The Curator of Schlock #188 by Jeff Shuster

Rambo: First Blood Part II

Rambo: First Blood Part II (It’s worth repeating.)

 Oh, I hit pay dirt with this one. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. We don’t do namby-pamby movies here at the Museum of Schlock. What does namby-pamby mean? It’s an adjective used to describe someone as weak, feeble, and cowardly. John Rambo is the exact opposite of namby-pamby. He’s a one-man army. Enjoy the show.

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1985’s Rambo: First Blood Part II from director George P. Cosmatos begins with John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) doing hard time in prison, smashing rocks and what not. Rambo’s former commander, Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna), offers him a deal. It seems the United states government needs a special operative to do some recon over in Vietnam, see if there’s any truth to the rumors of American POWs still being held captive over there. A presidential pardon might be in it for him. Rambo agrees to the deal, but I know he’s not doing it for any presidential pardon. He’s doing it for our guys over there.

Rambo ships out to Thailand where he meets up with Colonel Trautman and a government bureaucrat by the name of Marshall Murdock. Rambo is given strict orders to sneak in and just take pictures. Do not engage the enemy! Rambo meets up with Co-Bao (Julia Nickson), a special agent who can sneak him into Vietnam aboard a pirate ship. They have a heart to heart. She tells him war is all she’s ever known and that she wants to live in America. Rambo tells her that there was another kind of war waiting for him when he got back to America. Love is in the air, but they have a mission.

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They make there way to an abandoned Viet Cong camp, but the camp ain’t so abandoned. There are American POWs stuck in rat-infested cages, slowly dying from starvation and disease. Rambo finds one POW strung up in the sun. He frees him, figuring he’s better proof than those photos he was supposed to take. Rambo and company kill some Viet Cong, make their way over to the extraction point, but the chopper doesn’t rescue them. Murdock never expected Rambo to find any POWs over in Vietnam. At least if it was just photos, Murdock could destroy the evidence, but a live POW. Forget about it. That could cause a stink, start the war all over again. Murdock orders his men to leave Rambo and company behind to get captured.

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Rambo is placed in a leach-infested pool of pig excrement when, obviously, the Soviets show up to lend assistance to their Viet Cong buddies. It’s a regular Brotherhood of Evil over there, the enemies of America all gathered in one place.

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Lt. Col. Podovsky (Steven Berkoff) decides to torture Rambo for information by electrocuting him. Our hero escapes the camp with the help of Co-Bao. They share a quiet moment while on the run. She kisses Rambo, asks her to take her back to America with him. Rambo agrees, but a Viet Cong guns her down moments later. With nothing to lose, Rambo goes on a killing spree in an effort to rescue the POWs.

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The carnage that ensues is the stuff of legend, a testament 1980s excess and patriotism.


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

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