‘First Blood’ Might be One of Sylvester Stallone’s Best Movies

Sylvester Stallone will always be known as Rocky Balboa. Rocky was the movie that made Stallone a star. And, it may come as a surprise to some, but he also famously wrote the script. Stallone played Rocky in eight movies, including the first two Creed films. John Rambo is Stallone’s other most notable character and Rambo first appeared on screen in First Blood. The movie was based on the novel of the same name written by David Morrell.

John Rambo was a Vietnam veteran who came to a small town and immediately got hassled by the law, including the police chief, played by Brian Dennehy. Dennehy’s character says he doesn’t want any trouble and tries to get Rambo out of town. Rambo was not causing any trouble when the police picked him up and then arrested him. Ironically, the local police pushing Rambo results in trouble when Rambo pushes back.

I think Stallone is really good in this, even before his character strikes back. Richard Crenna plays Rambo’s former commanding officer and tries to settle things peacefully. He seems to enjoy explaining to this small town police force that they pushed the wrong guy. Brian Denneherty was good as the cop who got a lot more than he bargained for in Rambo.

In Roger Ebert’s review, Ebert felt the movie said too much and that Stallone was made to say things that were probably better left implied. Ebert felt That Stallone’s performance was good enough to show that Rambo was troubled and damaged by the war. I might like the movie more than Ebert did but I think his point was an interesting one. This movie was a hit and it was followed by four sequels over the years.

This movie has a smaller scale than some of its sequels. The sequels are different in tone, as well.

The Lark Branch Library has First Blood on Blu-ray.

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