Tag Archives: Rambo

My Thoughts on: First Blood (1982)

I’m a sucker for movie deals, so when the opportunity came up to get all 5 Rambo films on blu-ray (despite never seeing any of them before) I took it. And I decided to kick off 2021 by watching a series of movie franchises that should take me through to the end of May, and I decided to start with the Rambo films, the first of which is First Blood from 1982.

I must’ve read the summary for First Blood a dozen times, but in no way did it prepare me for what I saw. Considering this film is almost 40 years old, the plot feels scarily relevant given how 2020 saw a major reckoning take place regarding police brutality. Seriously, the opening scenes with the deputies roughing up Rambo (especially after it’s hinted in brief flashbacks that the former soldier was tortured in Vietnam) are extremely hard to watch and I came this close to bailing on the film altogether. What really sticks with me though? The fact that not so long ago I would’ve found it hard to believe that police officers could act this way, but after the last few years…now it feels all too real. The people meant to protect us can be monstrous. I know that doesn’t excuse everything Rambo does in retaliation, but come on, have you seen what they did to Rambo? It’s so messed up!

The entire film is a not-so-subtle message about PTSD and what happens when you finely tune a man to be a killing machine for the military only to turn them loose into a civilian life that (seemingly) doesn’t care about them or what they endured during their service. Knowing that, my sympathy was with Rambo from pretty much the beginning, especially since he makes it clear he just wants to move on his way and be left alone. To think, all of the chaos that happens in the climax of the film happens because a smarmy sheriff just couldn’t let Rambo be. I have no sympathy for Teasle, he brought all this upon himself even after receiving numerous warnings to let it go.

And then there’s the character of Col. Trautman, the one who recruited and trained Rambo into what he became. He seems to be the lone voice of reason in this crazy story, but I do think Teasle was right about one thing: Trautman knows he’s partially responsible because he trained Rambo in the first place, so I think subconsciously he is there to cover himself before anything else happens. But at the same time I also think Trautman is sincere in his desire to help Rambo and if you want to see some good acting, watch Trautman’s reactions to Rambo’s breakdown at the end of the film.

I also really liked the scene where Rambo takes out (more or less) the deputies trying to hunt him down in the woods (the ones Rambo filled with booby traps). It’s actually quite scary and intense, with the lightning storm going on and never quite knowing when Rambo is going to pop up or when a trap will be triggered.

First Blood is an intense film, but one I ultimately enjoyed watching. It will be interesting to see where the series goes from here.

Let me know what you think about First Blood in the comments below and have a great day!

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Brian Tyler talks Rambo (2008)

The Rambo franchise is a series of films consisting of: First Blood (1982), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988) and Rambo (2008). Of these films, the first three were all scored by Jerry Goldsmith. For the fourth (and ultimately final) entry in the series, the score was composed by Brian Tyler (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron). It’s been a while, but I’ve seen most of the franchise, including this film, and I remember enjoying it very much (though I found some of the violence hard to take, but that’s just me.)

Rambo is set twenty years after the events of Rambo III and finds John Rambo living in Thailand barely making a living from catching snakes and providing boat rides. He ferries a group of missionaries up the Salween River into Burma and drops them off at a village of Karen tribespeople. The group is later captured when the ruthless Major Pa Tee Tint attacks and massacres the village.

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Rambo later transports a group of mercenaries on a rescue mission and secretly follows along after his offers of help are refused by the group’s leader. It is up to Rambo and his allies, a Karen rebel named Myint and the mercenary sniper nicknamed “School Boy” to save the mercenaries and the hostages when the former are also captured by Tint’s men. It’s a bloody fight that ends with Tint and all of his men dead (with Rambo personally dealing with the major). After all of this, Rambo decides it’s finally time to return to the United States and visit his family, which is where we see him as the story ends.

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To help maintain continuity between this film and the rest of the franchise, Tyler was asked to incorporate Goldsmith’s original themes into his score. Tyler, in the interview, describes the score as an overall homage to Goldsmith’s work. At the same time, Tyler is incorporating new themes of his own, a sort of blending of the old and the new as far as the music goes.

 

I’ve been a fan of both Goldsmith’s and Tyler’s work for quite some time (if you’ve never heard of Brian Tyler before, I urge you to go look up his work, you can find just about anything he’s written on YouTube, he’s a phenomenal talent), and this interview provides great insight into his thought process. The interview also contains comments by Sylvester Stallone (who not only starred in this film, he also directed it and wrote the story.)

I hope you enjoy this interview and please, do check out Brian Tyler’s work, it really is amazing.

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See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

See also:

Brian Tyler conducts The Mummy (2017)

Brian Tyler scoring Partition (2007)

Brian Tyler conducting and scoring Now You See Me 2 (2016)

Brian Tyler talks War (2007)

Brian Tyler “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem” scoring session (2007)

Brian Tyler “Law Abiding Citizen” scoring sessions (2009)

Brian Tyler “Dragonball Evolution” scoring session (2009)

Brian Tyler talks Fast Five (2011)

Brian Tyler “Battle: Los Angeles” (2011) scoring session

Brian Tyler scoring session for Iron Man 3 (2013)

Brian Tyler “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2014) scoring session

Brian Tyler “Power Rangers” scoring session (2017)

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