Please note that all framegrabs are from the 1080p version
***½/**** Image A- Sound B+ Extras B+
starring Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Brian Dennehy, Bill McKinney
screenplay by Michael Kozoll & William Sackheim and Sylvester Stallone, based on the novel by David Morrell
directed by Ted Kotcheff
RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II
**/**** Image B+ Sound B+ Extras B+
starring Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier, Steven Berkoff
screenplay by Sylvester Stallone and James Cameron
directed by George P. Cosmatos
**½/**** Image A- Sound B+ Extras A-
starring Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Marc de Jonge, Kurtwood Smith
written by Sylvester Stallone and Sheldon Lettich
directed by Peter MacDonald
"Hate war, but love the American warrior."
-Lt. Gen. Hal Moore
by Bill Chambers I suppose I said it all in my previous review, but that was some sixteen years ago, and my feelings on the original Rambo trilogy have changed somewhat since then. I attribute this to age (if not maturity), evolving cultural attitudes, and 2008's Rambo (hereafter Rambo IV), Sylvester Stallone's powerful reclaiming of the character from the clutches of self-parody and blockbuster bloat. Rambo IV is essentially a stripped-down redux combining elements of the first three films; that there's nothing particularly innovative about its plot isn't, however, a commercial concession--what fans were really left to pander to, 20 years after Rambo III fizzled at the domestic box-office?--so much as it's part and parcel of the movie's thesis that Rambo's singular talent for warfare, a blessing and a curse, will never be wasted in a world as shitty as ours. No matter how often or how hard he tries to drop off the grid. There's a moment in Rambo IV where we hear his interior monologue as he forges himself a new blade: "War is in your blood," he says. "When you're pushed, killing's as easy as breathing." The tragic weight of these words ripples backwards across the franchise upon revisitation. For the lesser entries (the second and third films), I'd say it now counts among their redeeming qualities.
If you look at the Rambo saga as a picaresque of sorts--and I do--then it's okay that some chapters are sillier than others. Of course, the real reason for the tonal disparity between First Blood and Rambo III is that Stallone in auteur mode is a kind of helpless empath--or a slave to trend if you're feeling less charitable--whose work takes on the tenor of the surrounding pop culture, irrespective of tradition or established convention. It's why Rocky IV is a music video, and it's why Rambo III has the morose Rambo fashionably dispensing one-liners, with "I'm your worst nightmare" becoming the character's retroactive catchphrase and practically the only thing from the movie that stuck. The one I definitely got wrong in 2002 is First Blood, which I probably resented, in all sincerity, for being the hardest to crack wise about. But First Blood touches on things I'm thinking about in my early forties that I wasn't necessarily in my late twenties, and so I was dismissive and glib. I was also a lazy--or lazier--thinker in those days.
To wit, the picture opens with Rambo looking up an old Vietnam buddy in the ironically-named town of Hope, Washington, only to learn the fellow died of cancer after the war. It triggers a surpassing loneliness in Rambo that makes him numb to the potential consequences of turning around when the local sheriff, Teasle (Brian Dennehy), chauffeurs him to the outskirts of his cozy little hamlet. Rambo articulates this in his climactic breakdown: he has no friends, no one to commiserate with. "Sometimes I wake up and don't know where I am. I don't talk to anyone. Sometimes all day long. Sometimes a week," he says. Vietnam is the reality and larger subject here--it's not just that he has no friends, it's that he can't make new ones because he's shunned by society at large--and I don't want to diminish that. Yet I'd be lying if I said Rambo's isolation didn't resonate with me now, as I stew in the sads of middle age, unmarried and broke, with an inapplicable film degree (like Rambo's tank training) and a hollow husk of a social life. Adult men are so bad at maintaining friendships without the glue of a social institution keeping them together--just ask the MEL Magazine article "Why Are Adult Men So Bad At Maintaining Friendships?."
