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First Blood (1982)
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July 2002                                                         SITE MAP   SEARCH
Rambo III
cast: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Kurtwood Smith

director: Peter MacDonald

97 mins (18) 1988 widescreen 2.35:1 Momentum Take One DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Tony Lee
Rambo's old commanding officer (and only friend), Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna), finds him stick fighting for pocket money whilst living in a monastery in Bangkok. Unable to convince the super-soldier to accompany him on a secret US supply operation to war torn Afghanistan, the luckless Trautman goes in anyway and is promptly taken prisoner by a Soviet patrol. Naturally, when Rambo hears of his friend's capture, he embarks on an apparently suicidal rescue mission...
   In the desert camps, fanatical Mujahedin warriors engage occupying Russian forces, pitting untrained riflemen, ragged horse cavalry and petrol bombs against mortars, big tanks and air supremacy. The motley guerrilla resistance is further hampered by spies in their midst, as enemy agents are everywhere under the new communist regime. However, knowing he's on his way is not the same thing as seeing him coming, and Rambo proves he's just as stealthy as any Hong Kong movie ninja, when he sneaks into a ramshackle yet strongly defended Soviet fortress to free Trautman (who has been tortured), along with numerous rebel POWs.
   Director Peter MacDonald did the helicopter stunts on Rambo: First Blood II. In this sequel he makes good use of the gigantic Hind-D (a heavily armed USSR helicopter that's big as a house), and ably bridges the action and war film genres with absurdly dramatic scenes - like the one in which our hero shoots down an attacking gunship with his trusty bow and arrow. Of course, this being a Stallone adventure, there's little understanding of the complex realities of Afghan culture and politics. Instead, what Rambo III delivers is a rousing battle fest (shot on locations in Israel and Arizona by veteran stunt supervisor Vic Armstrong), with a sky-high body count that requires no thought whatsoever to appreciate.
   DVD extras: scene finder (16 chapters), two trailers, three making-of shorts ("It's almost Rambo of Arabia." - Richard Crenna), some nifty animated menus, photo gallery, four-language sound, and six language subtitles.