Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

R | 93 mins | Adventure | 22 May 1985

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HISTORY

The end credits included the following acknowledgements: “A special thanks to Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland N.V. for making it all possible" and "This film is dedicated to the memory of Cliff Wenger, Jr., Special Effects Man, and Our Friend."
       On 9 Mar 1983, DV reported that Carolco partners Andy Vajna and Mario Cassar were back at the American Film Market and had pre-sold the foreign distribution rights for the First Blood sequel for delivery Christmas 1984. Germany and France sold first while Japan and England followed shortly after.
       Screen International announced on 23 Jun 1984 that 3,000 promotional trailers for the Rambo sequel were being distributed to venues throughout the U.S. and key foreign markets a full year before the scheduled release date of the film in late 1985. It also meant that Stallone filmed the trailer for the feature far in advance of the August 1 start date.
       On 29 Aug 1984, DV reported that the $21 million Rambo sequel would need more than 3,000 extras in the course of filming on location in Acapulco.
       A 3 Sep 1984 People article stated that principle filming would start in Mexico. The production was originally supposed to film in Thailand but a location change was made when Stallone couldn’t coexist with the insect-laden terrain. Producer Vajna denied that insects were an issue, saying that financial and travel considerations had initiated the change.
       On 1 Dec 1984, the LAT reported that special effects man Cliff Wenger, Jr. had accidentally fallen to his death after checking a waterfall explosion while filming ... More Less

