Well this one was a bit of a surprise, Phil’s choice for Thursday was Rambo First Blood (1982), a blast from his past. I have never been a Rambo fan, Sly never did it for me, too many bulging veins and his face is a bit too wonky, (nice hair though) but this is the deal, Phil does Thursdays, I do Saturdays. So in we went, tooled up with some beverages, and me ready for a rampage through the jungle. Except it wasn’t, that’s Rambo 2 or 4 or maybe 5, this one is the story of when John Rambo returns to America from Viet Nam, goes to visit an old comrade who has since died, and on walking away then gets picked up by the big bad Sherriff played brilliantly by Brian Dennehey. Things go bad quite rapidly, the Sherriff is a meanie and arrests him, the cops at the station treat Rambo like a piece of poop, Rambo is suffering from wartime flashbacks, and PTSD so bad-a-boom it all kicks off. Lots of fighting, survival stuff, some fantastic explosions, and then the unexpected ending, which really made the film for me (and which I’d love to spoil but someone somewhere might be living under a rock when they read this). Mixed views from the critics, but it won at the box office.
Sly did OK, he looked the part and grunted well, Dehenney was great, and though Richard Crenna in the part of Rambo’s old army boss Trautman won lots of praise for his performance, Phil thought he came across cartoonish, but I could apply that to quite a bit of the film.
Fun Fact: in a 2011 article for Blade Magazine by Mike Carter credit is given to the Rambo franchise for revitalizing the cutlery industry in the 1980s; due to the presence of the Jimmy Lile and Gil Hibben knives used in the films. (wiki)
I really enjoyed it, our version is a remastered one on bluray, but it still looked old school analogue, and if nothing else it shows how far action movies have come since 1982.
Onwards to Saturday, and while we have got to the end of the Marvel movies until the next phase begins, we can always go back to DC movies, and in this particular case, the best one yet. Wonder Woman (2017). Gal Gadot takes the title role, and she is just wow, drop dead gorgeous, fit as a duck, and can really act too. Chris Pine is the hero and he’s quite nice to look at too, but this is Wonder Womans movie, and it’s in my top 2 Superhero movies of all time so far.
The plot is ridiculous, of course it is, there are badass wonderful Amazon ladies, a bad Greek God, funny- haha spy type people, and a mad woman poisoner, not your average movie characters. But Superhero movies are not really about plots, like James Bond movies are not, there are goodies and baddies and the goodies win. Wonder Woman is set in World War 1, and Phil was impressed with how they filmed the trenches, and the accuracy of German WW1 uniforms ( 🙄🤣 ) London was done really well, they made it look like London in wartime, and we paused on the long shot to see all the detail of what was going on.
Gal Gadot shines, you can easily believe in her as Wonder Woman for a couple of hours, she underwent a diet and training regimen for the part, practiced different martial arts and gained 17 pounds of muscle for the role. Originally cast in Justice League, with Batman et al, Gadot got a bit of backlash from the ‘fans’ about her appearance, 😳 but Zach Snyder the director defended his choice well when he said Gadot “is strong, she’s beautiful, and she’s a kind person, which is interesting, but fierce at the same time. It’s that combination of being fierce but kind at the same time that we were looking for”. Gal Gadot pulls that off with great aplomb.
Well directed, well acted, beautifully filmed and a fab score by Rupert Gregson-Williams, what’s not to love?