Rambo Marathon: Rebuttal: First Blood (1982)

The Rambo Marathon continues! Do I disagree with Edgar often? Not really. Do I always kick his ass when we disagree? You bet your sweet ass I do!

To understand where I’m coming from first you need to go and check out Edgar’s review of First Blood over at Between The Seats.

If it seems like more often than not Edgar ad I end up agreeing in our joint reviews, there is a reason for that. While Edgar and I don’t always share the same views on film, those views are very close in proximity to one another. Even when we do disagree we don’t disagree by that much, and this results in rebuttals that can be darn tooting hard to write. I mean, I’m all about whipping Edgar’s ass and showing him who’s boss. But, how do I do that when we agreed almost wholesale on First Blood?

Both of us were struck by the films rather stoic take on the Vietnam war vet. Like me, you didn’t appear to expect that sort of rumination and seriousness to be found in a franchise that became known for its action and its action alone. We were both surprised by First Blood, but surprised in a good way. There’s nothing for me to disagree with in this part of your review.

You then go on to talk about the isolation of Rambo as a character, how he is a hero but really isn’t a hero as well. Again, I find myself in agreement with you. I also was struck by how Rambo was portrayed as a hero but didn’t much act like one, so much so that as First Blood rolled along it was easy to forget what type of hero he had been and focus instead on the damaged man he had become. You focus on the man, on how his actions differentiate him from the typical crazy man, or even the typical action star. Again, I agree with you and am left with nothing to rebut.

Ah, but then you get into Trautman, and that is where a gap in our views of First Blood begins to form. You were taken by the Trautman character, you found him sympathetic and ultimately a character that was a necessary cog throughout the film. I agree that Trautman was necessary at the end, but I don’t agree with you about Trautman’s level of sympathy nor his usefulness prior to the final moments of First Blood. The story plops Trautman into the film, and he doesn’t do much except for spout off a few less than enthralling lines while waiting around for his final and most important scene. You found something in his character from the moment he came on screen, but I just don’t see it. I would like to, Trautman gaining my sympathy or my interest prior to the resolution of the film would have made said resolution even more poignant than it ended up being. But, I can’t work with what should have been, I can only work with what I was given, and unlike you I didn’t think I was given much of anything in the form of Trautman, at least until the end.

You do bring up an interesting point near the end of your review, my finely tailored Canadian friend. I didn’t find myself thinking much about the ramifications of Rambo’s romp through the town when he was blowing up everything in sight. I do wonder who he killed, whose lives he wrecked, and how ultimately that sort of mayhem works with the idea of Rambo as the persecuted victim? Maybe it is the final exclamation point on his decent into madness, as you and James discussed in the comments of your review, or maybe it isn’t? Either way, you got me thinking, and that’s the work of a man who knows his stuff. Good point Edgar, my hat if off to you fine sir!

A good man knows how to admit when he has been bested, and in the case of our First Blood reviews I give the nod to you Edgar. It was close, we both made some good points, but your point about the carnage and mayhem Rambo wreaks on the town was better than anything I brought to the table. Your point was the proverbial dagger in my proverbial heart, you sly fox you. But, like a phoenix I shall rise again and I’m confident I will resume our time honored tradition of me kicking your ass six ways from Sunday week in and week out.

You can check out Edgar’s rebuttal of my First Blood Review over at Between The Seats.


2 responses to “Rambo Marathon: Rebuttal: First Blood (1982)

  1. The taste of victory is sweet, like a candy cane. I like it.

    I was reasonably diplomatic in my rebuttal, but in my original draft there were a couple of pointless cheap shots just to get some blood boiling between the two of us. If you check out the article again, the final phrase of the 3rd paragraph (where I defend Colonel Trautman), I write ‘And anyways, I really enjoyed Richard Crenna’s performance, so there.’ I was tempted to write ‘And anyways, I really enjoyed Richard Crenna’s performance, so fuck you.’ but backed out at the last minute.

  2. Never back out of a good “fuck you,” you always live to regret it. So yeah, fuck you Edgar, fuck you…

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