Stallone's delivery of said monologue is devastating, I won't downplay it anymore. Again, he's something of an empath, but his and the public's obsession with his physicality took Stallone's career in the opposite direction of this emotional territory, so he may not be remembered for it. I also love that Rambo says "vile crap" instead of "vile shit;" Rambo's just blown up a gas station, knocked out a power grid, and critically wounded the sheriff, yet the lingering impression of him is almost courtly. First Blood was clearly written for an actor whereas the sequels were written for a movie star, thus in his initial outing the character is allowed these idiosyncratic touches and to be without vanity--meaning Stallone spends a significant chunk of the film wearing a sackcloth that doesn't merely cover up those million-dollar pecs, it renders them shapeless, too. The picture doesn't worship Rambo (Rambo III, in particular, does), but it respects him, most importantly his trauma. While it may look basic next to something like Leave No Trace, considering First Blood hails from an era when we still indelicately referred to PTSD as "shellshock," its depiction of being triggered is acute and visceral in a way that swiftly fosters empathy with a drifter contemporary viewers would just as likely misjudge in real life as his pursuers do on screen. (Staccato flashes of Rambo's time as a POW echo the abuse he receives at the hands of Hope's finest.) The film actually feels ahead of its time, or at least current again, in drawing a correlative between the Vietcong and the police, in acknowledging the low-rent fascism of small-town America, in lightly skewering the Randian values that form the backbone of white American mediocrity. It can't be a coincidence that Jack Starrett's "Galt" is the first cop to die; Rambo simply waits for the man's own hubris to take him out, and it does. Starrett, incidentally, was a Stallone-esque hyphenate before Stallone and seems to relish firing on his 2.0.
Even as recently as 2002, Canadian director Ted Kotcheff's name was for me synonymous with cable staples like Weekend at Bernie's and Switching Channels, thus I always wondered how he wound up at the helm of the decidedly less sitcommish First Blood. Now that I've caught up with the earlier Wake in Fright, his searing critique of Outback machismo, it makes perfect sense, and the question reverses itself. First Blood has men all figured out. It becomes apparent that after a certain point, Teasle and co. are hunting Rambo to avenge their bruised egos, not to preserve law and order. The news that Rambo's a decorated Green Beret visibly elicits a pang of remorse from the sheriff--he didn't know he'd arrested a decorated soldier--but when all's said and done it mostly makes Rambo into bigger game. Soon enough, Teasle creates a media circus by bringing in the National Guard, whose members descend on the woods to claim their human trophy like serfs lined up to pull Excalibur from the stone. Unique to First Blood among the Rambo quartet is this satirical edge (not to be confused with the self-awareness of Rambo III and even Rambo IV), where the film flirts with social commentary on the order of Ace in the Hole. Had Ace in the Hole star Kirk Douglas not dropped out (he'd been cast as Trautman, but came to the set wanting the starring role), it might've even seemed too self-referential.
The movie spends a disproportionate amount of time with Teasle and his cannon fodder, a bet-hedging move against a user-unfriendly protagonist that has the perhaps-unintended consequence of aligning First Blood with the era's slashers: a backwoods bogeyman taking out the hapless city-folk. This may be why people remember Rambo killing far more people in the film than he does (i.e., 0, the retracted murder of Teasle notwithstanding) and how Rambo: First Blood Part II got away with transitioning him into a killing machine with so little blowback. First Blood's honorary place in the slasher canon adds an interesting wrinkle to the genre, though, in that Rambo is at once Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, Psycho-Killer and Final Girl. We're rooting for him, and we're scared of him. None of our post-modern deconstructions of the formula have come close to a discombobulating innovation like that.
I'm uncomfortable that Rambo very likely kills some dogs in the picture (Stallone wanted to slaughter a wild boar on screen, no doubt because Apocalypse Now had recently sacrificed a water buffalo), and the sequels are a model of pacing next to First Blood, which still for me begins to tread water with the improbable arrival of a rocket launcher--though the Ken Bone-looking Weekend Warrior who takes it upon himself to fire it could not be more perfectly cast. First Blood is, on the other hand, the least problematic entry in the series, and that's not nothing. As I once wrote, Rambo: First Blood Part II does an ideological somersault in turning Rambo from prey to predator, although Reagan co-opting Rambo as a symbol of the Republican party was a delusion rich in irony, seeing as how the real Republican, Charles Napier's Murdock, is hiding in plain sight: lying about his service record, playing toy soldiers with real men, and cowering when confronted about his duplicity. He may have a Kennedy jawline but he's pure GOP. Rambo sparing his life is frankly the most Republican-friendly thing he does in the movie, other than shoot at foreigners. In his autobiography Director's Cut: My Life in Film, Kotcheff says he turned down the sequel because he believed in the pacifist Rambo at the heart of First Blood, but he also describes Rambo as "an engine of violence" that "once created, goes on existing and can wreak damage on the people who created it, despite the fact that he is trying to return to a normal state"--a notion the sequels, in their own way, fully honour.
