The Curator of Schlock #187 by Jeff Shuster

First Blood

They’re not hunting him. He’s hunting them!

Sorry if I freaked out a bit last week. Maybe it’s my delicate sensibilities, but a movie where a ten-year-old boy gets shot and killed because of the decision of some old guys in a board room meeting really ground my gears. My introduction to poliziottesco left me confused and bewildered, questioning the morality of this cruel world, where cops and criminals are no better than each other and the innocent are made to suffer. But then I then celebrated Independence Day, remembered what it is to be an American, where the distinctions between right and wrong are as clear as crystal. I know who the good guys are. I know who the bad guys are. It’s time for another Patriot’s Month, and to celebrate, we’re going through the Rambo series!

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Tonight’s entry is 1982’s First Blood from director Ted Kotcheff and starring Sylvester Stallone. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I am largely unfamiliar with the Rambo series. It must have been an HBO exclusive back in the day. So who will Rambo fight in this debut? The Viet Cong? The Soviets? Nope. He’s up against one jerk of small town sheriff and his band of sadistic deputies. The sheriff’s name is Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) and he doesn’t like the looks of this drifter that’s passing through his neck of the woods.

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Teasle tells this drifter that he needs a shave and a haircut. The drifter wants to get a bite to eat in the town. Teasle drives him to the city limits, tells the drifter he doesn’t want his kind in his town. As Sherriff Teasle drives away, the drifter starts walking back into town. Teasle arrests him for vagrancy. One of his men snatches the dog tags from around the drifter’s neck. The drifter’s name is John Rambo. 

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The deputies begin their abuse on John Rambo. The nastiest is Art Galt (Jack Starrett) who beats Rambo with a baton before turning a hose on him to get him nice and clean. Deputy Galt wants to give Rambo a shave. The razor triggers a Vietnam flashback, making Rambo snap. He breaks a out of the police station, steals a motorcycle and is on the lamb. Teasle follows in close pursuit, but overturns his car as he follows Rambo into the mountains. Things escalate from there. Dobermans are unleashed. Deputy Galt tries shooting Rambo with a sniper rifle from a helicopter only to fall out and die after Rambo throws a rock at the helicopter pilot. Galt was Teasle’s best friend so the sheriff now wants Rambo dead. 

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Things keep escalating. The Washington State Police are brought in. The National Guard is brought in. It turns out Rambo is a Green Beret with an expertise guerilla warfare. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Woah.

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At some point Rambo blows up half the town. I think a Dairy Queen catches on fire. Rambo cries to his commanding officer about how his best friend in Nam blew up and got his guts all over him. Oh, and Rambo can’t hold down a job at a car wash. I think he gets arrested at the end. This movie is one of the great ones. Plus, the score is Jerry Goldsmith. You can’t go wrong with First Blood


Jeffrey Shuster 3Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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