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Rambo: First Blood Part II (also known as Rambo II or First Blood Part II in other countries), is a 1985 second movie in the Rambo series, starring Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam veteran John Rambo. Picking up where the first film left, this sequel is set in the context of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue; it sees Rambo released from prison by Federal order to document the possible existence of POWs in Vietnammarker, under the belief that he will find nothing, thus enabling the government to sweep the issue under the rug.

Rambo: First Blood Part II was ghost-directed by George P. Cosmatos, who later directed the movie Cobra with Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen. It was later revealed that Stallone had most of the directorial control on Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Rambo: First Blood Part II follows First Blood and was followed by Rambo III in 1988 and Rambo in 2008.


Rambo is working in a labor camp prison when he gets a visit from his former commander, Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna). Trautman offers Rambo the chance to be released from prison after the events of the first film and given full clemency, but on condition of him going into Vietnammarker to search for American POWs. Rambo meets Marshal Murdock (Charles Napier), an American bureaucrat who is in charge of the operation and he tells Rambo that the American public is demanding knowledge about the POWs and they want a trained commando to go in and search for them. Rambo is briefed that he is only to photograph the POWs and not to rescue them, nor is he to engage any enemy soldiers. Rambo reluctantly agrees and he is then told that an agent of the American government will be there to receive him in the jungles of Vietnam.

Rambo parachutes into the Vietnamese jungles, but loses most of his equipment in the process and is left only with his knives, his bow, and arrows. He meets the agent, a native girl named Co-Bao (Julia Nickson) who wants to go to America. Rambo comes to the camp, in contradiction to his briefing he finds American prisoners there and rescues one of them. He, Co and the American POW escape in a boat but are attacked by a gunboat; Rambo sends Co and the POW to safety and manages to destroy the gunboat with an RPG. When Rambo calls for extraction, he is denied as Murdock fears what will happen to him and his party if the American public come to know about it.

Rambo and the American POW are recaptured. Rambo learns that the Soviet Army is aiding the Vietnamese and training them, and is tortured badly by a Soviet officer, Lt. Col. Podovsky (Steven Berkoff) and his robust henchman Sergeant Yushin. Rambo is ordered to contact the American military and tell them that they should not send any more commandos for rescue operations in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Co enters the camp in the guise of a prostitute and comes to the hut in which Rambo is held captive. Rambo agrees to Podovsky's condition, but instead threatens Murdock on the radio that he is coming to get him, then escapes from captivity into a nearby jungle with Co's help. Co then tends to Rambo's wounds and begins to implore him to take her to the United States. Rambo agrees, however they are then attacked by some Vietnamese soldiers and Co is killed. Rambo kills them all (except for their commander, who escapes) and then buries Co's body in the jungle.

Following his escape, the camp's Soviet and Vietnamese soldiers are sent to look for him. Rambo assembles his weapons, and using guerilla warfare tactics, is able to kill a large number of enemy troops. He proceeds to a small enemy camp and destroys it and several vehicles with explosive arrows. He hijacks a UH-1N Twin Huey helicopter from the Soviets after killing Sergeant Yushin and proceeds towards the POW camp. He destroys most of the camp with the helicopter, then lands and arms himself with the M60 machine gun that is mounted on the Huey, kills the remaining soldiers, and rescues all the POWs. They get to the helicopter and head towards the American camp in Thailand. Lt. Col. Podovsky chases them in his Mil Mi-24 helicopter gunship. Although Rambo's helicopter is heavily damaged by Podovsky's helicopter, he manages to land his helicopter on a river, then fakes his death. When Podovsky comes near him and gets careless, Rambo fires a LAW at Podovsky's chopper, obliterating it.

Rambo then returns to the base and wrecks Murdock's command center. He threatens Murdock with a knife, challenging him to find and rescue the remaining American POWs in Vietnam. Trautman then comforts Rambo and tries to pacify him. An angry Rambo responds that he only wants his country to love its soldiers as much as its soldiers love it. As Rambo leaves, Trautman asks him, "How will you live, John?" To which Rambo replies, "Day by day." The film credits roll as Rambo walks off into the distance while his mentor watches him.