Rambo: First Blood Part II in fact counterbalances the selling-out of Rambo by selling out Trautman in a more constructively cynical gesture. When Kotcheff's book came out, he gave an interview in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY postulating a future for John Rambo removed from the sequels. He figured that Trautman would get him psychiatric care, get him a cushy job in the army, generally get him "back to a more fulfilling life"--a sound extrapolation based on the hopeful tenor of First Blood's ending, albeit not exactly a thrilling premise for a continuation. What actually happens, of course, is that Rambo begins Rambo: First Blood Part II at a quarry chiselling rock under the glare of armed guards and an unforgiving sun. Between that, his nonplussed reaction to Trautman materializing there, and Trautman's appeals to his gratitude and vanity--"I told you I'd help you when I could," he says, and he lets slip that Rambo is one of three people qualified for the mission at hand--it's clear that Rambo's country has abandoned him once more. It shows that Rambo is really only two things to Trautman, an asset to contain or one to exploit, and it gives the lie to the third film's sentimental tagline ("The first was for himself. The second for his country. This time it's to save his friend"). Trautman and Murdock may be positioned as moral opposites, but in the end they're teammates, and Stallone knows this: Although Rambo goes apeshit on Murdock, holding him accountable for his most recent traumas, it's Trautman he ultimately regards as the avatar for a fucked-up country, lamenting that vets aren't any more respected since the last time he and Trautman found themselves in the position of Trautman talking Rambo down from a fit of pique. In a skewed happy ending, Rambo walks away from Trautman/America for a change before he/it can.
I respect Stallone for introducing this subtext in his rewrite of James Cameron's more jingoistic screenplay (an obvious dry-run at the basic premise of his Aliens), though Cameron had the decency and mercy to open with Rambo in a VA hospital. Between the movie's steamrolling over Rambo's PTSD and a tone that manages to be cartoonish yet also joyless, like an episode of "G.I. Joe" or a Cannon actioner with a swelled head, Rambo: First Blood Part II leaves a grime behind. Maybe it's the absolute steaminess of master DP Jack Cardiff's cinematography; Vietnam never felt swampier on film. Maybe it's the introduction of Rambo's female counterpart (Julia Nickson), who gets killed about five seconds after making out with Rambo, providing him with the impetus to level up. It's Stallone the screenwriter not trusting Stallone the actor to persuasively play a human Molotov cocktail always ready to launch, and it has about it a whiff of The Enforcer's retrograde gender politics. (That's the Dirty Harry movie that spends two hours 'proving' that lady cops are too delicate for real police work.) There's something grotesquely inappropriate about introducing sexuality into the Rambo-verse besides. It mocks Rambo, somehow, mortalizing him in the midst of mythologizing him, rendering the character even more absurd. Oh well, at least Rambo: First Blood Part II isn't a total sausage-fest like the two films flanking it, not counting the fact that we do see his dong in it.
Rambo III arrived a mere three years later, but the zeitgeist had moved on to such an extent that it seemed more like 103 at the time. That's the bitter irony of these Rambo movies: the first two helped shatter the stigma against Vietnam veterans, resulting in a bumper crop of sympathetic war pictures (Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Hamburger Hill, and on and on) and TV shows ("Tour of Duty", "China Beach") that doomed a comparatively corny franchise to obsolescence. (The character was welcomed back in the superhero era.) Stallone would face off that summer against Paul Hogan and Warwick Davis, and lose. In America, anyway. The most expensive film ever made up to that point, Rambo III hails from that period where the Italian Stallion had entered into a pissing contest with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the new face of big-budget action--Stallone's only domain after many failed attempts at branching out (F.I.S.T., Victory, Rhinestone). Offscreen, that meant bickering with Schwarzenegger over who got to enter the room last at a Cannes party; on screen, it meant trying to be the literally bigger man. Peter MacDonald, who directed second-unit on the previous film, replaced Rambo: First Blood Part II helmer George P. Cosmatos, characterized privately, if not publicly, by Stallone as not just an advocate but a surrogate for the star's ideas. Judging by the pornographic attention to Stallone's Charles Atlas contours in Rambo III, it's a safe bet that Stallone's ego and vanity were backseat drivers here, too. (Actually, MacDonald literally replaced Highlander maestro Russell Mulcahy, who was let go a couple of weeks into principal photography. "I had forgotten I was filming a billion dollar face," Mulcahy told MONEY INTO LIGHT, "and should have been filming more close-ups.") Indeed, Rambo comes peculiarly close to being cover-ready for a romance novel in this one, riding a horse like Valentino through the desert, the tips of his own wild mane tickling the straps of his chest-baring tank top. If you've got it, flaunt it is the guiding ethos of Rambo III.
