Rambo Trilogy (4K UHD)

Rambo Trilogy (4K UHD) 
 
First Blood (Ted Kotcheff, 1982)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (George P. Cosmatos, 1985)
Rambo III (Peter MacDonald, 1988)
 
☆☆☆☆
 
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
 
Summary: The iconic 80s action trilogy and increasingly gluttonous guilty pleasure that is Rambo has exploded onto 4K UHD Blu-ray and never looked better. 
 
It’s hard to realise now, but the Rambo franchise started as a genuinely interesting indictment of the treatment of Vietnam veterans on their home soil before it descended into somewhat mindless explosions as the era of shoot-em-up cinema came into full swing. 
 
Looking back, it’s as if the first Rambo film starred the Sylvester Stallone from the Best Picture Oscar winning Rocky and the second and third starred the Sylvester Stallone from Cobra.  
 
While the backwards evolution dip in quality (and delirious spike in action) results in a somewhat uneven initial trilogy, these three films are as iconic as they are entertaining. They are a product of their time and a high water mark for what the genre could top itself with as if punchdrunk on its own all-American cocktail of steroids and invasion fears.   
 
 
Anchoring the initial trilogy is, of course, Sylvester Stallone - a film icon that can deliver cloaked sensitivity and shirtless bravado with yo-yo-like efficiency. As Frank Rambo, he begins his journey as America’s neglected hero before becoming its eagle of vengeance.
 
It’s interesting that this is a character forever being used as a tool, governed by higher ideals or duty-bound service. Don’t be distracted by the muscles: Rambo actually stands for something. It’s just a little hard to dig deep when there’s so many distractions. 
 
Now he’s back, making his 4K UHD debut with a stellar set of discs from StudioCanal. You’ve never experienced the original Rambo flicks quite this vibrant outside of the cinema.
 
 
Official synopsises and bonus features list follows:   
 
First Blood (Ted Kotcheff, 1982)
 
When small town Washington sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) detains a vagrant drifter for resisting arrest, little does he realise that he has set in motion a series of events that bring mayhem and bloody reckoning to his community. The shabby vagrant is in fact former Green Beret John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone – Rocky, Creed, The Expendables), a hero of the Vietnam War who has returned home to find America no longer wants him. Responding to brutal treatment from Teasle’s Deputies with sudden ferociousness, Rambo makes a daring escape from the town jail, steals a motorcycle and roars off towards the wilderness with the sheriffs not far behind.
 
Fully restored for the first time ever, First Blood is the explosive action-thriller that started it all! A breathtaking portrayal of America at odds with itself.
 
Extras:
Rambo takes the '80s Part 1
Drawing First Blood - Making Of
Alternate Ending
Outtake
Deleted scene: Dream in Saigon
Original Trailer
How to Become Rambo Part 1
The Restoration
The Real Nam
Forging Heroes
Sylvester Stallone Audio commentary
Screenwriter David Morell Audio commentary
 
Rambo: First Blood Part II (George P. Cosmatos, 1985)
 
Fully restored for the first time ever, Rambo: First Blood Part II picks up three years after the events of First Blood. Vietnam veteran John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone – Rocky, Creed, The Expendables) is offered a prison pardon in exchange for accepting a perilous mission: infiltrating communist Vietnam under deep cover to hunt for evidence of missing American servicemen. His CIA handler Marshall Murdock (Charles Napier) insists that it is merely a reconnaissance operation. “Do not engage the enemy,” Rambo is ordered, “Just take pictures.”
 
After a disastrous parachute drop, Rambo is left stranded in the jungle with only his combat knife and bow and arrows to protect him.
 
Extras
Rambo takes the 80s Part 2
We get to win this time
Action in the Jungle
The Last American POW
Sean Baker - Fulfilling a Dream
Interview with Sylvester Stallone
Interview with Richard Crenna
Behind the Scenes
The Restoration
How to become Rambo Part 2
Original Trailer
Original TV Spots
Director George P. Cosmatos
Audio Commentary
 
Rambo III (Peter MacDonald, 1988)
 
Fully restored for the first time ever, Rambo III finds John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone – Rocky, Creed, The Expendables) taking refuge in a Buddhist temple in Thailand. Rambo’s mentor, Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) arrives seeking help for a new mission: supplying weapons to oppressed rebels in Afghanistan. When Rambo refuses, Trautman leaves for Afghanistan without him – but is quickly taken hostage by Soviet forces. With his friend facing imminent death, Rambo volunteers to mount a solo rescue attempt.
 
Extras
Rambo takes the 80s Part 3
Full Circle
A Hero's Journey
Rambo's Survival Hardware
Alternate Beginning
Deleted Scenes
Interview with Sylvester Stallone
Afghanistan - A Land in Crisis
Guts and Glory
Behind the Scenes
The Restoration
Trautman & Rambo
How to become Rambo Part 3
Original Trailer
Original TV Spots
Selling a Hero (Easteregg)
Commentary by Director Peter MacDonald

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