Guilty as charged. Yes, it is true… until now, I had never seen any of the Rambo films. Sure, these films are all now somewhat dated, but they sure are fun to watch.
Rambo: First Blood – Sylvester Stallone stars as ex-Green Beret John Rambo, a shell-shocked Vietnam vet adrift in the Pacific Northwest. Harassment by an unsympathetic small-town sheriff brings on nasty flashbacks of torture at the hands of the Viet Cong; after busting out of the jail where he has …een unjustly imprisoned, our psychically-scarred hero vows to get revenge on the ungrateful sheriff. Before blowing the sheriff and his town away, however, Rambo must use his jungle smarts to elude the relentless posse of state troopers and National Guardsmen who pursue him through the forest.
Rambo: First Blood Part II – A former Green Beret is sent to Vietnam to aid in the rescue of American G.I.’s still held captive. This sequel to the blockbuster RAMBO continues to capture the imaginations of millions of viewers and garnered an Academy Award Nomination for Best Sound Effects Editing.
Rambo III – “RAMBO III is set in 1988, near the end of the Soviet Union’s involvement there. At the beginning of the film, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is living a secluded life in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand. When Rambo’s close friend and mentor from the American military, Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna), asks for Rambo’s help with a top-secret mission in Afghanistan, Rambo declines. Trautman goes in anyway and is captured by a ruthless Russian commander. In response, Rambo leaves his peaceful life, determined to rescue Trautman.
Featuring brand new DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, I expected these films to fill the soundstage more then they did. This is not to say that these discs sound bad, that is far from the truth, but the audio is more dominate in the front channels rather then the rears. Dialog sound great, the left-right sound movement is good, and the surround activity is average. All-in-all, these films sound very good for their age.
Artisan did a wonderful job re-mastering the video for this Special Edition Box Set release. Comparing the original trailers to the final transfers, you can really tell where the picture started, and where it ended. It is rare to find film, up to 20 years old, look this clean. The transfers on all three films are free from almost all print damage, edge enhancements, and pixilation.
Let me start by saying that the packaging is some of the nicest I have seen from Artisan. The metal slip-case cover is nicely embossed on the cover, and the basic DVD packaging is very similar to the box set of Twin Peaks Season One. My only issue with the packaging is that the metal case is VERY easy to scratch and dent… oh well, that is the price you have to pay for cool casing.
Not only does this collection contain director commentaries for all three films, but it also contain many more special features. Included are a slew of documentaries and featurettes… focusing on everything from the Vietnam War, to the marketing of the films, to behind-the-scenes of every aspect of all three films. These discs will take hours to sort through; some features are great, some are good, others are lame. Also included are a Rambo game (with great bloody action sequences mixed in) and many trailers. All-in-all, fabulous features!
Lastly, how could I not mention the new trailer for the forthcoming Reservoir Dogs – Special Limited Edition DVD. This disc looks good… complete with a re-mastered Widescreen transfer, DTS and DD 5.1 audio, and a Behind-the-scenes Documentary.
This is a wonderful collection of the Rambo films. From the packaging, to the video, audio, and special features, this set is nothing but quality. If you are a fan of action, your collection should not be without this set.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- 6 Documentaries
- 7 Featurettes
- Rambo Game