Sgt. Kourov


Full Name
Appeared in
Soviet military officer of Soviet prison camp.
Execute the commands of Colonel Zaysen, kill John Rambo.
Hair color
Soviet Russian
Cause of Death
Rambo kicks him back into a cave where a grenade on his jacket explodes
Portrayed by
Randy Raney

Sergeant Kourov was the right-hand man of Colonel Zaysen and serves as the secondary antagonist of Rambo III.

Rambo III[edit | edit source]

Kourov grabs John Rambo.

Kourov was a very burly and strong man that was first seen escorting Colonel Sam Trautman into Zaysen's office to be interrogated for the first time by holding a rope to his neck, badly hurting Trautman's throat. Kourov is also seen torturing Trautman by yanking on his arms with a rope. When John Rambo attempts the rescue mission for the first time, Kourov is stabbed in the back by Rambo. Although he survives, he now has a personal vendetta against Rambo. He trails Rambo to an underground cave with other Soviet soldiers. Rambo fires an exploding arrow at him and Kourov only survives by using one of his own men as a human shield, despite his face being badly injured in the blast. Kourov escapes the cave and finds Rambo getting out of the entrance and grabs him by the throat. Kourov begins badly beating Rambo and an intense hand-to-hand fight sequence. Rambo manages to wrap a climbing cable around Kourov's neck, but Kourov attempts to break Rambo's spine in a bear hug. Rambo then pulls the pin on an F1 fragmentation grenade strung up from Kourov's uniform, forcing him to let go so he can remove the grenade. Rambo kicks him back into the cave where the grenade explodes, killing Kourov.

Novelization[edit | edit source]


In the novelization, Kourov survives Rambo's attack, and, having heard of Zaysen's cowardice, intends to kill him for almost letting him die, but decides against it after discovering that Rambo beat him to it. Having had a sort-of change of heart, Kourov subsequently goes over and joins the Mujahideen, as a last insult to Zaysen. This redemption is significantly different from the film, where Kourov dies in disgrace.

Personality[edit | edit source]

An enraged Kourov looks John Rambo in the face for the first time and prepares to kill him.

Kourov is the second "big Russian" of the Rambo movies, next to Yushin from Rambo: First Blood Part II. There are many similarities between Yushin and Kourov, as they both have no dialogue and appear to be used more for their strength and ruthlessness than their intelligence. As far as antagonists go, Kourov is a far worse opponent. He is larger than Yushin and far more ruthless. Both antagonists appear to be the equal of their respective commanders. While Yushin appeared to be a sociopath who did not derive pleasure from or detest violence and torture aside from a morbid curiosity; Kourov is a far more cruel, selfish and sadistic man who gets satisfaction from brutally torturing prisoners. Kourov at one point used one of his own Spetsnaz commandos as a human shield from one of Rambo's exploding arrows, displaying selfish and indifference to the suffering of even his fellow men. This is likely because Colonel Zaysen was more of a Stalin-like Soviet, who enjoyed brutality and felt it the best way to control the Afghans, used his power to satisfy his twisted desires and let his men do whatever they wanted. Yushin's commander, Podovsky, while cruel, ran a tight ship and neither he or his men (with the exception of Lieutenant Tay, who was Vietnamese) were sadists. Podovsky even mentioned that he detested the "vulgar" methods used by the Vietnamese. Kourov's fight with Rambo, which nearly killed Rambo despite Kourov's injuries, proved how relentless Kourov was when it came to vengeance, but also suggested that he liked to challenge himself by taking down opponents who had bested him before. 

Weapon[edit | edit source]

Real Soviet AKM with a correct Soviet grenade launcher

Kourov's weapon of choice was a custom AKM (likely mocked up to resemble an AK-74 judging by the rust colored Bakelite magazine) with an underslung grenade launcher. In reality, the riflei s an Egyptian Maadi AKM/ARM assault rifle with a distinctive side folding stock. The Maadi ARM was a semi-automatic AK designed for civilian sporting use and many were imported into the United States for relatively cheap prices back in the 1980s. Because of a shortage of real movie AKs to be used due to embargos, commonly used in American film productions, one such example being Red Dawn. Though about half of Rambo III was actually filmed in Israel where armorers had access to authentic captured Soviet weapons, the rest of the film was actually shot in the United States, in Arizona. As a result, many of the Soviet guns seen after this are lookalikes or mock-ups. 

Rambo with Kourov's assault rifle.

The strangest feature about this weapon is that it is equipped with an underslung M203 40mm grenade launcher. Rambo takes this and uses it to engage the Soviets at the end of the film. Most soldiers use the AKM or even the older AK-47 in Rambo III. This is wrong. Most soldiers at the time were using the AK-74, chambered for the smaller 5.45x39mm cartridge. Why Kourov would even have an American M203 grenade launcher on his Egyptian weapon in the Soviet Army in the first place is unknown, especially when you consider the fact that the two weapons were never designed to be used together (the M203 was designed for usage on M16s), and that you would have to grab the weapon by the magazine in order to efficiently fire it, which every experienced shooter knows not to do. Because of the incompatibility of parts, the lower handguard had to be completely removed. 

Kourov's uniform is a faux KLMK camouflage pattern, the same camouflage made for the 1984 film Red Dawn. The Soviet uniforms in Rambo III had to be fake because real Soviet surplus uniforms were not around at the time and information on Soviet uniforms was still being kept secret due to the still rough ties between the United States and Soviet Union at the time. 

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Kourov in the game

    Kourov is portrayed by American actor Randy Raney. Raney and Stallone must have gotten along pretty well, since Raney had previously played the role of "Mad Dog Madison" in Stallone's 1987 arm-wrestling film, Over the Top. Rambo III was released in 1988. 
  • Sergeant Kourov is the only person to match (or flat-out beat) Rambo in a hand-to-hand fight without weapons, and, arguably, came the closest to killing Rambo out of any antagonist. Kourov nearly broke Rambo's spine and killed him, and Rambo only managed to best Kourov by pulling the pin on one of Kourov's F1 grenades. 
  • He is similar to Art Galt who is into torture. 
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