Background[edit | edit source]
Morrell was offered the opportunity to write a novelization of the film sequel and he was reluctant but wound up changing his mind, primarily because he felt he could add something to the short storyline and experiment with the new art form of novelizations. Fans of James Cameron should pay attention to the book’s first scene, which was amplified from an unused script he wrote for the film. Out of print for 22 years, Rambo: First Blood Part II will soon be available as an e-book.
Plot[edit | edit source]
John Rambo is now in a labor camp prison five years after the events of First Blood, when he launched a one-man war against a small town sherriff.Colonel Sam Trautman comes to his aid and tells Rambo that he will get a presidential pardon if he looks for American POWs still held in Vietnam. Rambo is told that he can't engage the enemy, but he doesn't listen when he is double-crossed by Marshall Murdock, the head of the operation and is left behind. Rambo is then captured by the North Vietnamese's Soviet allies led by the sadistic Lieutenant Colonel Podovsk and his savage henchman, Yashin (Podovsky and Sgt. Yushin in the film) and is tortured, but is rescued by his guide and love interest, Co Bao. Rambo finally can't take it anymore when Co is murdered by the North Vietnamese Army, and swears vengeance on those responsible.
Differences Between the Book and Movie[edit | edit source]
Unlike most movie novelizations, the novelizations of the Rambo films are highly detailed, different interpretations of the films. Written by David Morrell, the author of the original First Blood, the book follows many different plot points and goes into much more detail of the characters, adding in several completely different scenes and characters because the novelization is based on an earlier unused screenplay. The character of Rambo is also made more violent to be consistent with the character of the original novel, an angry, burned out psychotic. The character of Co Bao is also far different in the book, however. She was said to be an economics major at the University of Saigon and learned very broken English there. Co is also fairly vulgar in the book, whereas in the movie she never utters a single profanity. She mentions in the novelization that she had a son named Nguyen from a previous relationship and a brother. This was omitted completely in the film version. The characters also for some reason have different names. Podovsky in the film was Podovsk in the novel, Yushin in the film was Yashin in the novel, and Lieutenant Tay in the film was Sergeant Tay in the novel. It was also revealed in the novel that Tay tortured Rambo in his original tour of duty in Vietnam, giving him more of a hatred towards the man. The book follows no particular narrative, as it is told from third person omniscient's point of view. There are many scenes in particular that are told from the villain's point of view. There are chapters where Sergeant Tay, Co, Trautman, Murdock and even an unnamed Viet Cong soldier narrarate.
The book goes into great detail about how and why Rambo learned to shoot the Compound bow, and there is even a picture of it in the book when it is being described. There is also a scene where John Rambo thinks about being called a "rapist" by hippie anti-war protestors, and thinks back to when he was in the war, how he actually lost his sexual libido because of the terrible things he witnessed. The book also reveals that Rambo didn't lose his virginity until the age of 21, and Rambo was drafted before he could marry the woman. When he returned, a heartbroken Rambo discovered she had married and had three children.
Some scenes take place during the night when in the movie they took place during the day, and Murdock is seen talking to Rambo at the prison. There are virtually so many differences between the two works that it is almost like you don't even know they are supposed to be the same work. This is because Sylvester Stallone allowed David Morrell to take many artistic liberties with the character to make it more of his own story.