Rambo: Man, Myth or Bad Mofo? – By Josh Samford

 What kind of man is John J. Rambo? If anyone answers the kind who is a character played by Sylvester Stallone – you die. Rambo, at least to me, is much more than that. He’s the embodiment of male adrenaline. A staple of our cultur e and pinnacle of eighties action films. Frankly, Rambo is just a bad dude in every sense of the word and speaking too much on the issue can never do it justice. Going back to beginning of Rambo’s illustrious career as a genocidal warrior, there’s one t hing that has always been consisten about him. Long hair. Sometimes permed, sometimes straight – but always long. Being that my hair too is quite long, I think this speaks volumes on just how totally awesome I myself am. Can’t help but point that out, s ince everyone else seems to call me a girly man. I mean seriously, say that to Rambo and he’ll whip out a blade bigger than my arm and whack off your head with one chop. Seriously.

"You don’t seem to want to accept the fact you’re dealing with an expert in guerrilla warfare, with a man who’s the best, with guns, with knives, with his bare hands. A man who’s been trained to ignore pain, ignore weather, to li ve off the land, to eat things that would make a billy goat puke. In Vietnam his job was to dispose of enemy personnel. To kill! Period! Win by attrition. Well Rambo was the best." — Col. Samuel Trautman

Even to this day, despite many people stepping to it’s defense – First Blood (AKA: The First Time Rocky Jumped Out The Box) is still looked down upon as just another brainless action flick. Even though I wouldn’t classify any of the Rambo films as being simply brainless, there is a lot of cinematic flare in this first feature. Not even so much an action film as much as it is a terrific character based drama. John J. Rambo is a man chewed up and spit out by his nation. A man who has found a home in the military, but is treated as garbage upon his return by a nation of ungrateful slime. Harsh, maybe, but exactly right. When I saw We Love the 80’s Part 9 on TV one day a while back when skimming past VH1, I sat and watched as a series of unfunny comedians insulted Stallone and his performance in this film – and yet, they acted more as if they were just making fun of the clips played in front of them… that they are payed to make fun of. No, not very surprising. Stallone put in pr Later on the films started to focus on action a bit more than that first feature. With Rambo: First Blood II, John took back to the jungle and right into our hearts. The sequel was about as balls to the wall action as any flick probably ever has been wi th the notable exception of Hard Boiled. John kills, he shoots and most importantly he’s buff and ready for steal murder. Which is of course the heart of the Rambo series. Stealth kills. Back before us kids had games like Tenchu: Stealth Assassin or Met al Gear Solid – we had Rambo: Stealth Commando. Although the stealth action, regarding Rambo sneaking up on a bunch of bad guys out in the woods doesn’t quite match up with the awesomeness of the first film – I have got to give it to Rambo, the man look s just like a wall of mud when he just spreads a little dirt over himself. This of course comes from severe training in the special forces, the likes of which I can’t even imagine. I just picture John laying down face first in the yard trying to blend i n with the With the third film the Rambo series took a bit of the political mindset of the first film but amplified it, putting Rambo in the midst of a real life war between the Apghans and the soviets in the late eighties. A war tha t we now look back on as having let the likes of Osama Bin Laden take rank in the government after the soviets left and American forces were no longer neccesary in the region. Hard to blame ol’ Rambo for that, heck he was probably back to building shrin es in Tibet like in the beginning of the film by the time the Soviets bit the dust – but hey; just letting you know the history. Anyhow, Col. Trautman, who if I haven’t mentioned it by now is extremely close to being a god himself, is kidnapped sending Rambo into what I like to refer to as "Rage Mode" which generally involves him killing the holy Jesus out of a bunch of people. It is often considered as being the weaker of the trilogy, but despite it all Rambo III has to be looked at as one heck of a good actio With all of this said, there are still those out there who would deny the brilliance of this trilogy. Those who would deny Rambo’s ability to snap your head off like a candy and chew on it – then blow bubbles. These types of people must die. Okay, maybe that’s a bit too much, and watching enough Rambo should make any red blooded American want to kill a few civillians – but that’s the name of the game and if you aren’t up for it then maybe you should go watch an action flick more your speed. Something like Shark Boy and Lava Lad. Rambo is a man’s man, he’ll put hair on your chest, he’ll kick in your teeth and let you spit them in your hand as a present for him. That’s just the kind of cat he is and that’s just the kind of series you’re stepping into. So, if by now you don’t get the point – the man kicks your ass, and you love it you dirty goose. Pick up the collection today, prepare for Rambo IV (the Retirement years) and pray that it doesn’t suck. I’ll be right there with you. I’m out.