a film by Ted
Kotcheff released through Orion Pictures in 1982
Free of the wanton violence of its sequels, First Blood takes
a thought-provoking look at the effects of marginalization on our
most vulnerable (and dangerous) citizens. When his best friend
dies and callous deputies cross the line from discipline to torture,
John Rambo has his fill. First, he escapes. And when his
pleas to be left alone go unheeded, he seeks revenge. Brian
Dennehy plays the nominal villain—a regimented lawman who can't
understand why a Viet Nam veteran should be given more consideration
than a Korea vet (like himself).
But the Sheriff is no match for super-soldier Rambo, as speechifying
Colonel Trautman delights in reminding these hicks-in-the-sticks.
Aided by a very gloomy and cold Pacific Northwest setting, and
featuring elaborate escapes and cathartic mass-destruction, First
Blood saved Sylvester Stallone's career, and set the standard
for the more-polished (but less-believable) actioneers of the '80s.