Yes, I finally saw it. And yes, it was very good.
Sylvester Stallone's rah-rah Republican bullshit was not yet in place when this film was made, and while he is certainly the focal point of the film, John Rambo is not really a hero. He is broken, a piece of equipment gone wrong - an aspect which is only exacerbated by Richard Crenna's portrayal of Colonel Trautman as a cold, rhetoric-spouting cypher. His purported compassion for Rambo and his men only goes so far as his mission; he doesn't know or care about the fates of the other Green Berets in the outfit until Rambo tells him about them. Brian Dennehy is also not quite the dumbass redneck one would expect to find filling his role. His determination to bring Rambo in is the dark side of the 'determined cop' archetype exploited by many vigilante films (some of which Stallone himself would star in)
I felt that the ending of the film was a bit forced, and when I watched the alternate ending on the DVD, I saw why. The film originally had a much darker and much more fitting end, but lack of audience sympathy for Rambo in test screening caused the filmmakers to change the finale as so to make sequels possible. Any feelings I might have on the sequels are besides the point; there's no way around the fact that this film pussied out at the very end. Crenna's performance in the replacement ending is a little strange, going from the calculating official he had been throughout the film to being uncomfortably compassionate towards Rambo, while his slightly satisfied nod in the original ending when Rambo kills himself is much more in keeping with how the character had behaved throughout the film.
Jerry Goldsmith's score is great. The electronics are present and a little dated, but while the second film's score balanced the electronics with the orchestra and the third film's score relied too heavily on the electronics, First Blood is orchestral muscle. This is the harsh and spare musicscape that characterized Goldsmith's output in the 60s and 70s as opposed to the more consonant sound that he developed in the 80s. I also have to say that hearing the score in its original configuration was yet another illustration of how good an album producer Goldsmith is; most of the bands on the soundtrack album are well-organized conflations of several much shorter cues, done so in a manner that shows the music to best advantage.
On the other hand, who told Dan Hill that he could sing?
There is absolutely no reason to recommend this film. Yes, Kiefer Sutherland plays a minor variation on his Jack Bauer character, but he sleepwalks through this movie and the rest of the performers are just as bored. Director Clark Johnson doesn't come up with any reason to really care about any of the characters, and the story is so tired and worn that it feels like you've already seen the movie.
Scary Movie 4
If you've seen the TV spots, you've seen everything this movie has to offer.
Yes, it's a masturbation metaphor, folks. Just deal with it.
Especially if your icon advocates pedophilia.
For me, everything came down to the theme of it. For me the story of one kid trying to seek his identity as a teenager. And together with that is a journey of discovery – he's accessing his male energy, his father energy inside. And what I mean is that he gets an identification of an energy; that there's an energy that he knows and identifies with and this is his father's. And he gets to learn that that same energy resides in him.
What [WB Chairman & COO] Alan Horn kept on saying was, "They had a lot in common because the other one was about two teenagers seeking identity as adults."
Here Harry is more introspective. He's making his first steps into teenage years. Harry realizes that these monsters . . . don't live in the closets or under his bed, they live inside himself. And what he realizes now is the way to fight these monsters lies inside himself as well.Alfonso Caurón
"I really, really loved Y Tu Mamá También. Alfonso just obviously understands teenage boys, and you know my characters are 13 now. ... This is the book where Harry literally learns how to take care of himself. He finds his father, as it were, and he finds two father substitutes, but the one who actually saves his life is himself."J.K. Rowling