The end credits included the following acknowledgements: “A special thanks to Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland N.V. for making it all possible" and "This film is dedicated to the memory of Cliff Wenger, Jr., Special Effects Man, and Our Friend."
       On 9 Mar 1983, DV reported that Carolco partners Andy Vajna and Mario Cassar were back at the American Film Market and had pre-sold the foreign distribution rights for the First Blood sequel for delivery Christmas 1984. Germany and France sold first while Japan and England followed shortly after.
       Screen International announced on 23 Jun 1984 that 3,000 promotional trailers for the Rambo sequel were being distributed to venues throughout the U.S. and key foreign markets a full year before the scheduled release date of the film in late 1985. It also meant that Stallone filmed the trailer for the feature far in advance of the August 1 start date.
       On 29 Aug 1984, DV reported that the $21 million Rambo sequel would need more than 3,000 extras in the course of filming on location in Acapulco.
       A 3 Sep 1984 People article stated that principle filming would start in Mexico. The production was originally supposed to film in Thailand but a location change was made when Stallone couldn’t coexist with the insect-laden terrain. Producer Vajna denied that insects were an issue, saying that financial and travel considerations had initiated the change.
       On 1 Dec 1984, the LAT reported that special effects man Cliff Wenger, Jr. had accidentally fallen to his death after checking a waterfall explosion while filming Rambo: First Blood Part II . As Wenger went across some slippery rocks to make sure that there was no fire left from the explosion at the top of the waterfall, he slipped and fell to his death. After about five minutes, other crewmembers retrieved his body at the bottom of the waterfall. The death was blamed on multiple head fractures and possible drowning.
       According to a 21 May 1985, HR article, the Rambo sequel set an exhibition record when it opened at 2,074 theaters. The previous record was set by Beverly Hills Cop (see entry) in 2,010 theaters.
       A18 Jul 1985 LAHExam article stated that “Rambo is also America’s newest licensing phenomenon.”
       On 14 Jul 1985, the Washington Post reported that D.C. area-weapon and hunting stores were bombarded by customers looking for the 10-inch survival knife used by Sylvester Stallone as Rambo. Stores that sold models with smaller blades reported an uptick in sales. Before the two movies, Donald Blatcher, manager of Remington Shavers and Knives in Wash., D.C., sold one survival knife a month. After, he averaged 50 knives a month.
       Jimmy Lile, known as the “Arkansas Knifesmith,” designed the knives used in Stallone’s movies. Each knife was made to order. “The First Blood knife sold for $580 and the Rambo knife sold for $760…Stallone were credited with doing for the cutlery industry what Dirty Harry did for the .44 Magnum pistol.”
       In an 18 Jul 1985 article, the LAHExam reported that Rambo merchandising showed no signs of slowing down. Stores would do brisk business selling cap guns, electronic guns, trading cards, bubble gum, comic books, coloring books, games, pinball and computer games. A Rambo comic strip was also created. It was also noted that Stephen J. Cannell Productions was handling Rambo merchandising efforts for the film’s producers.
       According to a 19 Jul 1985 article in the LADN , Rambo posters were selling like hot cakes. Joe Angard, executive vice president of One Stop Posters in L.A., said that “it takes sales of 50,000 posters for a company to break even on its product.” At the time of the article, more than 600,000 posters of Rambo had been sold.
       On 23 Jul 1985, the LAT noted that toy stores would be stocking Rambo action figures, play sets, water guns, walkie-talkies, watches, pinball machines, and sportswear for all ages. Later in the summer, the shelves would fill with a two-foot-long machine-gun water pistol and a 5 ¾-inch Rambo action figure that came with pants, shirt, bow and arrows and automatic rifles. All the more surprising because Rambo was rated R and not supposed to be for kids.
       Angry Vietnam veterans from the Veteran’s Speakers Alliance picketed the Rambo sequel in San Francisco, according to a 25 Jul 1985 LADN story. Veterans said the film was psychologically preparing youths to go to war and glamorizing the Vietnam conflict. The alliance also criticized Stallone for portraying himself as a spokesman for all Vietnam vets.
       On 26 Jul – 1 Aug 1985 Movieline magazine and KMET94.7 radio station sponsored a Rambo: First Blood Part II trivia contest. Contestants had to answer 10 true or false questions to win a trip to the Bahamas for two. Some of the questions were: Rambo’s full name [Henry Abercrombie III], the marking on the Vietnamese gun boat which Rambo blows up [BK17] and the threatening message Rambo gives Murdock over the short wave radio [“Murdock, I’m coming to get you.”]
       A 4 Aug 1985 Daily News article commented that the novel First Blood written by David Morrell was adapted for the screen by screenwriters Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim and Q. Moonblood. When it came time for the sequel, James Cameron and Sylvester Stallone both worked on the script using Morrell’s characters again. Morell was then hired to write the paperback novelization of the screenplay, which “wound up on several bestseller lists, including the New York Times .”
       On 14 Aug 1985 DV noted that Rambo was one of the few R-rated films that had wide appeal to merchandise licensees. The W. Hartford, Conn.-based Coleco Industries, manufacturers the Cabbage Patch doll, “acquired worldwide rights to manufacture Rambo dolls bearing the likeness of Stallone’s movie character.” The company paid a six-figure advance against royalties, which ranged from 5-10% of the undisclosed wholesale price of the doll. The item retailed for under $10.
       A summer 1985 Rambo Special magazine said that, in the filming of the Rambo sequel, Acapulco became home base and various locations in the Mexican jungles were used to stand-in for the mountainous terrain of Vietnam. Another major location was a tropical lagoon 12 miles from Acapulco with the ocean on one side and the bay on the other that served for the sequence where Rambo escapes on a pirate sampan and is attacked by a river patrol boat.
       During production, six-day workweeks were typical, and temperatures hovered between 95 to 100 degrees with humidity to match, taxing the crew’s energy.
       The demolition of the Vietnamese prison camp by Rambo, swooping down in a captured UHIB chopper was captured by four cameras, including one camera filming from another helicopter.
       To achieve the desired effect of mass destruction, the sequence required 300 gallons of gasoline, 200 pounds of black powder, 5,000 feet of primer cord and 15,000 feet of wire to set the charges off on command.
       On 2 Aug 1985 the HR stated that in the 68 days since its release the Rambo sequel had earned $134.9 million. Screen International reported on 31 Aug 1985 that Rambo: First Blood Part II had grossed close to $150 million and was expected to gross $300 million worldwide.
       A 18 Sep 1985 HR article said that First Blood author David Morrell had filed a lawsuit stating that the film’s producers had “failed to pay him his full share of both films’ net profits.” The suit charged that Carolco accounting reports “substantially and falsely underreported the true amount of net profits’ made by the two films, including the omission of merchandising income.” Morrell was seeking $1 million in damages and $1 million in punitive damages along with an injunction against further exploitation of the use of the copyright of his story.
       A 4 Jan 1986 article in the Daily News reported that Soviet cultural officials and artists banded together to denounce Rocky IV and Rambo: First Blood Part II for their stereotypical portrayal “of Russians as cruel and treacherous.” Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko criticized movies like Stallone’s as a form of pornography.
       The LAT reported on 20 Feb 1986, that India had banned Rambo: First Blood Part II from its screens due to the movie’s anti-Soviet and anti-Vietnamese sentiment.
       Even after its extraordinary monetary success, a 24 Mar 1986 LADN article reported that Sylvester Stallone was a big winner at the annual Golden Raspberry Awards, honors given for the year’s worst achievements in film. Stallone was awarded the worst actor award for his work in Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV (see entry). He also took the worst director award for Rocky IV and was co-winner of the worst screenplay for Rambo: First Blood Part II . The previous year, Stallone won the worst actor award for Rhinestone (see entry), giving him a lifetime and record-breaking total of four Razzies, surpassing the previous multiple Razzie winners, Bo Derek and Pia Zadora. Rambo: First Blood Part II also earned worst film and worst song Razzies.
       On the financial front, the HR stated 21 Nov 1986 that producer Stephen J. Cannell filed a suit claiming breach of contract in connection with merchandising rights to the Rambo sequel. His company sought $65 million in damages. Similarly, DV reported on the same day that the Cannell suit charged that Carolco had attempted to lower or eliminate the 20% sales fee from the gross of Rambo merchandising and publications that the company said it was entitled to under an oral agreement made in February 1985.
       A 7 Mar 1995 HR article noted that screenwriter Jim Cameron was assigned to pen the First Blood sequel when his script for The Terminator (see entry) was making the rounds as a writing sample in 1982. He said he took the assignment to see what it felt like to be a hired gun without the hope of directing. Stallone did extensive rewrites on Cameron’s script, however producer Vajna admitted that the basic skeleton of the story was Cameron’s.
       As noted in a 20 Jan 2008 LAT article, writer John Mueller actually stopped to do a body count of all four Rambo movies. Here’s the tally for Rambo: First Blood Part II :
•       Number of bad guys killed by Rambo with his shirt on …….12
•       Number of bad guys killed by Rambo with his shirt off……..46
•       Number of people killed per minute………………………….......0.72      
•       Point when first person is killed (min:secs)…………………....33.34
•       Number of people killed thereafter per minute until
the end of the film (not including the credits)…………………........1.18
•       Number of sequences in which good guys are tortured
by bad guys …………………………………………………....................0

