If you've noticed an influx of Sylvester Stallone movies on cable these past couple weeks, it's no coincidence. With The Expendables 2 still going strong in theaters, cable networks have been digging into their Stallone vaults to capitalize on your desire to watch Stallone kick lots of ass. IFC, for example, aired a Rambo marathon over the weekend, allowing us to catch up with one of our favorite old-school action franchises. However, there were two scenes in Rambo: First Blood Part II that had us scratching our heads, wondering if these throwaway character moments are what helped inspire the number one movie at the box office over two decades later.
In the second Rambo movie, war vet John Rambo is released from prison and sent on a covert mission back to Vietnam to rescue POWs. As any true sequel should, First Blood Part II ups the action considerably, as Rambo blasts his shirtless way through the jungle. He's assisted in his rescue efforts by an agent on the inside named Co-Bao (Julia Nickson), and at two points during the film the idea of a soldier being expendable is brought up. Watch both scenes below.
Originally we wondered whether these scenes helped inspire The Expendables not realizing that Stallone has said previously that they are indeed the source of his inspiration for the current action franchise (thanks to Matt Singer for the heads up and the video).
This aspect of the character's emotional and psychological trauma may also be a taste of what James Cameron helped add to the movie. Cameron wrote the first draft for Rambo: First Blood Part II, but when all was said and done they wound up cutting out most of Cameron's character drama and leaving in a lot of the action.
Speaking about his draft back in 1986 to The Hollywood Reporter, Cameron said, "Well, I came rather late to that. I actually thought the first one was a pretty good film. That's what attracted me to the second one, the underdog story. I was kind of fascinated by Vietnam at that point and what a weird and surreal kind of war that was. So my approach to it was a lot heavier, a lot more character. I just ran into Sly (Stallone) recently, and he was saying that when he looks back on it -- although he doesn't have any regrets -- in a way he wished he could have done the script that I wrote because they did wind up throwing out about the first half of it. They kept a lot of the action. They just kind of made it a Mission: Impossible thing -- for me it took on kind of a superhero-type quality. I thought it was much more interesting to kind of explore this traumatized character. Maybe I'll get to use that stuff somewhere else. I used a bit of it in Aliens, having them come back from something they were traumatized by. There was a bit of that delayed stress syndrome stuff in Aliens they didn't use in Rambo II."
For those interested, you can read James Cameron's draft for First Blood II: The Mission here. Rambo: First Blood Part II is available to watch now via iTunes and Amazon.
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