Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Why I think First Blood is a Masterpiece.


The first time I saw First Blood or Rambo First Blood as people tend to call it now I thought it was a fantastic film. With repeat viewings I have come to appreciate it even more and would in fact call it a masterpiece.

First Blood tells the story of a Vietnam war veteran who has returned to America after the war and tried to find his place in the world but is unfortunately not wanted and is met with fear and hostility. The main character John Rambo is not just suffering from the external hostility he is also suffering inside because he has PTSD (Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder) and certain things trigger him causing his mind to see and sense the horrors of the war he has lived through.

The majority of the film is basically a small war between a sheriff's department and Rambo. Rambo fights hard and he fights smart but yet you never lose site of the key fact that basically all he wants is to find peace and to be at best treated with some respect and dignity and at the very least just left alone. I think that most people just want to be understood and to have peace so I find it very easy to relate to Rambo, maybe it is even easier for me to feel for the character because I have also sufferd from PTSD?

 I know that recently when the film Split came out there was a huge backlash against it and the way it suposidly portrayed mental illness, having not watched it I cant really comment on that but I do know that I see First Blood as representing some of what its like to experiance PTSD rather well in my opinion. To me First Blood has this at least partial realism that a lot of other action films even including its own sequels do not possess. In most films a guy takes on whole armies of men standing in the direct line of fire so to speak and yet every bullet misses him and he eliminates wave after wave of enemies but this film is kind of diffrent. Yes Rambo wages a war against the sherif and his men but he does it mostly by hiding and taking them out one at a time, he uses his enviroment and a skill set he would have given his background, he sustains injurys and he suffers for them. Some people have tried to argue that he would have died during a long drop in the film in which he hits tree branches but while I admit in most cases it would proberbly kill you I dont think its imposible that he could get lucky, and with all the crap you see him go through you cant begrudge the character a little luck. Beyond this though John Rambo attacks when he has the advantage and then retreats when he doesnt and personally I feel that all of this gives the film a certain gritty realism I dont find in a lot of other action movies, its a real shame in my opinion that later films in this franchise lost there way in this regard (I am not saying they are bad films I enjoy them I just dont think they come close to the original).

The film makes you feel for Rambo, it makes you question the way he is treated, it makes you wonder if this is what it was really like for some of those returning from Vietnam (the sense of rejection not the personal one man wars) it keeps your sympathies very much on his side and this makes you want to root for him to see if he manages to come out of this alive. Its an intresting semi realistic story with a strong central character which really makes you stop and think and in a world full of films and shows that mostly let you sit there passivly gorging on them without ever engaging your brain this cant help but be a good thing. If you have spent your life under a rock and never seen Rambo or its just been a long time since you last saw it then I cant help but tell you to go get your hands on it and watch it as soon as possible.


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