More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Mar 1983.
---
Daily Variety
29 Aug 1984.
---
Daily Variety
14 Aug 1985.
---
Daily Variety
21 Nov 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 1985.
p. 3, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1995.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
1 Dec 1984.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
19 Jul 1985.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
23 Jul 1985.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
25 Jul 1985.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
24 Mar 1986.
---
Los Angeles Herald Express
18 Jul 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Dec 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 May 1985.
p. 1, 6.
Los Angeles Times
23 Jul 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Feb 1986.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Jan 2008.
---
Movieline
26 Jul - Aug 1985.
---
New York Daily News
4 Aug 1985.
---
New York Daily News
4 Jan 1986.
---
New York Times
22 May 1985.
p. 23.
People
3 Sep 1984.
---
Screen International
23 Jun 1984.
---
Variety
22 May 1985.
p. 14.
Washington Post
14 Jul 1985.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna present
A George P. Cosmatos Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr/1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Dir, Helicopter unit
Prod mgr, Mexican prod crew
1st asst dir, Mexican prod crew
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
1st asst cam
Chief gaffer
Key grip
Best boy grip
Still photog
Photog, Helicopter unit
Chief grip, Mexican prod crew
Dolly grip, Mexican prod crew
Gaffer, Mexican prod crew
Cranes and dollies by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Illustrator
Art dir, Mexican prod crew
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst film ed, Mexican prod crew
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const coord
Set painter
Greensman
Set dec, Mexican prod crew
Prop master, Mexican prod crew
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus rec consultant
Digital keyboards by
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Sd mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Dolby stereo consultant
Sound re-rec at
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff man, Mexican prod crew
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Make-up created by
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Make-up, Mexican prod crew
Hair stylist, Mexican prod crew
Hair stylist, Mexico
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting by
Loc mgr
Prod asst
Weapons specialist
Casting assoc
Scr supv
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Driver capt
Driver capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Crew, Helicopter unit
Crew, Helicopter unit
Crew, Helicopter unit
Crew, Helicopter unit
Crew, Helicopter unit
Crew, Helicopter unit
Pilot, Helicopter unit
Pilot, Helicopter unit
Pilot, Helicopter unit
Pilot, Helicopter unit
Mechanic, Helicopter unit
Mechanic, Helicopter unit
Mechanic, Helicopter unit
Mechanic, Helicopter unit
Prod controller
Prod accountant
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Prod coord
Prod coord
Prod secy
Asst to exec prod
Asst to exec prod
Asst to exec prod
Asst to Mr. Stallone
Prod asst
Prod asst
Mexican production services by
Casting, Mexican prod crew
Prod accountant, Mexican prod crew
Prod secy, Mexican prod crew
Tech adv
Security
Security
Body building coach
Knife designed by
Firearms provided by
Archery equipment, special accessories and coachin
Bow designed specially for "Rambo: First Blood Par
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by David Morrell.
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Peace in Our Life," ©1985 Anabasis Music (BMI) and Elcajo Productions, Inc. (BMI), music by Frank Stallone, Peter Schless, Jerry Goldsmith, lyrics by Frank Stallone, sung by Frank Stallone.
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 May 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 22 May 1985
Copyright Claimant:
Anabasis Investments, N.V.
Copyright Date:
3 June 1985
Copyright Number:
PA246925
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Technicolor®
Lenses/Prints
Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27558
SYNOPSIS

