john j. Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone, has led a bloody life, so after witnessing (and complicit in) so much carnage for so many decades, you’ll forgive him for becoming a rancher in his golden years and donning clothes that make him look like he’s a testing for the townspeople. Stallone is so vital at 72 that it invites envy, but that makes his 2019 addition to the Rambo franchise, Rambo v: Last Blood, a bit of a surprise, especially given that 2008’s Rambo gave the series a solid finish. once a soldier, always a soldier.
Rambo 5 is slated for a 2019 release date, giving you plenty of time to catch up on the entire series. you probably need the refresher; After all, it’s been decades since Rambo: First Blood was released in 1982. So come on! Let’s hitchhike down memory lane to 1980s America and recount what happened in each of the Rambo movies.
a summary of each rambo movie
The best movie in the saga is the most empathic. We meet Rambo as a scruffy drifter traveling to see his old friend from Special Forces, who turns out to have died from exposure to Agent Orange. We feel for Rambo, even more so when he wanders through Esperanza, Washington, and confronts Sheriff Teasle (Brian Dennehy). teasle thinks rambo is a bum and kicks him out of town. Rambo isn’t taking that, and he runs back. Teasle arrests him and turns him in to his officers for hazing, but this triggers Rambo’s PTSD; he fights them off, flees into the woods, and in the ensuing chase dispatches teasle’s helpers non-fatal, except for one who is killed in a helicopter crash. Not that teasle cares.
As the situation spirals out of control, Rambo’s former colleague Trautman (Richard Crenna) arrives to calm Rambo down. Teasle ignores him and continues to push Rambo, who in the pantheon of very bad ideas™ is up to giving Jason Voorhees a machete. rambo cries and nearly kills teasle, until trautman steps in and convinces him to surrender peacefully (which passes for peacefully, anyway) he comforts rambo as he breaks down from his past pain and trauma in the most powerful scene in the movie.
rambo: first blood part ii (1985)
as poignant as the image of rambo crying in trautman’s arms is, it’s not enough to get him a get out of jail card, so when first blood part ii opens, we find him doing heavy lifting behind bars. but that works for rambo. the prison gives him the structure and routine that he so badly needs.
trautman offers rambo a reprieve if he goes to vietnam to track down a group of us. prisoners of war in the hands of the Vietnamese army. Rambo agrees. the mission just requires easy reconnaissance, but he can’t help it; Seeing one of the prisoners tied like Jesus to the cross, Rambo defies orders and the mission goes to hell on a ham sandwich. To make matters worse, Murdock (Charles Napier), the government suit overseeing the operation, mocks Rambo’s extraction and reveals that he never intended to save POWs. saving pows costs money.
unless you’re rambo. Falling into the clutches of Vietnamese troops and their eeeeeevil Soviet allies, Rambo is freed by Rebel Co (Julia Nickson), his love interest, whose death after the escape sets Rambo on a rampage; he steals a soviet helicopter, levels the vietnamese and soviet camp, saves the remaining prisoners of war and destroys the us. uu. base in thailand in retribution for the abandonment of the government by their own soldiers. This time, instead of going to jail, he receives praise plus a pardon and stays in Thailand to meditate with the monks. fair enough.
rambo: the force of freedom (1986)
yeah, they did a rambo tv show. sandwiched between rambo ii and rambo iii is rambo: freedom force, which is basically “what if g.i. joe but with rambo, and instead of cobra, s.a.v.a.g.e. (specialists-administrators of revenge, anarchy and extortion global)?” it’s a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad show, as you’d expect, and luckily it didn’t last the year it first aired.
surprise, surprise: rambo’s retirement didn’t last either. Three years after First Blood Part II, Trautman visits Rambo while he is stick fighting for money in Thailand and tries to recruit him for a mission in Afghanistan; the United States. it means arming the mujahideen in their fight against the (eeeeevil) soviets. Rambo demurs, even after Trautman shows him photos of Afghan civilians suffering at the hands of the Soviets, so Trautman goes alone.
guess what? Trautman is captured by Soviet troops. After hearing the news from Kurtwood Smith, Rambo heads off to the Afghan desert to save the commander from him, and in the process help the Mujahideen fight their Soviet enemies. Compared to Rambo’s past adventures, this mission goes relatively smoothly. sure, young hamid (doudi shoua) takes a bullet in the leg, but he lives, and trautman only suffers a little torture before rambo rescues him. They steal a helicopter (Rambo’s favorite move) and take on the Soviets alone until the Mujahideen race in on horseback and save the day.
and then rambo drives a tank against a helicopter to kill the great soviet villain, which is ridiculous and unbelievable.
Twenty years later, Stallone gave us an unexpected gift: a new meat-and-potatoes rambo movie. Set against the backdrop of the Saffron Revolution, Rambo sees John exploring side careers as a snake catcher and boatman when he is hired by missionaries to take them to the Salween River to provide medical assistance to Karen villagers.
not surprisingly, the trip goes bad. The pirates stop Rambo’s ship and threaten to harm her if she doesn’t hand over Sarah (Julie Benz), the only woman in the missionary party. It’s also not surprising that Rambo kills the pirates, much to the disgust of the missionaries. They fire him, leaving them vulnerable to kidnapping by the state peace and development council’s (maung maung khin) chief tinker. at least he lets them live: his men brutally murder the villagers.
It’s Rambo’s turn to go on another rescue mission, hired by the missionaries’ pastor to lead a team of mercenaries through the area before team leader Lewis (Graham Mctavish) fires him. They are helpless when they run into the dye as he and his soldiers prepare to torture the hostages for fun, but it turns out that Rambo followed them, and since Rambo is all that is man, he kills the soldiers with nothing but his bow and arrows. Later, he and the mercenaries locate Tint’s camp and free the missionaries, only for Tint to capture everyone except Rambo, Sarah, and the mercenary’s sniper the next day.
It’s time for another rescue mission! Bow and arrows are useless this time, so Rambo hijacks the golden M2 machine gun mounted on one of Tint’s jeeps and turns the jeep’s driver into chunky spaghetti sauce before taking aim at Tint’s army. the m2 shoots really big bullets, so rambo has a ball cutting the guys in half while the mercenaries, along with the karen rebels, mop up everyone who’s left. except dye. Tint almost made it out alive, until he makes the rookie mistake of running into Rambo’s machete and getting disemboweled. d’oh!
Instead of prison or thailand, rambo ends with john returning to the united states. to see his dad in arizona. Presumably, Dad won’t make it to Rambo V: Last Blood, but you can bet there will be plenty of hyper-bloody violence, from throat tearing to full-body liquefaction. maybe we’ll get a heartwarming outburst as well, as that seems to be where he’s at in his career. If Rambo V: Last Blood is your character’s final sendoff, give him the poignant and emotional sendoff he deserves.