Run time: 90 mins
This landmark action movie, probably the best of Sylvester Stallone’s career, arrived at that sweet spot when Sly was still an Oscar-nominated actor and screenwriter (for Rocky).
The story is set in the fictitious small town of Hope, Washington. John Rambo (Stallone) returns back from Vietnam, sort of walking the earth looking for an old comrade and is stunned to hear he has died from cancer due to Agent Orange. Then a swaggering bully of a local police chief (Brian Dennehy) unjustly picks Rambo up for vagrancy and takes him down to the station-house where he is beaten up.
Rambo busts out of there, and is pursued to a remote gorge where this special forces hombre holds out against hundreds of beta-male cops. There’s only one person who can talk him down: Rambo’s old commanding officer, Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna). What follows is an intense game of cat and mouse in the wilderness, with Rambo utilising his survival instincts to thwart the authorities.
Stallone brought intense physicality, obviously, but also a vulnerability to a character who takes revenge on a cruel, unfeeling establishment. It’s not just an action classic, but an intriguing character study.