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Written by Matthew Pejkovic

With Sylvester Stallone confirming that the Rambo saga has come to an end, Matt’s Movie Reviews pays tribute to a cinema icon and true American hero, with its favourite Rambo moments.


(Warning: The following clips contain scenes of excessive violence)

First Blood movie poster


Brought in for “vagrancy”, Rambo is treated with sadistic contempt by a small town police force. But when they go too far, all hell breaks loose.

Up to this point, we have no indication as to who John J. Rambo rally is. Slowly clues come together...the dog tags...the knife...the scars across his body...and finally, the flashback scene which triggers a spectacular jailbreak and reveals Rambo’s true destiny as a killer will never fit in.


Engorged in the thick forest surrounding little town USA, Rambo dares the police force to try and take him on, a move they will live to regret.

Has Stallone ever been so intimidating? Has the dark recesses of an action hero ever been so expertly revealed? Brian Dennehy must have been crapping bricks as the tenacious cop foolish enough to take on Rambo, John J. . Too bad he couldn’t leave that poor man alone.


Cornered with no way out, Col. Trautman (Richard Crenna) tries to convince Rambo to give up the fight and let go of the past.

It is a scene which works on so many levels: A condemnation of war. The damnation of a contury which treated its soldiers with contempt. One of the purely emotional moments in a tough guy action film where  men have, and still do, weep at the sight of it. Stallone’s best scene? Maybe so.


Rambo: First Blood II movie poster


Captured and tortured, Rambo is forced to make contact to his superiors who left him stranded in Vietnam.

A great movie quote is an integral part to any iconic action character. Dirty Harry had them. Ditto John McClane. And Rambo too lets them fly, with this little ditty the best delivered line in the series...


Gutted at the death of his guide/girlfriend Co Boa (Julie Nickson), Rambo is given another excuse to take out the Communist enemy with an assortment of resources.

Love is not something associated with the Rambo franchise. Likewise, the presence of females is almost alien (Julie Benz has a major part in the fourth instalment). So when both are introduced in Rambo II, it makes for interesting and entertaining viewing. In an instant a soldier betrayed also becomes a man scorned, and the revenge that follows becomes that much more personal.

Rambo III movie poster


In order to provide financial support to the Buddhist monks he lives amongst, Rambo participates in stick fighting competitions.

It is a surreal moment: here is Rambo playing Rocky (albeit with sticks instead of boxing gloves). That he does not have a machine gun in tow reveals another side to his lethal arsenal. Had Rambo entered the UFC, surely he would dominate.


In Soviet occupied Afghanistan, Rambo faces off against a battalion of soldiers, with an M-16 in hand and a never ending amount of ammunition.

It is the moment where the Rambo series verged on sheer lunacy, and became a parody of itself. Yet still, the sight of Stallone going up against a whole army still has that element of unique kick-ass to it.


Rambo movie poster


Having turned down the offer to guide a group of Christian missionaries through wartorn Burma, Rambo struggles through a sleepless night plagued by nightmares.

The montage was used frequently – and well – in the Rocky movies. Stallone’s use of it in Rambo works as both a tribute to past glories and example of the never ending stirring in the dark soul of a man who claims not to care, but finds himself unable to walk away from conflict.


With both Christian missionaries and their supposed mercenary rescuers facing certain death by Burmese militia, Rambo is forced to spring into action in typically bloody and brutal style.

The Rambo films have always been a source of high impact violence, with the third outing holding the most kills in a film for a substantial amount of time. Yet Stallone took it to the next level in Rambo, exploiting the censors and publics tolerance for extreme violence in a sequence of mind numbing bloodshed, involving a machete to the head and a Gatling gun to the torso.


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