A couple of nights ago, I had a date with John Rambo. Sitting in the guest bedroom that I’ve called home for the past three months, I sat riveted to the television as I watched Sylvester Stallone in First Blood. Truly, I’m a chick flick kind of girl when it comes to movies. However, I asked my cousin recently for his favorite movies. He proffered The Hunt for Red October, First Blood, and First Blood part II. I found The Hunt for Red October to be right up my alley (I like to think) – it was described as a giant game of chess with the chess pieces being the navies of the United States and the Soviet Union. First Blood, on the other hand, chilled my blood. As I told my cousin later, my stuffed elephant, Horton, ended up in my lap for the latter half of the movie because he was scared. Yes, this is my creative way of saying that I might have been a tad nervous – maybe scared.
For the past couple of years, I have noticed that my friends have a propensity to compare different people to Rambo. For example, “Dude! Did you see that girl? She’s crazy like Rambo.” Now, I had no idea who this Rambo was. Apparently, he is crazy. Obviously, he’s got great fighting skills and a bit rough around the edges. I didn’t know this. I was just assuming from the comparisons that had been made.
After watching First Blood, it all becomes clear. Rambo is a manly man. We’re talking muscles, deep voice, scars, a mysterious history, a decorated past, etc. Did I mention the muscles - as in Rambo has more muscle in his one muscle than I do in my entire body? He’s America’s favorite type of hero. He’s misunderstood. Rambo chooses to place himself against the world or perhaps it’s America that put Rambo in that position. We sympathize with this brooding, muscular man.
Will Teasle, the sheriff who awakens the inner beast of Rambo, is also a man. He’s a man with a family, a town, deputies, and a respected position. He wants to protect what he has. The sheriff hates drifters for the trouble they could stir up so he moves them right along. Although more common in America than Rambos, the movie displays Will as ignorant, discriminatory, and frankly just plain dumb. We don’t sympathize with this domineering, angry man.
Both Rambo and Will are overwhelmed by blood lust and pride. Their dispute with each other does not begin so much in words as it does with action. Rambo requests a meal and Will drives him right out of town. Will strips Rambo of all dignity and in return Rambo does the same to Will. Neither one is willing to let go of their blood lust and their pride. Throughout the entire movie, I kept thinking to myself, “Will is a dead man.” Rather than follow the advice of people who were familiar with Rambo and his nature, Will refused to back down (I suppose this is a quality that would make him a good sheriff). However, it marked him as dead and foolish for not following wise advice.
At the end of the movie, Rambo breaks down and speaks more than he did in the entire first hour and fifteen minutes of the film. His iron exterior hid a broken individual. I cannot help but feel awe for this character that showed extreme ingenuity and strength throughout the film. It is appealing. However, a lot of trouble, death, explosions could have been saved if Rambo had simply started the movie with vulnerability and humbleness.
I suppose this would not have made much of a movie, though. Rambo is the epitome of masculine inspiration. The less talking, the more explosions, the better! Rambo might be able to go through his movie existence like this, but I sure hope men aren’t taking their cues from Rambo. Life will be less difficult if they share a bit more and drop the iron exterior more often. As a girl, I definitely found Rambo pretty amazing. No, I don’t wish to have his muscles nor do I want his voice (neither do I find super-muscle men very attractive - ever heard the phrase "all brawn, no brains?"). However, that savvy nature knowledge I could go for. Yet, I think Rambo and Will reminded me the snares of pride, judging by appearance, and the necessity of vulnerability.
Don’t worry about my stuffed elephant, Horton! Although he got nervous at parts, I know he’s excited about watching First Blood part II. I, on the other hand, might be hiding under the covers of my bed.