By Dan Skip Allen
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is just a Vietnam veteran trying to get a hot meal when he is walking into a small Washington town. Little did he know that a small-town, Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) has other ideas of what kinds of people he wants in his town. He soon finds out the hard way that Rambo is more than he appears. He's not some washed-up old vet. He's a walking, talking weapon!
First Blood was the first movie I have ever seen starring Brian Dennett. Other than Stallone, he commands the screen in this film. He epitomized what it is to be a villain in a movie. Every time he said anything against Rambo, I just cringed because I knew he was messing with the wrong guy. The delousing sequence was quite brutal, to say the least. Teasle and his men just poked the wrong bear. Rambo fell back into his survival instincts. He escaped into the nearby forest and what we now know as the first and best action film was now on.
Dennehy's Teasle is a tough-nosed Sheriff, but even he is taken aback by how creative and resourceful Rambo is. If it weren't for Col. Troutman (Richard Crenna), he would already be dead. Troutman is the only man that can talk some sense into Rambo. These small-town cops have no clue how dangerous he really is and Troutman is their only hope. Rambo could turn this sleepy little town into a ghost town by the time he's finished with Teasle and his men. Set in the forests of Washington, First Blood has many beautiful scenes. The rain adds to the vibrant color of the film, accentuating the greens of the trees.
First Blood spawned an entire franchise, but none of the other films even came close to how original and thought-provoking the original is. Besides its own sequels, it helped create an entire genre. Films like Lethal Weapon, Predator, Terminator, Commando, and Die Hard all came out of the action genre that was created by First Blood. The thing is First Blood wasn't meant to be an action film that started an entire genre. It was just a piece about Vietnam vets being disrespected in our country instead of being taken care of. Schwarzenegger, Gibson, and Willis all made millions off of the back of Stallone. Stallone started with Rocky and he was thrust into stardom. He never expected First Blood to be his next big hit, much less that it would create one of the most popular genres in movie history.
A great hero needs a great villain and Dennehy was the perfect villain. He had a meanness to him rarely seen before or after. Most villains are cartoonish or over the top but Will Teasle had a real mean streak in him. He had a problem with vets or maybe he didn't like the war itself. Cameos from David Caruso and a supporting role from Jack Starret as Sgt. Galt add to the overall feel of the film. Ted Kotcheff made a great film with a great message that still stands up thirty-eight years later. Dennehy gives the performance of his career as this clueless sheriff. First Blood is the first and the best action movie ever!
The Snake Hole
Retrospectives, opinion pieces, awards commentary, personal essays, and any other type of article that isn't a traditional review or interview.
Dedicated to unique and diverse perspectives on cinema!