In the 80’s, if you needed a blockbuster action movie, there was one man to call in, James Cameron. Right before he would work his magic on the Alien franchise with the sequel Aliens, and long before he dominated the box office with hits such the first two Terminator films, Titanic, and of course Avatar, he and Sylvester Stallone teamed up to make this sequel to the famous First Blood film with Rambo: First Blood Part II. Now this legendary part of my childhood has finally made its way to 4K, and it looks, sounds, and blows everything away better than ever.
Picking up a few years after the events in the first film, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is doing hard time in prison when his old buddy Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna) offers to get him out in exchange for taking on a top secret mission to free POWs trapped in Vietnam. Reluctant at first, John agrees and it’s not long before he throws on the famous headband and is suited up for action. As he goes about the mission and meeting up with his partner Co-Bao (Julia Nickson) that leads the way, he learns not everything is what it seems as some of the people behind the mission are using Rambo for other means. Any action fan knows that’s not something you want to do with Rambo, unless you want a rocket launcher aimed your way with some combat knife action on the side.
While First Blood was incredibly deep and believable, Part II just tosses all of that out the window for some cheesy but awesome 80s action. Rambo is more of a superhero than a soldier in this one, as he’s literally a one-man-army packing guns and rocket launchers as big as he is. Not that I’m saying any of this is bad, as the action fan in me loves it despite being pure 80s cheese, but man what great cheese it is.
I remember owning the original HBO Video release of this movie when I was a kid, so seeing it in 4K with HDR since then was an awesome treat. Everything looks and sounds as though the film was made recently rather than in the mid-80s, as all the action details and booming explosions come through crystal clear. There’s also a nice amount of extras to check out, such as the audio commentary by director George P. Cosmatos who talks about filming the movie and sharing some things that happened while filming that’s cool to listen to. There’s an interview with Sylvester Stallone and another with Richard Crenna that are short but fun, some behind the scenes clips and more.
Rambo: First Blood Part II was the film that set the bar for the cliched 80s action hero, and it still holds up nicely over the years thanks to a great 4K with HDR transfer that pulls you into the chessy action and keeps you there until the smoke clears. So if you’re looking for an action fix, hop in a helicopter and fly to add this one to your movie collection, you won’t regret it.