precise and without a hint of an accent, it's so obvious she's actually fluent in English. Why didn't the filmmakers just let her play her character as such?
Aside from Richard Crenna, all the supporting players, whether on the American, Vietnamese, or Russian side, are all one-dimensional caricatures. As service to a mindless action film, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but knowing where all the characters stand from their very first appearance (even the so-called traitors are easy to point out) makes for less interesting viewing.
When the action is on-screen, FBII is sometimes a good slice of thrilling escapism. The first hour is completely dull, none of the shootouts or fights are directed with much flair or energy, but the last fifteen minutes are actually a pretty jolly good time, with Rambo taking on both the Russian and Vietnamese armies. Standout action scenes include the fight aboard the Russian chopper, the destruction of the prison camp, and the climactic helicopter chase, one of the series' most exhilarating action setpieces (nice to see the movie end on a very high note). The film is nicely backed by Jerry Goldsmith's rousing score, one of the famed composer's best works.
Released the same year as that other one-man army flick, Arnold Scwarzenegger's Commando, FBII is superior in many ways. The action choreography is slicker and arguably on a larger scale, the cinematography and direction is overall crisper, and Goldsmith's score is far more effective than James Horner's. But in the end, Commando is the far more entertaining picture because it maintains a fast pace and a great sense of macho fun from the first minute to the last. That, and a good sense of humor, is what elevates that film to the top of its kind.
on December 11, 2003
Now...I like action just as much as any guy. I grew up watching these films with my father, running around the backyard pretending to be Rambo. But as I grow older, I cannot understand why Rambo fans want to defend this film. Whereas the first film had interest, the next two films completely lose it. "First Blood" had an interesting Vietnam vet dealing with issues in the states. Stallone's acting in the final scene of that movie actually is a credit to his ability. But this film...well...they might as well have called it "Rambo Takes On Vietnam" or "Screw the Plot, More Action." While this film tries to recapture a bit of the first film's message, particularly in a few monologues that speak to the hopelessness of the Vietnam situation, it quickly descends into a bloodbath. Rambo starts using rockets and explosives to take out single enemy soldiers-the very definition of overkill.
Two scenes do create particular delight for me, however. The scene in which Rambo emerges from a muddy embankment and the scene in which he calmly takes out the Vietnamese captain with a single arrow, despite multiple bullets being hurled his direction. These scenes must be watched over and over again, if only for their hilarious content.
All in all, I think it's important for anyone to see the entire trilogy-if only for completion's sake. Just don't expect to find anything remotely close to the first film.
on August 19, 2003
Rambo II is one of those movies that in a way surpass its predecessor. It's more action oriented but with a somewhat cool plot. The movie itself is one of the most definitive action movies of the 80's. Directed by italian director, George Cosmatos, the movie was the one who put the name "Rambo" in common use in the USA. Also it was written by James Cameron (of the "Terminator" saga and Titanic) and Sylvester Stallone. The hidden subject in this movie is actually the idea of Rambo "winning" the vietnam war but there is more to it. When this movie opened in 85, the Cold War was as its best. Reagan used this movie to put himself into the "rambomania" frenzy, we all know that Reagan use all the media at his disposal but that's another story whatsoever.
The movie is rated R for violence mostly, there are a couple of bad words and blood but teens can get to it without much trouble. The whole idea of the "expendable" issue is a good theme for discussion between parents and kids or teacher and students.
Rambo: First Blood Part II (in some countries called "Rambo II: The Mission) now in this DVD format is a definitive movie for the action fan, specially if you are a fan of the 80's movie. This edition has clear image and excellent sound. The process for digitalization of the picture was done perfectly so you won't believe you are actually watching a movie almost 20 years old.
The documentary has a lot of cool info, even for those "Rambomania" fans would find this very interesting and with interviews with cast and crew including Stallone, the late Richard Crenna, and others. Also the director Cosmatos and the producers get into the documentary with interesting facts (the idea of pairing Stallone and Travolta as a sidekick was a novelty for me!!!) is a good source for inside info.
The trailers (some are TV spots) are also quite good but they haven't been "cleaned up" so they look like they are quite old and the sound in those is not remastered. There's also a section on the stars and the crew with filmography and stuff it's informative but that's it.
The extras are good. It would be fun if they throw a lot of deleted scenes into it, but there isn't. The audio commentary of Cosmatos is so-so there aren't much there either.
Finally I must say this edition contain both the widescreen version and the full screen version so you can go wrong there. The movie comes with subtitles in spanish for both versions.
From 1 to 5: Movie=4, Sound Quality=5, Video Quality=5, Extras=3.
on August 18, 2003
I grew up with Rambo as a kid. Not FIRST BLOOD, the first movie, but this one. This was back in the 80's when R rated movies were aimed at kids and times were great. I mean, I had Rambo action figures. Nowadays, I'm twenty-four and I still get carded to see an R Rated movie.
Anyway, I just bought the DVD and I hadn't seen this movie in years. All I remembered was that I used to like it when I was young. Guess what? It's still cool. This is Sylvester Stallone at his very best (aside from COPLAND where he and everyone else were brilliant). First time viewers may have to take themselves back to the eighties to enjoy this one but this was some ground breaking action back in the day.
