Wednesday, 19 February 2014

First Blood

While the name "Rambo" these days conjures up the image of a cartoonishly over the top, gun slinging Sylvester Stallone fighting a one man war against seemingly never heading waves of enemies as first seen in First Blood Part II (1985) and further reinforced in two more sequels, the John Rambo seen in First Blood (1982) is an emotionally wounded Vietnam veteran, who's been betrayed by his country, serving as one of the first examples of this archetype, one which would become a staple of 1980s Vietnam films.


Through Rambo's clashes with the town of Hope, Washington, the film explores his disenfranchisement from general American society, who were struggling to cope with what they'd done and seen in Vietnam, demonstrated through Rambo's flash backs to his time in a POW camp, and to find a place again in civilian society, Rambo is living life as a drifter at the start of the film. The treatment of Rambo by town sheriff, who criticises him for wearing the American flag, before abusing and degrading him, serves as an example of how unsympathetic America could be towards its veterans. While not exactly ground in reality, and far from being subtle, the film works to highlight the struggles, especially the psychological ones, still facing Vietnam vets in the 1980s. 

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