10 Things You Might Not Know About RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II

Geek Dave lives day by day.

1. The man who wrote the original screenplay for what would become Rambo: First Blood Part II was James Cameron. Yes, James 'Terminator, Titanic, Avatar' Cameron. He wrote a first draft under the title First Blood II: The Mission. Cameron's script had the same basic structure of the first film but he gave Rambo a humorous sidekick. The producers allegedly wanted John Travolta to play Rambo's partner (Travolta had been considered for the role of John Rambo for First Blood, prior to Sly's casting), but Stallone vetoed the idea as he, allegedly, didn't like that the sidekick got all the cool dialogue.

2. At the time of working on the script, Cameron hadn't even started filming The Terminator, so his name didn't really carry much weight. Stallone, on the other hand, had solid successes behind him, with both First Blood and three Rocky films, so as well as vetoing the sidekick Stallone essentially tore his script to bits.

Cameron had fleshed out the prisoners of war with elaborate backstories that were to be revealed over the course of the film. Stallone cut most of the POW's backstories to the point where Cameron claimed that "they might as well have gotten to the jungle to pick up a six-pack of beer". When the film was released, the political content of the movie was considered controversial, with many feeling that the Vietnam War was altered to look and sound heroic. Cameron, now post-Terminator success, was quick to comment that he only wrote the action scenes, and that Stallone wrote the politics!

3. Clearly no love has been lost between Stallone and Cameron, as some years later Sly recalled,
I think that James Cameron is a brilliant talent, but I thought the politics were important, such as a right-wing stance coming from Trautman and his nemesis, Murdock, contrasted by Rambo's obvious neutrality, which I believe is explained in Rambo's final speech. I realize his speech at the end may have caused millions of viewers to burst veins in their eyeballs by rolling them excessively, but the sentiment stated was conveyed to me by many veterans. ... [Also] in [Cameron's] original draft it took nearly 30-40 pages to have any action initiated and Rambo was partnered with a tech-y sidekick. So it was more than just politics that were put into the script. There was also a simpler story line. If James Cameron says anything more than that, then he realizes he's now doing the backstroke badly in a pool of lies

4. One more thing about James Cameron's original screenplay is that it began with Colonel Trautman finding Rambo in a psychiatric hospital instead of a prison. Stallone again vetoed this. Cameron went on to resurrect the psychiatric hospital concept in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

5. Remarkably this film has a great deal of foundation in fact. In the early 1980s US Delta Force commandos prepared for a possible mission to rescue US prisoners of war held in Southeast Asia just as they do under Colonel Trautman. However their efforts were stymied by Colonel Bo Gritz, like John Rambo a much decorated former Green Beret and Vietnam War veteran, who launched his own abortive attempts to stage a private rescue raid. A subsequent government inquiry headed by Senators/Vietnam veterans Bob Smith, John Kerry and John McCain (himself a former POW who was held and tortured for 5 years) concluded there were no prisoners left behind and vilified individuals perpetuating the idea as attempting to defraud desperate families.

6. Two fun facts surrounding Rambo's stats, as given in the film:
Rambo, John J., born 7/6/47 Bowie, Arizona of Indian-German descent. Joined army 8/6/64. Accepted, Special Forces specialization, light weapons, cross-trained as medic. Helicopter and language qualified, 59 confirmed kills, two Silver Stars, four Bronze, four Purple Hearts, Distinguished Service Cross, Medal of Honor.
Firstly, Rambo's birthday is the same as Sylvester Stallone's, only one year out (Stallone was born July 6th 1946). Secondly, Rambo has 59 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War. However, during Rambo: First Blood Part II he kills 74 people over the course of two days. So, in two days, Rambo kills more people than his whole time in the war.

7. It never ceases to amaze me just how movie studios manage to find licensing deals for the most unusual things. Rambo: First Blood Part II is no exception as you could (and indeed still can) purchase officially licensed hunting knives from the film.

Yep, this Christmas why not get that special unhinged someone their own hunting/survival knife! This is no plastic replica, oh no, it's a full-on slit-your-throat stainless steel blade which has saw teeth on the top and a Bowie clip point. Just like Rambo's, most of the blade is painted black. The knife is 15 3/8 inches long overall with a 10 inch, 1/4 inch thick 420 J2 stainless steel blade.

8. After the ambush, as Co Bao (played by Julia Nickson) died in Rambo's arms, there was originally a triple zoom-in shot while Sylvester Stallone screams "No!", echoed 3 times. During test screenings, audience started laughing at this point, so it was re-edited for the released version.

9. During filming, special effects man Clifford P Wenger, Jr. was accidentally killed by one of the film's explosions. The movie was dedicated to him.

10. Rambo: First Blood Part II opened in the US on May 22nd 1985 in a then-record 2,074 theaters (it was the first film in the US to be shown on over 2,000 screens). Overall, internationally the film grossed $300,400,432 on a $25.5 million budget, and to this day is the only entry in the Rambo series of films to be nominated for an Academy Award (for Best Sound Editing!).

10 Things You Might Not Know About FIRST BLOOD

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