In 1982, the first part of one of the most famous action film franchises arrived in American cinemas. made in us : Rambo. The film-show of an XXL manhunt, with, in the title role, a Sylvester Stallone that the public had already seen shine on the side of Rocky (1976).
Facing the camera of Ted Kotcheff, the star actor of the roles “big arms big muscles” has swapped the moist heat of the boxing glove for the metallic coldness of firearms. All while adopting an attitude that is a little crude and not subtle for a penny, which raises questions. With his quickdraw of bodybuilder adventurer with grim looks, the veteran John Rambo does not he incarnate, somewhere, the kéké par excellence?
Let us study the question, point by point.
1. Watch out, driver straight ahead!
Mayhem in Hope, a small town in Arkansas. A troublemaker has fun doing wild rodeo on a bike to the right, to the left. And too bad for the neighborhood. It chains the rear wheels. We could have hoped that the Highway Code would be better respected when our Rambo is driving a truck. Except no. Again, he has to do the daredevil. Speeding, fishtail… Nothing to save from this flashy. A public danger, they tell you.
2. Rambo loves big guns a bit too much
Already, the guy is walking around with a knife the length of a human shin. Not reassuring. But wait until you see him handling a machine gun. Show time. Rosary of ammunition harnessed to the pectorals, it bursts, it reloads, it knocks out. It’s simple: there is never enough. No mystery concerning the position of “Johnny” on the validity of the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which grants to every citizen the right to carry firearms. Clearly.
3. What is this survivalist delirium?
Loving camping is one thing. Going deep into the mountainous forest of Arkansas to lay traps and shoot game with stakes is another. We understood that you were a survivor, Rambo. Barbeque hunting, camouflage… No need to carry three tons.
Admittedly, the very mute and very brutal Rambo is not the kind of man one would spontaneously invite to family meals. Nor at weddings. Nor on birthdays. Or anything remotely resembling a social festivity, for that matter. But it’s like everything: it’s about contextualizing.
If our fellow turns into a war machine it’s because he lived through it, precisely, the war. Specifically that of Vietnam. A green beret decorated with the US Congressional Medal of Honor, Rambo suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The end of the film teaches us: seven years after his demobilization he still thinks, every day, of this friend who died before his eyes. Tortures, exchanges of fire. To hate.
While traveling to Arkansas to visit one of his comrades, Rambo is the victim of an arbitrary policeman whose violence awakens his fears. The sergeant hadn’t asked anyone. He was just wandering.
Lost in a civilian life where, in his words, “there is nothing”, despised by an America with pacifist impulses, the veteran no longer has any bearings. And finds himself trapped in spite of himself in a desperate guerrilla war which he will never stop repeating that he was not the initiator. Where the ex-soldier wanted to go in peace, he is forced into war – again. Pushed to his limits because threatened from all sides, Rambo has no choice but to defend himself.
Notable fact: while the Rambo of the novel The First Blood (David Morrell, 1972) on which the character of Sylvester Stallone is based was portrayed as a complete psychopath, slaughtering without mercy, the actor wanted to make changes to make him a more ambiguous personality. The victim of a conflict that was never his. The forever cracked heir to an unnamed barbarism. So, Rambo, model of beautiful attitude ? We are almost ashamed to have thought of it. Sorry, Sergeant.