As they talk through the chain link fence of a hard labor camp, Col. Trautman tells John Rambo that the military wants his help with a covert mission, doing reconnaissance on a supposed Vietnamese P.O.W. camp holding American soldiers. His reward: A presidential pardon. Rambo agrees but as Trautman walks away, he asks if the Americans get to win this time around? Trautman tells him it all depends on how well he succeeds. Rambo is briefed at a base of operations in Thailand. Murdock, the man in charge, explains that 2500 American soldiers are still missing, and Congress wants them found and returned to their families. Rambo quickly realizes that Murdock is not to be trusted when he lies about leading troops and losing men in Vietnam in an area that is geographically incorrect. He’s also disappointed that he is being asked to take photographs not to rescue soldiers. Rambo packs twin miniature knives that fit in his belt, stocks up on bullets, loads film in a camera, packs metal arrows in a quiver, snaps explosive tips in a plastic case and a menacing 10-inch survival knife is sharpened and locked down in a leather holster on his thigh. Rambo has 36 hours to complete the mission. While he prepares, Murdock demonstrates that he has no emotional connection to Vietnam. Once the plane flies over the target, Rambo makes the jump but his equipment gets caught and he’s dragged along the side of the plane. A soldier on board tries to free him but cannot loosen the straps. Rambo cuts himself free, losing most of his equipment in the process. Apprised of the situation, Murdock wants to ... +