The producers of the movie considered that Rambo would have a partner in the rescue mission of POWs. The producers allegedly wanted John Travolta to play Rambo's partner, but Stallone vetoed the idea.

James Cameron's original title for the film was First Blood II: The Mission.

Critical and commercial reception

The movie, which had a then-enormous budget of $44 million, became a box-office success. Earning just over $150 million in North America and just under that amount in the rest of the world, it was the second most successful movie of 1985 in North America, behind Back to the Future and just ahead of Rocky IV, giving Stallone two of three top grossing movies of that year. This film captured the attention of President Ronald Reagan and he lauded Stallone for portraying Rambo as a symbol of the U.S. Army.

While the movie was a commercial success particularly with young male fans of action films, it was reviled by critics. It was voted Worst Picture at the 1985 Golden Raspberry Awards (see below).


  • The only film in the series to ever get nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.


  • Co-writer James Cameron claims that he only wrote the first draft of the script and that Sylvester Stallone made many changes to it. When the film was released, the "political" content of the movie was considered controversial. Many felt the Vietnam conflict was "altered" to look and sound heroic. Cameron commented that he only wrote the "action" and that Stallone wrote the "politics".
  • The Mi-24 Hind-D helicopters seen in the film are in fact modified Aerospatiale SA 330 Puma transport helicopters with fabricated bolt-on wings similar to the real Hind-Ds used in the former Soviet bloc nations.
  • According to the documentary We Get to Win This Time (2002), the producers considered teaming up Sylvester Stallone with his Staying Alive (1983) protégé John Travolta (who was considered the play Rambo himself in the first film) as Rambo's young partner in rescuing the American POWs. Stallone nixed this idea when he decided it would be better to make the film a solo project.
  • Rambo's stats, as given in the film: "Rambo, John J., born 7/6/47 Bowie, Arizona of Indian-German descent. Joined army 8/6/64. Accepted, Special Forces specialization, light weapons, cross-trained as medic. Helicopter and language qualified, 59 confirmed kills, two Silver Stars, four Bronze, four Purple Hearts, Distinguished Service Cross, Congressional Medal of Honor."
  • The huge Buddha statue that was used in the opening sequence was given to the local Mexican military commander as a souvenir after the shoot, even when he was told it's just a prop made from expanded polystyrene and a lot of gold paint.
  • All of the shots on the military base were done on a Mexican air force airstrip. The logos have been painted over or obscured, and the real crew always have their backs toward the camera or are far enough away from the camera so no one would notice.
  • First film to appear in 2,000+ US theaters.
  • 57 men are killed by Rambo during the course of the film.
  • Lieutenant Colonol Padovsky is the only villain to have any lines in English.
  • Before Artisan bought the rights to Carolco Pictures, Carolco's logo always used the music of Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) to open their movie credits.
  • The total body count of the film is 67.
  • James Cameron wrote a treatment/screenplay not only for this film, but for Aliens (1986) while production was being delayed on The Terminator (1984).
  • Dolph Lundgren auditioned for a part and actually got it but Stallone realized that it was the same man who was going to be in Rocky IV (1985) so he didn't get the part.
  • As Cao Bao (Nickson) died in Rambo's arms after the ambush, there was supposed to be a triple zoom-in while Stallone screams "No!" echoed 3 times. During a test screening, audience actually started laughing. It was quickly re-edited to the present form.
  • The film is dedicated to Cliff Wenger Jr.
  • James Cameron's original screenplay began with Col. Trautman finding Rambo in a psychiatric hospital instead of a prison. The psychiatric hospital concept was instead depicted in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
  • Sylvester Stallone did most of the directing. The credited directer 'George P. Cosmatoes' was only a ghost-directer through making of the production. The same thing happened to Cosmatoes again while filming Tombstone (1993).
  • Lee Marvin was originally to play Marshall Murdock but changed his mind.

Other media

  • Officially licensed knives from the movie were created by both United Cutlery and Master Cutlery. Additionally, Master Cutlery fabricated both a standard and Limited Edition version. The Master Cutlery versions are push tang construction, have a hollow aluminum cord gripped handle that contains an emergency survival kit, and a precision compass mounted in the pommel. The stainless guards incorporate standard and Phillips head screwdriver points in the design. They are 1/4" thick 420 J2 stainless blades.


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