I also just realized that this was written by James Cameron too if that tells you anything. I guess when it came out originally I didn't even know who he was. If he's behind it then it has to be good right? Okay, forget SOLARIS, most of Cameron's stuff is quality. All in all, I liked this movie. It's a little dated but not much. I'm glad I bought it. Thanks Rambo. Thanks Trautman.
on August 14, 2003
Only Sylvester Stallone, an Italian, has the acting skills to realistically portray the character John Rambo, a former special forces soldier of German and American Indian decent. The depth of this character only proves that Stallone is the greatest thesbian in the history of American cinema. John Rambo's mission is to return to Vietnam and photograph former POW camps. Hundreds of thousands of G.I.s served in Vietnam, but John Rambo is the only one who knows this particular area. Hand selected by a top secret CIA project, Rambo goes in......
The deliberately slow knife sharpening scene, showing off buldging triceps and massive muscular definition, reflects the sentiment of American movie goers of 1985. America is strong, Reagan has a finger on the button, we will destroy Communism, and we want our movies filled with violence, as long as it is tastefully done and against America's enemies.
First Rambo's parachute doesn't open, then his contact is a woman, then he is abandoned by America after rescuing a living American POW, then he is tortured by Vietnamese and Russian officers. Only Rambo can save the day by destroying Vietnam with a bow and arrow, an obsolete helicopter, and an M-60 with a limitless amount of ammunition.
It's not the action that carries this film though, again remember it is the superb acting skills of Sly Stallone. He must have served in the military for fifty years to be able to single-handedly infiltrate a camp, fly a chopper, know every hand-held weapon known to man, know the entire continent of Asia, and kill a battalion of Russian soldiers with a knife while hiding nude in a mudslide.
Where is the Rambo of the 21st Century? Has America turned into a nation of weaklings with no room or love for John J. Rambo? Save us Rambo, if only you could go to Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. The world can be safe, happy, and harmonious with the help of Rambo.
on June 22, 2003
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is in a prison for the events of the previous movie (see FIRST BLOOD), when his mentor, Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) comes to see him about a mission back to Vietnam, where he has a pardon coming if he accepts. Rambo accepts and finds out the specifics: It seems that the government's looking for American MIA's in Vietnam that are still being held there. Marshall Murdock (Charles Napier), Rambo's superior on this mission, tells him two things: Take only photographs of the MIAs, and do not engage the enemy. Begrudingly, Rambo begins his mission, and not only takes photographs of the MIAs, but brings one with him. When Murdock hears about this, he orders the chopper supposed to fly Rambo back to pull out. Murdock was hoping for nobody. Rambo, betrayed by his own government, must now help the MIAs, with the help of Co (Julia Nickson), a renegade Vietnamese agent, get out of Vietnam. Of course there is opposition: The Russian army and the Vietnamese army.
The sequel had all but one thing. It had the action, dialogue quality, action, drama, and did I mention action? The only thing missing: the thriller quality of its predecessor. Still, a good film before rambo became completely superhuman in the next sequel, Rambo III (1988). The DVD, like all others in the trilogy, has excellent video and audio quality. The features start off with an good commentary by director George Cosmatos. He talks about the making of the movie, among other things. Next up is a documentary called "We Get to Win This Time: The Rambo Phenomenon", which focuses on elemenst of the film, like the Cold War era, why the Russians wre used, shooting in Mexico, and how James Cameron wrote the original screenplay (and Sly tweaked it) when the movie was still called "First Blood II: The Mission". Then you get your production notes, theatrical trailer, and either a video release trailer or TV spot (The quality of the second one makes it either one) All in all, a solid DVD release for any action fan.
RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II
John J. Rambo: Sylvester Stallone
Col. Samuel Trautman: Richard Crenna
Marshall Murdock: Charles Napier
Lt. Col. Podovsky: Steven Berkoff
Co Bao: Julia Nickson
Ericson: Martin Kove
Director: George P. Cosmatos
Writers: Kevin Jarre (story), Sylvester Stallone, James Cameron
on March 15, 2003
It's impossible for a real American not to like this movie.When it was released in 1985,it was a huge hit,and with good reason.It finally put the lie to the notion that America was the villan in Vietnam while the Vie Cong and their Soviet allies were the heroes.In this film,the latter are potrayed as sadistic scum,while Rambo,representing American values,is shown as brave,principled,and resourceful.When,at the beginning of this film,Rambo asks "Do we get to win this time?",he speaks for every American who felt betrayed,whether it was by self-serving goverment bureaucrats(represented by Murdock,Rambo's hateful commanding officer)or left-wing so-called intellectuals who stabbed America's fighting men in the back.The movie rips both types of scum while celebrating the ingenuity and sheer guts of the american fighting man."Rambo Part II" may not be added to the list of "great" war movies,but,in its own way,it helped shape our culture,and change America from a land of Alan Alda/Phil Donahue-type wimps to a self-confident nation that could kick the crap of Saddam Hussein and the Al-Qaida.*** out of ***