1985 — “Rambo: First Blood Part 2” premieres

As sequels go, it’s hard to find one that twists the message of its original installment quite as much as “Rambo: First Blood Part 2”. “First Blood” was a film about a Vietnam veteran who had no place in an America that wanted to pretend that war had never happened. It had more in common with films like “Deliverance” or “Southern Comfort” than it did with its own sequels.

In “Rambo: First Blood Part 2”, there’s no subtlety, no subtext. Eschewing the suspense and psychological aspects of the first film, it’s unashamedly triumphalist, and was one of the major sources of the myth that there were still American POWs in Vietnam. It was, of course, vastly more commercially successful than the first film, and made Sylvester Stallone an A list actor in Hollywood.

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