As they talk through the chain link fence of a hard labor camp, Col. Trautman tells John Rambo that the military wants his help with a covert mission, doing reconnaissance on a supposed Vietnamese P.O.W. camp holding American soldiers. His reward: A presidential pardon. Rambo agrees but as Trautman walks away, he asks if the Americans get to win this time around? Trautman tells him it all depends on how well he succeeds. Rambo is briefed at a base of operations in Thailand. Murdock, the man in charge, explains that 2500 American soldiers are still missing, and Congress wants them found and returned to their families. Rambo quickly realizes that Murdock is not to be trusted when he lies about leading troops and losing men in Vietnam in an area that is geographically incorrect. He’s also disappointed that he is being asked to take photographs not to rescue soldiers. Rambo packs twin miniature knives that fit in his belt, stocks up on bullets, loads film in a camera, packs metal arrows in a quiver, snaps explosive tips in a plastic case and a menacing 10-inch survival knife is sharpened and locked down in a leather holster on his thigh. Rambo has 36 hours to complete the mission. While he prepares, Murdock demonstrates that he has no emotional connection to Vietnam. Once the plane flies over the target, Rambo makes the jump but his equipment gets caught and he’s dragged along the side of the plane. A soldier on board tries to free him but cannot loosen the straps. Rambo cuts himself free, losing most of his equipment in the process. Apprised of the situation, Murdock wants to abort the mission but Trautman talks him out of it. On the ground, Rambo races to meet his contact near the suspected camp. He pulls out his survival knife and grabs a Vietnamese person wearing a native straw hat. It’s a woman who calls him by name and says in Vietnamese that she’s Co, his ground contact. At the river, a pirate boat waits to take them to the camp. When Rambo asks how he protects his cargo from patrol boats, the captain pulls up a seat and shows him a rocket launcher stored below. Co and Rambo reach shore and head toward the suspected P.O.W. camp. Co thinks it’s empty but then a call girl rides up on a scooter and a guard waves her in. Rambo decides to change the game plan. He traipses around the camp’s grounds avoiding guards as he goes. He hears moaning and sees a shack filled with ill and starving American soldiers. Further on, he stumbles upon an American soldier lashed to stalks of bamboo and frees him but the soldier’s coughing alerts the guards. They meet up with Co, killing many guards along the way and head toward the river, escaping on the pirate boat. Suddenly, when a patrol boat comes up the river, the pirate crew turns their guns on the passengers. Rambo uses the miniature knives to disarm one pirate, using him as a human shield when the captain shoots at him. Now armed, Rambo blows away the crew with help from Co. She and the P.O.W. jump off the boat to safety. The patrol boat sprays the pirate boat with machine gun fire. Rambo crawls and fires the rocket launcher at the patrol boat, killing the crew. He’s about to jump when one last pirate grabs him by the throat, strangling him. The crewless patrol boat heads straight for Rambo. He grabs his survival knife and plunges it into the pirate’s stomach. The pirate lets go and Rambo jumps just before the patrol boat rams in to the pirate boat and blows it up. The camp guards launch a series of rockets at the Americans as they race to the pickup zone. Trautman spots Rambo from the air. When Murdock finds out Rambo has a P.O.W. with him, he tells Trautman to abort the rescue. If Trautman disobeys orders, one of Murdock’s foot soldiers will shoot him in the head. Rambo gives a disgusted look as the helicopter flies away, paving the way for his capture by the Vietnamese. A Russian commander, Lt. Col. Petrofsky, interrogates Rambo. The Colonel wants him to radio his superiors that he has been captured for spying. Rambo won’t cooperate so he is given painful electric shocks. At the front gate, Co, disguised as a call girl, gains admittance. Searching, she finds Rambo’s quiver. Petrofsky increases the shocks but nothing works until he threatens to take out the P.O.W.’s eye with a red-hot blade so Rambo agrees to make the radio call. Laboring to get the words out, he threatens Murdock with revenge. Then, like greased lightning he knocks out a couple of Petrofsky’s men, grabs a knife and leaps out the window. Outside, he grabs a machine gun, finds Co and they flee, followed on foot and by air. They stop by a stream as the shooting stops. Rambo says his plan is to go to Thailand and then back to America, Co asks if she can go with him. They kiss. He agrees but no sooner do they start walking, when Co is hit with a volley of bullets. Rambo sprays the guards with machine gun fire. He grabs Co in his arms. She asks him not to forget her and dies. In the jungle, Rambo ties Co’s jade good luck necklace around his neck. Like a cat, Rambo weaves in and around the Russian soldiers. He’s a one-man killing machine. Running through a local village, Rambo slaughters a chicken and leaves a trail of blood. The guards follow it in to the brush where Rambo starts a fire. As the fire spreads, Rambo attaches an explosive tip to one of his arrows. And another. And another. Soon the village is a raging inferno. One of Petrofsky’s men shows up in a helicopter dropping explosives and bullets, sending Rambo to the bottom of the lake for cover. As the helicopter hovers close to the water’s edge, Rambo rises from the depths, knocking out Russian soldiers and climbing in, where he’s locked in combat with a soldier. At one point, his head hangs out of the helicopter while he’s being choked. He reaches up pressing on the enemy’s windpipe and sends him flying out the helicopter. The pilot sees Rambo’s survival knife and also jumps out of the helicopter. Rambo pilots the helicopter back to the P.O. W. camp to destroy it. Next he frees the P.O.W.s and herds them onto the helicopter. Petrofsky arrives in a Russian Tiger helicopter with machine guns firing. The helicopter with the Americans in it spins out control. As Petrofsky flies over a ridge, he sees Rambo slumped over the controls of the helicopter grounded in the lake, but spends one minute too long savoring his victory. Rambo leaps up, breaks the windshield with a missile launcher and shoots the Russian out of the sky. With that, he contacts base camp to tell them he’s about to make an emergency landing with P.O.W.s on board. Murdock is worried when he hears the news. Rambo lands the damaged helicopter and grabs the machine gun and several rounds of ammunition. He stops in the communications room and takes out all the equipment with a barrage of bullets. He pulls back a curtain to find Murdock in the next room. Sweating profusely, Murdock babbles an apology. Rambo pulls out his survival knife, grabs Murdock by the shirt and throws him down on the table. As he jams the knife into the table next to Murdock’s head, he says, “Mission accomplished.” He threatens Murdock that he’ll come after him if he doesn’t do his job and find the other P.O.W.s that are still missing. On the airfield, Trautman says Rambo will get another Medal of Honor for his heroism but he says it’s the P.O.W.s that deserve it more.

+

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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