For obvious reasons, Rambo III's closing dedication to "the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan" was embarrassing by 2002, when it was changed to "this film is dedicated to the gallant people of Afghanistan," but now that Russia are the bad guys on the global stage again the film's regained some of its lost currency and cathartic appeal. It's unintentional, of course, that Rambo III is never the same movie twice, yet fascinating all the same; certainly, not much else about it invites a rewatch. The slickest of the Rambos, it's the lightest of them as well, with stakes that are undercut by one-liners and a mid-film buzkashi tournament (because Stallone the writer is a bit of a pedant who likes to show off his research into new subcultures). Captured by the Soviets, Trautman never seems to be in any real jeopardy, though that may be because Richard Crenna's pleasant, Mike Brady-ish demeanour is so indefatigable. Rambo III is an idealized vision of the characters in which Rambo and Trautman have assumed conventional action-movie roles--hero and damsel-in-distress, respectively--without the spectre of Vietnam urgently oppressing them.
A late-film fight scene is a series rarity for not only showcasing hand-to-hand combat but also not being psychologically gruelling: Rambo comes up against a burly henchman who tries to snap his spine, and he retaliates by sending the henchman down a pit with a cable around his neck and a live grenade strapped to him, so that he hangs and blows up almost simultaneously. It's satisfying in some incredibly primitive, ASMR way. (In '80s parlance, it's gnarly.) "I made this picture at such a low ebb of my own emotional fortune that I didn't care if I lived, or died," Stallone admitted to Roger Ebert on the press tour for Rambo III in 1988. I'm reminded of Billy Wilder's claim that his lightest work came from a dark place, and vice-versa. In that same Ebert interview, Stallone calls Rambo III "the most real of the Rambo series since the first one." Disregarding that this isn't exactly going out on a limb, I think "real" in this case can be taken as a synonym for "nihilistic," given Stallone's mood at the time. And the net result of throwing all the money in the world at nihilism is always going to be a Looney Tunes cartoon. (Rambo III's FANDOM Wiki tells me that it features "at least 70" explosions--enough to propel it into the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records as the most violent movie ever made.) Twenty years later, Rambo IV's colourless villains and contempt for violence would offer a stunning rebuke to the picture's excesses, and force Rambo to face the demons he thought he could hide from in the asshole of the world. But in its proper context, whether as palate-cleanser or warm-up act, Rambo III is a canny change of pace, a perfectly good bad movie.
THE 4K UHD DISCS
French company StudioCanal has been diligently reissuing its impressive library of prestige schlock in 4K Ultra HD and licensing the masters for distribution abroad--which is how Lionsgate came to be the current king of 4K media. I wonder, though: do they also license the subtitle files from France? Because by far the English subtitles are the worst thing about Lionsgate's 4K releases of the OG Rambo trilogy, so heavily-paraphrased that it seems like they were translated back into English from a foreign dub. The most egregious example is in First Blood, where the line that gives the movie its title--"They drew first blood, not me!"--becomes, "They shot first!" Nevertheless, it's something that puts deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers at a disadvantage for all three films, regardless of Rambo being a man of few words.
As anticipated, the 2.35:1, 2160p HDR presentations of the movies themselves, apparently sourced from 4K scans of the original camera negatives, are at the mercy of age and aesthetics, with Rambo III exhibiting the most pop by virtue of having the fewest miles on it as well as the least diffuse imagery of the three. First Blood's midtones betray a green bias reminiscent of a "M*A*S*H" rerun, something I don't recall from previous viewings. (While it is there on the accompanying 1080p Blu-ray, that disc is exclusive to this edition.) Perhaps theatrical prints were timed this way and the effect got lost in the early days of video. A healthy grain structure returns to the image, as does a staggering amount of fine detail in and out of shadows--all of it natural, without the electronic assist of prior versions. Deep black is nearly non-existent until the climax but it seems intentional, considering the inky drop-shadow on the main titles. (Black levels are consistently dilute across the 4K trilogy.) HDR highlights are used sparingly yet effectively, to lend heat and brilliance to the nighttime explosions and to accent the sun that occasionally pokes through the overcast skies.
