"First Blood" (1982) Bluray (DVD version), which was based upon the novel of the same name by David Morrell and was the first of the "Rambo" film franchise.
Unlike its sequels, which were nothing more that Hollywood fluff action
films that tried to trade off its good name, this film represents a
stark character study of a generation of forgotten men, who dutifully
served their country when it called, only to be rebuffed as outcasts
when they finally returned by a traitorous and shameful society. As
such, critics were and still are far more kind to this first film, and,
in truth, it is one of the only Stallone films that is or ever was worth
a damn. Personally, knowing his idiotic views on the 2nd Amendment, I
find it difficult to watch him profit off films where he has a gun in
his hand; still, "First Blood" really is good.
The film opens with John J. Rambo trying to visit a brother-in-arms,
whom her served with in Vietnam, only to discover his friend has died as
the result of Cancer from Agent Orange exposure. Then, enter a
disagreeable small-town sheriff, who tries to run him out of town as a
vagrant (for no better reason than that he doesn't like the looks of
him), rather than giving him the basic respect he deserves as a Veteran;
and actually arrests him for vagrancy when he refuses to leave. Even if
the lack of respect for a man who served his country weren't already
bad enough, this film ought to be part of the training for incoming law
enforcement officers on just what a bad idea it is to strong arm and
mistreat a person in your custody who has already obviously been through
the ringer and is carrying both physical and mental scars to prove it.
It isn't long before Mr. Rambo slips his bonds and the incompetent cops
have a manhunt on their hands, going up against a man who turns out to
be a former Special Forces operator. Needless to say, it's a bad day for
them, and they deserve it.
From a preparedness and wilderness survival standpoint, there are
lessons to be made note of. He's shirtless when he escapes into the
woods, so he makes himself a poncho out of an old tarp foraged from what
appears to be an abandoned logging-camp and ties it around his waist
with cordage he, likewise, foraged; he creates diversions using what
amounts to a scare-crow that resembles him from a distance and in
low-visibility; and, he constructs Vietcong-esque booby-traps beneath
the dense Pacific Northwest forest canopy. He also utilizes an old,
long-abandoned mineshaft for shelter, and kills a wild pig for food with
a spear fashioned out of a fallen tree limb and his survival knife.
The knife he carries, itself, is one of the only troubling aspects of
the film. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't around during those
times. I'm too young. I have a hard time, however, buying that a knife
with a hollow hilt could have possibly been standard military issue for
Special Forces operators. Don't get me wrong, I can see the usefulness
of having a tiny survival kit stowed-away in the hilt of a knife; but,
because the tang of the blade doesn't extend down through the handle,
the knife would be inherently weak and prone to have the blade snap off
during rugged use. Maybe I'm wrong, but those knives always felt like a
gimmick to me.
A very good film, in my opinion, and a worthy addition to any Prepper / Survivalist Doomer Fiction movie library.