Review

About: For over 25 years, Sylvester Stallone’s “mythic commando” Rambo (Variety) has thrilled audiences worldwide. From “ragged and flashy” First Blood (The New York Times) to the “shockingly entertaining” Rambo (The Seattle Times), the series chronicles a reluctant killing machine as he wages war against corrupt global forces – all while facing a battle within his own soul. Rambo: The Complete Collector’s Set has everything the ultimate Rambo fan needs, including all 4 films together for the first time!

Review: I’ve never actually reviewed the Rambo movies so rather than doing individual reviews I thought I would go over the Blu-ray box set which has all four films together.

For me the Rambo saga is one of the few movie series which doesn’t have a weak entry. I love all four films with First Blood: Part II being my personal favourite. I know some people think he becomes too much of an unstoppable hero but that’s just why I love it.

Jerry Goldsmith’s bombastic heroic score, the political undertones in all four movies and the perfect casting of Stallone makes this box set a must have.

Interestingly enough, when we did a poll last year fans voted the third movie as their favourite in the series.

All four have their merits; in terms of a ‘serious’ action film First Blood stands the test of time well with Brian Dennehy perfectly cast as Sheriff Teasle.

In the book we find out a little more about his character and that he fought in the Korean war and was bitter against Rambo for being a ‘Nam Vet in a war that got more attention.

The acting in the first movie is the best in the series and despite Stallone muttering during his final breakdown it remains incredibly moving and tragic.

Parts 2 and 3 are more cartoony but I love them all the same and the action is just awesome; Rambo 2008 is one of the most violent movies I’ve ever seen, taking the series in a more serious direction for a new generation.

Not much else to say about the films other than if you’re a fan of action movies then you just need to own them.

But what of the special features?

Well a lot of them are carried over from previous DVD releases but there are some fantastic features including a commentary from Stallone himself for First Blood. He provides an insightful look at the film, providing plenty of anecdotes in his own imitable style. He discusses how the Rambo movies came to be from script to screen and it’s one of the best commentaries I’ve heard.

There is also a commentary from First Blood writer David Morrell which is also fascinating; I have to admit I’m not normally a fan of audio commentaries but the ones on this Blu-ray are first rate.

We get 6 minutes of deleted scenes including the original ending which was interestingly pretty similar to the ending of the book.

There is a featurette called Drawing First Blood which goes over how the novel became the film and gives us details behind the making of it.

The audio and sound quality maintain the grim look of the film but it’s remastered nicely with some awesome DTS sound.

Rambo: First Blood Part II only has an audio commentary from the late great George Cosmatos but it’s not as interesting as the first movie.

We Get to Win This Time is a 20 minute documentary which has some interesting stories from cast and crew members who share various tales about making Part II and is a fun look into the film.

Sadly there isn’t really anything else for Part II which is a shame as my fave entry deserves better.

Audio and picture are excellent though once again with another DTS track which comes into its own during the final action-packed 30 minutes.

Rambo III has a pretty cool commentary from director Peter MacDonald who talks about the film’s production and is surprisingly honest about the behind scenes problems.

It also has a 30 minute documentary called Land in Crisis which explores the importance of Rambo and also gives us a brief history of Afghanistan. It’s a surprisingly fascinating look at the reality behind the film and definitely worth sitting through.

There are multiple featurettes as well which focus on the weaponry and music of Rambo, a history of Burma and more. This film has the best special features of the series and also includes some deleted scenes and a trailer gallery.

Picture and sound quality are spectacular with the final bloody 20 minutes looking better than ever.

There are a few other special features including Picture-in-Picture – Bonus View which provides some cool behind the scenes footage as well as Stallone’s commentary.

It’s funny how the tone of this film was surprisingly grim; where parts 2 and 3 are more balls out action heroic, Rambo 2008 is incredibly violent with a bodycount literally in the hundreds.

Overall, the Rambo Series Box Set is certainly essential for fans of the genre. Sure, parts 2 and 3 could have had more in terms of special features but for the remastered movies alone this is a must have.



About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone. We also want to help promote new talent whether you're making blockbusters, low-budget Indie movies or fan films; if it's action, it's awesome.