Rambo: First Blood Part II

Rambo first blood part ii

Music by
Release Date
May 22, 1985
$25.5 million
Box office
Preceded by
Followed by

Rambo: First Blood Part II (also known as Rambo II, Rambo II: The Vendetta and First Blood Part II) is a 1985 American film and the first sequel to 1982's First Blood. The film was the first to be mostly written by Sylvester Stallone, although he had the help of James Cameron. It is the most popular of the Rambo films and, over time, has spawned an array of imitators, parodies and cliches. The film was followed by Rambo III (1988) and Rambo (2008).

Plot Edit

Three years have passed since the events of First Blood, John Rambo, having been tried, convicted, and sentenced to time in a labor camp prison for his one-man war against a small town police force, is working in a quarry when he gets a visit from his former commander, Colonel Sam Trautman. Trautman offers Rambo the chance to be released from prison after the events of the first film and given full clemency, but on condition of him going into the sweltering, war-torn jungles of Vietnam to search for American POWs. Rambo meets Marshall Murdock, an American bureaucrat who is in charge of the operation and he tells Rambo that the American public is demanding knowledge about the POWs and they want a trained commando to go in and search for them. Rambo is briefed that he is only to photograph the POWs and not to rescue them, nor is he to engage any enemy soldiers. Rambo reluctantly agrees and he is then told that an agent of the American government will be there to receive him in the jungles of Vietnam.

Rambo is delivered over the Vietnamese jungles by an Aero Commander plane, but during the drop, gets tangled up and loses most of his equipment in the process, is left only with his knives and his bow and arrows. He meets the agent, a local woman named Co Bao (Julia Nickson), who wants to go to the United States, and who arranges for her and Rambo to go upstream with a group of river pirates. Rambo comes to the camp, and in contradiction to his briefing, he finds American prisoners there and rescues one of them from torture. Later at the camp, a patrol discovers a dead sentry whom Rambo eliminated with a throwing knife. In response, a large patrol goes out into the jungles in search of the (unknown to them) intruder. Rambo, Co and Banks escape with the pirates, but are attacked by a NVA Navy gunboat and are promptly betrayed by the pirates, who fear the military's reprisals should they not cooperate; Rambo sends Co and the POW to safety and manages to destroy the gunboat with an RPG-7 and kill all the pirates. When Rambo calls for extraction, he is denied as Murdock fears what will happen to him and his party if the American public come to know about it.

Rambo and the American POW are recaptured. Rambo's wrists are bound to an oxen yoke and he is lowered partially naked into a leech-infested cesspool, or sewage pit. Later, Rambo learns that the Soviet Army is aiding and training the Vietnamese, and is tortured badly by a Soviet officer, Lt. Col. Podovsky (Steven Berkoff) and his silent, robust henchman Sergeant Yushin. Rambo is ordered to contact the American military and tell them that they should not send any more commandos for rescue operations in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Co enters the camp in the guise of a prostitute and comes to the hut in which Rambo is held captive. Rambo agrees to Podovsky's condition, but instead threatens Murdock on the radio that he is "coming to get you." With that, Rambo takes Podovsky and Yushin by surprise and escapes from there, with Co bursting on the scene and firing at the villains. He then escapes from captivity into a nearby jungle with Co's help. Co then tends to Rambo's wounds and begins to implore him to take her to the United States. Rambo agrees and they kiss; however, they are then attacked by some Vietnamese soldiers and Co is killed. Rambo kills them all (except for Lieutenant Tay, who escapes) and then buries Co's body in the jungle so it isn't scavenged upon by animals.

Following his escape, the camp's Vietnamese soldiers and Soviet Spetznaz commandos are sent to look for him. Rambo assembles his weapons, and using his knife and compound bow to perform guerrilla warfare tactics, is able to kill a large number of enemy troops in the jungle, including Tay, saving him for one of his explosive arrows. He proceeds to a small enemy camp and destroys it and several vehicles with explosive arrows. He hijacks a Bell 212 helicopter from the Soviets after throwing Yushin out, and proceeds towards the POW camp. He destroys most of the camp with the helicopter, then lands and arms himself with the machine gun that is mounted on the Huey, kills the remaining soldiers, and rescues all the POWs. They get to the helicopter and head towards the American command center in Thailand. Podovsky chases them in his Mil Mi-24 helicopter gunship. Although Rambo's helicopter is heavily damaged by Podovsky's helicopter, he manages to land his helicopter on a river, then fakes his death. When Podovsky comes near him and gets careless, Rambo fires a rocket at Podovsky's chopper, obliterating it to shreds.