Rambo: First Blood Part II was, as mentioned above, photographed by Jack Cardiff, the same man who shot The Red Shoes; you'd better believe it's the belle of this ball. Still, I would advise lowering one's expectations before spinning the 4K platter, which presents the film with absolute fidelity to Cardiff's muggy jungle mirages. Fine detail is sacrificed to filters though no longer further obfuscated by the shortcomings of inferior formats, and the bookend scenes with Trautman and Rambo are plenty sharp, as if to provide a Wizard of Oz-style contrast to Rambo's descent into Hell. I'm slightly more suspicious of the teal bias in this one, preferring the naturalistic palette of the old DVD, but even with state-of-the-art technology at hand, with both Cardiff and Cosmatos dead all we can do is second-guess their intentions. Some specular highlights occur, mostly near the beginning to make Rambo's oiled-up torso really glisten. HDR has a similar application in Rambo III--those sensitive to bright light may need sunglasses for the glinting beads of Rambo sweat in the opening stick fight--and generally better conveys the baking heat of the sun throughout than its SDR counterpart. Night shots and dark interiors sometimes look a tad soft, and the dearth of grain in these moments leads me to wonder if StudioCanal or Lionsgate overzealously denoised them. That would be disappointing, but the issue is thankfully isolated. For the record, the film carries the revised closing dedication, dashing this purist's hopes for an unaltered Rambo III.
The 5.1 tracks that adorned the films on DVD are presumably the same ones here, minus the upgrade to DTS-HD MA. I suspect the first and third movies sport remixes (only Rambo: First Blood Part II was released in 70mm with six-track audio), as they sound marginally more up-to-date than the middle chapter, and on that note I wish the original Dolby Stereo soundtracks had been made available for posterity and comparison's sake. The clarity of the dialogue and complexity of the Jerry Goldsmith scores definitely improve in lossless audio, while the sweetened bass packs quite a punch. Still, I'd be remiss if I didn't complain on behalf of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X users that a golden opportunity to give these mixes an object-based overhaul was squandered. What good is having helicopters in your movie if they can't soar directly over the viewer's head?
Supplements are relegated to the Blu-rays with the exception of the commentary tracks, two for First Blood (Sylvester Stallone, David Morrell) and one apiece for Rambo: First Blood Part II (George P. Cosmatos) and Rambo III (Peter MacDonald). Stallone's feature-length yakker was new to FILM FREAK CENTRAL and it's a delight, exuding pride and self-deprecation in equal measure. Stallone paints a vivid picture of a gonzo production that went so far as to take a botched stunt--Teasle's car flipping over--and incorporate it into the story, and he recalls the source material well enough to, as Morrell does in his own commentary, touch on the screenplay's departures from the novel. He doesn't dwell on the disastrous preview cut but does hint at what might be found on the editing-room floor, saying, for instance, that the sequence where the cops first chase Rambo through the woods initially lasted close to an hour. His story about checking into a hospital with a fake wound to test its authenticity is frankly worth a listen by itself. A rapier wit with a memory like an elephant, Stallone should either write his memoirs or commit to babbling over every one of his films.
The Blu-rays recycle many of the standard-def bonus features from the 2002 Special Edition DVD of the trilogy. On First Blood, the serious-minded documentary pieces "The Real 'Nam: Voices from Within" and "The Forging of Heroes: America's Green Berets" resurface after having been dumped by the previous Blu-ray, joining stalwarts "Drawing First Blood" (i.e., part one of the 2002 making-of) and the film's two theatrical trailers, now sporting StudioCanal logos. Rambo: First Blood Part II's Blu-ray also resurrects "The Real 'Nam: Voices from Within" and "The Forging of Heroes: America's Green Berets", in addition to the sequel's trailer and seven TV spots and the second and final part of the 2002 making-of, "We Get to Win This Time". Curiously, Rambo III is where the bulk of the 2002 leftovers wound up, maybe to incentivize a purchase of the worst-selling title: "An American Hero's Journey: The Rambo Trilogy", "Guts & Glory", "Afghanistan: A Land in Crisis", "Suiting Up" ("Rambo's Survival Hardware" in the menu), "Selling a Hero", "Rambo III: Full Circle", and Rambo III's promos (one trailer, seven TV spots) all return, making for a densely-supplemented package. The video quality of these 17-year-old extras is pathetic, interlaced and laden with artifacts, but they were well-produced for the time and I don't think age has invalidated their utility. Note that "Rambo-Nomics", wherein an expert from SCREEN INTERNATIONAL charted the profit margin for each of the first three films, was dropped altogether: Now that Rambo is an active brand again, probably impolitic to broadcast the series' dwindling fortunes.
