Sylvester Stallone is a vagabond Vietnam vet wandering the Pacific Northwest in this film, which began the actor's "Rambo" persona. He is run out of a small town by bullyboy sheriff Brian Dennehy, and when he returns the local cops arrest and mistreat him. Fed up with this persecution, he goes berserk, escapes, and causes the death of a pursuing officer. Hiding in the dense woodland and mountainous terrain, Stallone fends off the local posse using guerrilla methods he learned in Vietnam. Described by Richard Crenna, his former commanding officer, as "a killing machine," the superhuman Stallone easily defeats the cops, who are then forced to turn to the National Guard for help, and the violence continues to escalate to an apocalyptic conclusion.
The plot is preposterous, but director Ted Kotcheff knows how to stage an action scene with flair and keeps the film moving along at a rapid clip. Boasting some of the best use of rugged landscape since the westerns of Anthony Mann, FIRST BLOOD is an effective, if outlandish, picture that exists merely for its big-screen thrills. Stallone barely says a word in the entire film, save for one long and laughably pat speech about how the Vietnam War has affected him--a monologue that comes tumbling out in the last five minutes. leave a comment