Rambo then returns to the base and wrecks Murdock's command center. He threatens Murdock with a knife, challenging him to find and rescue the remaining American POWs in Vietnam. Trautman then comforts Rambo and tries to pacify him. An angry Rambo responds that he only wants his country to love its soldiers as much as its soldiers love it. As Rambo leaves, Trautman asks him, "How will you live, John?" To which Rambo replies, "Day by day." The film credits roll as Rambo walks off into the distance while his mentor watches him.



Rambo: First Blood Part II ultimate edition DVD cover.

James Cameron and Sylvester Stallone both wrote the film. Cameron was actually working on Aliens while the release on The Terminator was being delayed during production of the film. Cameron said that he only wrote the action scenes, while Stallone wrote more of the serious and politically-oriented dialogue.

Originally, the filmmakers wanted to cast John Travolta as Rambo's partner, but Stallone felt it was unnecessary and would make the film cheap, so they decided against it.

Stallone cast George P. Cosmatos as the director because his son, Sage, recommended him after seeing his work in the film Of Unknown Origin, and Dolph Lundgren was originally set to play Podovsky, but was recast after Stallone realized he was playing the villain in Rocky IV.

After Co Bao was killed, Rambo shouted 'No!', which echoed through the jungle as the camera zoomed out dramatically. Test audiences laughed at this, however, and it was cut down to the simpler, more quiet grieving we see in the film.

Rambo: First Blood Part II was filmed primarily in Mexico, in the jungles outside Acapulco as well as a Mexican air base. Most of the Mexican flags on the planes were covered up to make it look like an American air hangar in Thailand. During filming a typhoon hit; the largest in years, which nearly stranded the crew in the country because it destroyed the roads back. Many funny things happened during the shoot, including Stallone getting pantsed by Crenna during an interview by Maria Shriver. As retaliation, Sly threw a cream pie in Crenna's face during his respective interview. Also, mud fights between the actors were common. The crew had a good time during filming, despite the fact that it was like filming in a warm, smelly shower the whole time, and many parts of the jungle were only accessible by helicopters.

As it was tough to find Asian extras in Mexico during filming, all of the pirates, soldiers and villagers without any lines were merely workers from local Chinese restaurants. The film was banned in the Soviet Union.

The film is dedicated to Cliff Wenger, Jr, and was the first film to appear in 20,000 American theaters.

The film's body count is 67, 57 of which were killed by Rambo himself.



The title card for Rambo: First Blood Part II.

The film recieved mostly negative reviews from critics, but was very well-recieved by fans. The film won the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, but was also nominated for eight Razzies, winning five of them. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times was more positive, however. He didn't give the film an entirely positive review, but he praised the film's pacing and lack of political bias. However, Ebert criticized some logical flaws as well as action cliches. However, Ebert said he wasn't bored for a second and said that he enjoyed the film immensely. Gene Siskel was less positive, although they both agreed that while they didn't find it to be a good film overall, they thought it was a superb action movie. The film scored a 29% 'rotten' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although now it has since become somewhat of an action classic, and is the most popular of all the Rambo sequels. To this day, the film is aired on television at least once a week and is the most popular action film of all time. 

The film grossed $150 million on a $44 million budget, making it the most financially successful of all the Rambo movies.

First Blood First Blood II Rambo III Rambo
Films: First BloodRambo: First Blood Part IIRambo IIIRambo
John Rambo on: First BloodFirst Blood Part IIRambo IIIRambo IVOn-Screen Kills
Cast: Sylvester StalloneRichard Crenna
Video games: RamboRambo: First Blood Part IIRambo (1987)Rambo IIIRambo on FireRambo (Sega)Rambo: The Video Game