Rambo 6: New Blood – Trailer | Sylvester Stallone, Jon Bernthal

The Rambo franchise may have become a box office success, but the four later additions to the series all failed to replicate what made First Blood such a compelling film in the first place. Released in 1982 and based on the novel of the same name by David Morrell, First Blood focuses on Vietnam War veteran John Rambo as he finds himself increasingly drawn into a conflict with a small-town police force.

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The film established one of Sylvester Stallone’s most iconic characters and led to a franchise that would go on to make over $800 million at the box office.

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However, none of the subsequent four films really did the original justice. Instead of exploring the complex and tragic themes of First Blood that make it such a strong drama, the following movies misunderstood Rambo and turned him into a killing machine.

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That transformation undercuts the thematic weight of the original film, which was all about exploring the dichotomy between the soldier Rambo was trained to be and the man who was left to recover from that experience. Rambo: First Blood is a terrific drama that suffers when placed alongside the films it led to.

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