Further supplementary material breaks down as follows:
First Blood offers a pair of outtakes in 480i, one of which is the famed alternate ending (2 mins.) in which Rambo commits a form of hara-kiri, the other a "Saigon Bar Flashback" (2 mins.) featuring nudity from Big Trouble in Little China's Suzee Pai that seems to be the scene's raison d'être. Alone in a cave, Rambo weeps at the memory of his porn-'stached self in bed with Miao Yin; who wouldn't? Produced in-house by StudioCanal are a pair of featurettes, "How to Become Rambo... Part I" (14 mins., 1080i) and "Rambo Takes the '80s, Part I" (18 mins., 1080i), I would describe as ineffably French. The former sees Dr. Franco Columbo, "Sylvester Stallone's Body Building Coach," showing a Paul Ryan-looking schlub how to Rambo-ize his physique in a weight-room so sparsely equipped I kept waiting for Evan Starkman to walk in and tell them they were on "Love Trap". (Google it.) The latter gathers together a motley crew of First Blood personnel, culture critics, and literal strongmen to opine on Stallone's other legacy character between clips. It's a thoughtful critique that finds Morrell--who, incidentally, authored novelizations of the second and third films--repeating the best parts of his yak-track and Peter MacDonald saying more of substance than he does on his. Rounding out the platter is a restauration comparison that dispenses with English translations of "before" and "after."
Sequels within sequels: Rambo: First Blood Part II comes with another restoration comparison, "How to Become Rambo... Part II" (15 mins., 1080i), and "Rambo Takes the '80s, Part II" (12 mins., 1080i), which incorporates archival interviews with Richard Crenna into its usual roster of talking heads. The disc additionally excavates a two-minute, SD news report on the release of Robert Garwood, the last verified POW, who went on to be accused of desertion and collaboration with the enemy after claiming in 1984 that more POWs remained in capture. (According to Garwood, those two things were related.) The next few tidbits are what appears to be the 1985 electronic press kit for Rambo: First Blood Part II shattered into fragments, resulting in behind-the-scenes B-roll (2 mins.), a piece about the shoot called "Action in the Jungle" (8 mins.), and brief soundbites from Stallone (2 mins.) and Crenna (2 mins.) in costume. Lastly, "Sean Baker: Fulfilling a Dream" (2 mins.) is an ode to a dedicated fan who hung out on the set of the film. He is, for what it's worth, not the same Sean Baker who directed The Florida Project.
Rambo III brings the ongoing "How to Become Rambo..." and "Rambo Takes the '80s" documentaries (15 mins. and 11 mins., respectively; 1080i) to conclusion and delivers another before-and-after view of the "restauration" process. A block of six deleted/extended scenes (7 mins.) is of interest mainly for a sequence of Rambo crafting his own weapons that Stallone would cannibalize for Rambo IV, and an alternate ending with Rambo walking away from Trautman yet again (this time with a polite wave goodbye) rather than staying in the jeep with him. A separate "alternate beginning" (4 mins.) stalls Rambo's entrance that much more, while a behind-the-scenes segment (6 mins.) offers a fly-on-the-wall view of the production and "Trautman & Rambo" (2 mins.) romanticizes the titular pairing. Last but not least, Bertrand Lesguillons's "Sylvester Stallone: Rambo" (9 mins., 1080i) is a 2008 interview with the icon, who's in good spirits but interrupted too often by too-lengthy excerpts from the trilogy. Though he doesn't tread any new ground, he does extend the conversation to Rambo IV, calling it the most "passionate" of the four films. And he continues to chide himself for Rambo III, a movie that was supposed to be "about Russia's Vietnam, but it didn't work out that way."
Redemption codes for digital copies of each film are included in the individual keepcases.