First Blood (1982):
The majority of Stallone’s action movies are delightfully cheesy. First Blood not only isn’t corny, but is right up there with Rocky as one of Stallone’s best overall films. John Rambo (Stallone) is a Vietnam veteran with a chip on his shoulder. When some small town cops abuse him, he responds the only way he knows how — with violence. Also featuring Brian Dennehy and David Caruso (unfortunately, they couldn’t afford to play “Won’t Get Fooled Again”), First Blood is one of those rare action films where there are characters that are legitimately sympathetic, and it has a strong message about Vietnam War Veterans.
I’m going to get some criticism for this pick, but hey, it’s a pretty decent ‘80s action movie. Stallone is Lieutenant Marion “Cobra” Cobretti, a city cop who does not react to authority too well. When a serial killer is on the loose and hunting down a woman who witnessed one of his murders, it’s Cobra’s job to track him down. As it turns out, the killer is also the leader of a seedy cult, hell-bent on preparing themselves for the future “New World.” (It doesn’t make sense to me either, but how many cult teachings are logical?) Sure, the movie has its fair share of cheese, but there are some legitimately great action scenes on display, and Stallone saunters about with a playful attitude through the proceedings. You could do a lot worse for an ‘80s action flick.
It’s sad when a 21-year-old man like myself has to admit that a 64-year-old actor with droopy eyes could kick his ass. As emasculating as that thought is, Rambo turned the notion into fact. Ending the franchise on a perfect note after the dismal Rambo 3, Stallone wrote, directed and starred in this carnage-filled adventure. John Rambo has fallen off the grid, living a quiet life in a Thai village bordering Burma. A group of Christian missionaries are heading into Burma to try and give aid, so they assign Rambo the task of dropping them off. When he finds out that the crew was taken hostage, he reluctantly grabs his bow and arrow and starts killing. Do you know what happens when you cross Rambo? You get Stall-owned! I’ll let myself out.