Jan 04

When I think of the tale of Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo, it’s funny that I only think of the original First Blood and the last movie that was simply called Rambo. As a fan of the movies, I never took the time to read the book but from what I hear his tale was meant to end after First Blood. Just a tragic tale about a war hero come home, harassed by some redneck cops and forced into a situation where he had to use his tools of war on people that he had fought and almost died for. This was the movie however, in the book the dynamic of Rambo was much different as he was suffering from PTSD and was arrested for vagrancy which landed him in jail and made him have flashbacks that led to many policemen dying by his hands. We are not talking about the book Rambo however (let me clear it up right now), we are talking about the war hero from the movies.

The story of John Rambo is one of bullying gone bad, at least that’s the way I am going to spin it here on this edition or Reel Men of Cinema. Rambo was bullied by bored country cops when his only crime was coming into a town to look for a bite to eat. Like every bully in life that is chronicled in stories or shown in movies, we the readers and viewers identify with the victim and cheer when they chop him down. In the case of Rambo however, this chopping down was in the form of brutal guerrilla warfare.

Rambo represents that part of us that says “enough”, I’m done and no matter what my punishment will be you will pay for it. Hall Denizen Antonio Maurice Daniels did an excellent article on revenge a while back and it made me think of retaliation that comes from people pushing someone too far. The nerd whose tray gets flipped just one too many times and jams his fork into the jock’s throwing hand. The woman at work who gets tired of the heifers in her department whispering loudly about her clothes and gets them all fired quietly. The people who said enough is enough! That’s what Rambo said!

“They drew first blood sir, not me!”

Rambo is that inside voice that has held us back with morals and virtues when it suddenly decides to shut the hell up and let us go savage one good time. Rambo is the war hero who pops up from behind a tree to surprise that no-good redneck cop by burying a wicked knife deep into his chest before vanishing again into thin air. Rambo is… Rambo is BEAST MODE!

The pacing of the original First Blood showed us Rambo as a zen-like, quiet soldier who holds his temper and keeps it civil even when being harassed by the cops. The flipping of his switch actually takes effort as we start out underestimating the soldier only to learn that in the bushes the guy was an artist of death. If you haven’t seen First Blood I would urge you to check it out to get the context of this article. John Rambo is a Reel Man of Cinema.

In the end when the blood had dried up and the cops figured out that the young soldier that they had harassed, tortured and starved some days back was really a Spec-Ops ninja… they backed off really quick and briught in the man who trained Rambo, Colonel Sam Trautman. It’s a shame that Hollywood opted to keep the badass alive in order to squeeze out sequels but in the book that the movie was made from, John Rambo died at the hands of his teacher.

Rambo is the spirit of the underestimated rising up to set fire to his/her oppressors. A Rambo can only take so much before bearing fangs and striking back, do you have a John Rambo inside of you?

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