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Original ‘Rambo’ Trilogy Now on 4K UHD Blu-ray

As an old-school action film, and as someone especially excited about the teaser images from the now-shooting Rambo: Last Blood and seeing Stallone atop a horse and dressed in cowboy duds and wondering just what on earth their intentions are for the purportedly final Stallone-led Rambo film, Lionsgate is debuting the three classic Rambo flicks on 4K UHD Blu-ray at the perfect time.

Very similar to the Death Wish series, it’s easy to forget after years of bloody installments that First Blood, the introduction of John Rambo to the world, is not the typical ’80s action flick in which a one-man army lays waste to a legion of hapless red shirts. In fact, not-so-hidden within this action classic is a heartbreaking drama about a former Vietnam soldier coming home with the severest case of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Already damaged, John Rambo comes to Washington state to visit a soldier and friend only to hear that he’s died from Agent Orange. Take that, add some cold-blooded treatment and harassment from the podunk town’s police department, and John Rambo snaps, fleeing into the wilderness, with the hot-collared cops in steady pursuit. And one — just one character — dies.

Despite moments of action, First Blood is absolutely a drama, which is all brought together during Stallone’s final on-screen moments where he suffers a psychotic break and begins wailing about his fellow dead soldiers. First Blood, famously, was supposed to end with Rambo committing suicide, which obviously would have put a damper on turning it into a franchise — that dictates what kind of story the filmmakers were trying to tell.

Speaking of franchises, as happens with sequels, the core moments of the original are exploited, turning each subsequent entry into a heightened version than what’s come before. In fact, the overall series kill count is as follows:

First Blood: 1
Rambo: First Blood Part II: 75
Rambo III: 115
Rambo: 254

What will Rambo: Last Blood bring? I’m expecting a body count somewhere between First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part II, but that’s just me nerdily musing. In fact, given the assuredly Old West-inspired environments of Mexico and John Rambo on a horse lookin’ all cowboy, Rambo: Last Blood is shaping up to be Stallone’s Unforgiven.

I can’t wait.

Lionsgate have put the first three Rambo flicks on 4K UHD Blu-ray and they all look and sound fantastic, and along with the already extensive special features ported over from previous releases, each disc comes with a new featurette, which unfolds over three parts: “Rambo Takes the ’80s.”

No word yet on a 4K edition of 2008’s Rambo aka John Rambo, but Lionsgate have been eager to upgrade the most iconic titles from their library, so it’s only a matter of time.

Feast your eyes on all that’s in store for those wishing to upgrade their previous Blu-ray collection…


He never fought a battle he couldn’t win–except the conflict raging within his own soul. Academy Award-nominee Sylvester Stallone stars as war hero John Rambo. An ex-Green Beret haunted by memories of Vietnam, he was once the perfect killing machine. Now he’s searching for peace, but finds instead an over-zealous, small-town sheriff who’s spoiling for a fight. All hell breaks loose when an unjustly imprisoned Rambo escapes and becomes the target of a massive manhunt. Now he must use all his cunning, combat skills and weapons training to stay alive and outwit his pursuers. Co-starring Brian Dennehy and Richard Crenna, First Blood is an explosive action-thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final, powerful frame.

4K UDH SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary by Sylvester Stallone
  • Audio Commentary by David Morrell

BLU-RAY / DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES

  • NEW: “Rambo Takes the 80s Part 1” Featurette
  • Making Of” Featurette
  • Alternate Ending
  • Outtake
  • Deleted Scene
  • “Restoration” Featurette
  • “The Real Nam” Featurette
  • “Forging Heroes” Featurette
  • “How to Become Rambo Part 1” Featurette
  • Audio Commentary by Sylvester Stallone
  • Audio Commentary by David Morrell
  • Theatrical Trailer

He’s back! Superstar Sylvester Stallone is John Rambo, the ultimate action hero, in this explosive Oscar-nominated sequel to First Blood that boasts a riveting screenplay by Sylvester Stallone and James Cameron (Titanic). Although the Vietnam War is officially over, Rambo remains the perfect fighting machine. But his survival skills are tested with a vengeance on a top-secret mission that takes him back to the jungles of Vietnam in search of American POWs. For when Rambo is double-crossed, this “expendable” hero, armed with just a bow, arrows and knife, must defeat savage enemies equipped with deadly firepower.

4K UDH SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary by George P. Cosmatos

BLU-RAY / DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES

  • NEW “Rambo Takes the ’80s Part 2” Featurette
  • “We Get To Win This Time” Featurette
  • “Action in the Jungle” Featurette
  • “The Last American POW” Featurette
  • “Sean Baker – Fulfilling a Dream” Featurette
  • “Interview with Sylvester Stallone” Featurette
  • “Interview with Richard Crenna” Featurette
  • “Behind the Scene” Featurette
  • “How to Become Rambo Part 2” Featurette
  • Audio Commentary by George P. Cosmatos
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Original TV Spots

The battle rages on as superstar Sylvester Stallone detonates the third blast in the action-packed Rambo series. Combat has taken its toll on John Rambo (Stallone), but he has finally begun to find inner peace inside a monastery — until his friend and mentor Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) shows up to ask for his help on a top-secret mission in Afghanistan. A war-weary Rambo declines, but when Trautman is captured, Rambo erupts into a one-man firestorm to rescue his former commanding officer and decimate the enemy. It’s an intense, pulse- pounding adventure that boasts unrelenting action and suspense from start to finish!

 

4K UDH SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary by Peter MacDonald

BLU-RAY / DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES

  • NEW: “Rambo Takes the ‘80s Part 3” Featurette
  • “Full Circle” Featurette
  • “A Hero’s Journey” Featurette
  • “Rambo’s Survival Hardware” Featurette
  • Alternative Beginning
  • Deleted Scenes
  • “Interview with Sylvester Stallone” Featurette
  • “Afghanistan – A Land in Crisis” Featurette
  • “Guts and Glory” Featurette
  • “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
  • “Trautman & Rambo” Featurette
  • “How to Become Rambo Part 3” Featurette
  • “Selling a Hero” Featurette
  • Audio Commentary by Peter MacDonald
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Original TV Spots


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J. Tonzelli is a writer, film critiquer, and avid Arnold/Van Damme/Bronson enthusiast who resides in rural South Jersey. He is the author of "The End of Summer: Thirteen Tales of Halloween" and the "Fright Friends Adventure" series, co-authored with Chris Evangelista. He loves abandoned buildings, the supernatural, and films by John Carpenter. You can read some of his short fiction at his website, JTonzelli.com, or objectify him by staring at his tweets: @jtonzelli. He apologizes for all the profanity.

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