First Blood

“A few weeks ago, Best Buy had a deal. Buy one of some selected action movies and get Fandango cash for Expendables 3. Among them was a 3-pack of Stallone movies. Doing the math, it meant that every movie (including Expendables) came out to about a buck a piece. Sold! Although, then there was this whole customer service mess where the Fandango cash was missing, and when I talked to them their call center person’s limited English thought the whole package was missing. So they sent me another, which still didn’t have the Fandango credit. After an hour long call where I was passed to no less than 6 different people explaining the situation, I was finally sent a gift certiicate for a couple bucks more than the Fandango would have been, and I got to keep the second copy, which I then gifted to the same colleague who had recently gifted me a whole stack. And all was right with the world.

I sorta saw this once before, but didn’t really pay attention to it. I couldnt have told you anything that happened. I do recall a faint memory of feeling that the movie wasn’t at all what I expected. If I didn’t think it then, I certainly think it now.

Without having heard the premise, just seeing iconic images of Rambo, I woulda thought this was about an army guy fighting enemy bad guys at war. The character’s right. The setting’s way different. He is a Vietnam vet, but some misunderstandings mixed with some PTSD has him on the run near a small Pacific Northwest town. He’s not really after anyone, just trying to get away and stay alive.

Why I had trouble getting into it before and why I was struggling a little today is that the story is practically zero. It’s just A TON of action. In some settings and mindsets, that’s awesome. When its the end of a long week and my brain’s turned to mush, I end up unintentionally tuning out. Although the member of the household that wasn’t tuned out was The Vampire Cat Lestat. She uncharacteristically sat on my lap thru pretty much the whole movie (she usually can’t last more than a few min) and her eyes were screen ward a majority of the time. Guess she takes after my Daddy and I when it comes to action flicks.

One quick note on the action heavy plot light structure. IMDB trivia tells me that originally there was a lot more meat to it, but Stallone was really unhappy with his performance. He persuaded whoever is in charge of these things to cut out most of it, leaving the supporting charaters to further the story and Rambo to just kick butt and look totally bad ass doing it. Because that format ended up working out so well, it set a precedent which you still see in action movies today (um Expendables anyone?). Again, it works well most of the time, but sometimes that’s not really what you want. I actually really liked Sly’s big freakout and mental breakdown towards the end. I think he could have given a solid performance throughout if he had that intensity. But what we ended up with is pretty cool too”

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