“I spotted a Christmas tree and a Merry Christmas banner…
It’s definitely not a Christmas film”
-Chelsea from Not Just Yoga
In our ‘Green Screen’ episodes of The Silver Hedgehog Podcast, a guest reviews a film they watch for the first time. It’s a Film nominated by the team, and they really should have watched it before now!
Each film is reviewed against our review criteria
The script/screen play
Visual effects and costumes
Here is Chelsea from the Not Just Yoga Podcast reviewing Rambo First Blood….
(Don’t forget to listen to the podcast!)
I resisted looking stuff up on IMDb first as I wanted to watch it clean and unspoilt. All I knew was that he was one man against an army…or something like that
The script/screen play = 8/10
I was surprised to see how the script differs from the original book in that he doesn’t go around killing loads of people. A lot happens in a short amount of time, so it kept my attention, however he Sheriff seemed to jump at the chance to arrest him, almost like a mixture of being bored and wanting his ego to remain a certain size.
All of this bravado from the sheriff and Rambo portrayed as dejected means that I felt quite sorry for him from the start. Is this intentional?
30 mins on, police are nothing but incompetent. A whole team against one man? What message was it trying to send? (Yes, I know there will be many war/anti-war themes present and other deeper meanings, but this is just my little review).
I spotted a Christmas tree and a Merry Christmas banner but “It’s definitely not a Christmas film”.
I enjoyed the film for what it was. Couldn’t figure out how it would end, and I felt really let down by the ending, very disappointing, personally I feel they should have kept the ending from the book, but if they did that no sequel.
Casting = 8/10
I always associated Stallone with Rocky. Before watching Rambo, I couldn’t imagine Stallone as anyone else, he is so iconic as that character. I read an article on the Men’s Health website about Rocky being the pinnacle of the American Dream and Rambo being a victim of the American military industrial complex and most people either pick one or the other. I’d always pick Rocky maybe because I’d never seen Rambo before (even though it is the same age as me).
Apparently, other actors considered to play Rambo were Al Pacino, Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas (Falling Down), Paul Newman, Nick Nolte, Ryan O’Neale and John Travolta. After watching the film I cannot imagine any of those actors portraying this war veteran with such vigour and plausibility.
Thinking about the character of Rambo and how Stallone plays him, The way he moves through the woods and drives vehicles makes him look like a computer game character rather than a mercenary.
There’s not much dialogue from Rambo throughout the film until his speech at the end, and that’s when you notice Stallone cannot hold an accent. His voice/accent starts off different to his usual style so obviously trying to give Rambo something different to we’re used to but then slips back to the gravely mumbled normal New Yorker. My Husband Mark said it was bad acting.
Sheriff Teasle was unlikeable to a certain extent, but I did find myself warming towards Brian Dennehy as the film progressed. Couldn’t shake the whole Teasle rhyming with weasel thing. As for the other characters, I wasn’t really invested in them. Not even the Colonel.
One thing I did like was the look of terror on the kid’s face in the woods.
Music/Score = 5/10
Jerry Goldsmith. I recognised the name but couldn’t tell you any of the film titles he scored, even though he was a lot more prolific than I could have imagined (217 scores!!!). Gremlins and The Twilight Zone Movie are ones recognise and have seen. I really like those scores.
That said, nothing stood out in the score throughout the film, although overall it did suit the mood on screen. What’s with the awful end credits song. The lyrics are very fitting, but the execution is awful. It reminded me of the Prisoner Cell Block H theme song. The style just did not fit with the film at all. Although I must remember that it was from 1982, so maybe I shouldn’t expect too much.
As for available formats, a quick search informed me you can buy the CD for £59.99. yes 60 quid for a CD you have to be kidding!
Visual effects and costumes = 9/10
The scenery was mainly all in a forest, so they didn’t have to create much. Stallone said,
“Everything looks the same…no outstanding features anywhere, the same trees, the same rock, the same under bush, so you get confused”.
Confusing for the audience as it could have been shot anywhere between 3 squares miles and 30 square miles. Confusing for Rambo running and for the police chasing him. So it works on several levels.
The blood seemed quite realistic and as for costumes, there was that big piece of cloth that he made into a tunic. I can’t imagine that much of the budget was spent on that. Which leads me to where all the money was spent – explosions/pyrotechnics/fire! Impressive, but I’m easily pleased.
Saying that, I don’t think it needed expensive costumes. That’s not what Rambo is about. He’s one man against many. He doesn’t need fancy outfits or special gadgets. There was a good overhead shot of him hunting the boar, which then cut to him cooking and eating it.
Video quality = 7/10
I commented to Mark (my Husband) that it was dark, not the plot but the picture. I thought to myself that maybe I should have put my glasses on or changed some settings on the TV, but Mark was quite happy, telling me It’s the best film of the 80s. I wasn’t picking faults, but it was quite dark.!
Then I considered that maybe Mark has interpreted as what I was saying as dark in mood or tone. He reluctantly agreed it too dark to see properly at times, but maybe that was the intention.
I have marked it down purely on the picture brightness, I’m not sure I can give a proper score on video quality as I don’t know enough about formats, quality, presentation etc. It could have been a bit brighter. But again, I could have adjusted my settings.
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Words by Chelsea