Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 27-Jul-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 91:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (50:36) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By George P. Cosmatos
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Richard Crenna
Charles Napier
Steven Berkoff
Julia Nickson-Soul
Martin Kove
George Cheung
Andy Wood
William Ghent
Voyo Goric
Dana Lee
Bagan Coleman
Steven Williams
Case ?
RPI Box Music Jerry Goldsmith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.30:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Dutch Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The sequel to First Blood, Rambo (now confusingly renamed Rambo 2), discards plot in favour of more action in this cold-war induced right-wing hymn to Imperial America. Co-written by Sylvester Stallone and James Cameron, apparently this was Ronald Regan's favourite movie. However, if you ignore the George Bush Jr style politics that underline it, Rambo remains an action classic, and a very enjoyable popcorn movie.

    We find John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) breaking rocks in gaol. It seems that steroid abuse is rife in this prison, as Rambo's muscles have now ballooned to absurd proportions compared to his appearance in First Blood. Or perhaps they should be marketing a Breaking Rocks Work-Out DVD? Anyway, Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna), Rambo's former CO, visits Rambo, and promises him a Presidential Pardon if he will carry out a Special Forces mission. Rambo reluctantly agrees, and finds himself back in South-East Asia.

    Rambo's mission is to travel to a remote prison camp, where it is rumoured that American POWs are still being held. Rambo is only supposed to take pictures, but when things go awry, Rambo's weapons quickly come out, and things start exploding.

    Having travelled through Vietnam on holiday, and now living in a post-cold war age, the idea of Americans being held as POWs in the 1980s seems far fetched. However, in the height of the cold war in the 1980s, I recall that the idea seemed not only possible, but somehow probable. This was an important political issue at the time, and other films, such as the Missing In Action movies, also picked up and ran with the theme.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    As with First Blood, the transfer is a little grainy, but good overall.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.30:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of the image is okay, although some scenes look a little too soft. The black level also suffers at times, and the shadow detail is poor, especially in the darker scenes, such as at 15:02.

    The colour is generally good, but whites can appear grey, and some skin tones looked a little too brown.

    There are no problems with MPEG artefacts, but the grainy image sometimes does appear a little pixelated. Film-to-video artefacts are present in the form of some mild aliasing, such as the shimmer on the bamboo roof of the boat at 21:09. Tiny film artefacts appear infrequently throughout, and some edge enhancement is also noticeable at times.

    Again, surprisingly, the only subtitles present on the DVD are Dutch.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 50:36. On my player there was a slight pause, but as the change is in between scenes, it's not too distracting.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Originally released theatrically in Dolby Stereo Surround, and remixed into Dolby Digital 5.1 for this DVD, the audio retains much of its original Stereo Surround feel.

    There is only one audio option on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine, although as before, some of Stallone's lines are slurred with his speech.

    The musical score is credited to the very talented Jerry Goldsmith, and it is heavily based on his work for First Blood. Interestingly he has taken those familiar themes and reworked them using South-East Asian instruments, which helps set the scene of the story.

    The surround presence and activity is still limited, but much improved over First Blood. The rear speakers are called upon for the score, ambience, and effects, such as for the helicopter passing overhead at 34:32. However, there is not much separation between the rears.

    The subwoofer is heard with every explosion, for example at 73:11, but the LFE track sounds a little too booming, and lacking refinement.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Surprisingly, as with First Blood, there are no extras -- not even a trailer!

Menu

    An animated main menu, with audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Rambo: First Blood II has been released on DVD in Region 1 twice, initially in 1999 as a single sided, dual layered disc with a Stereo-Surround audio track. The extras included a making-of featurette, audio commentary, trailers, trivia, and a "Stallone Movie Retrospective". In 2002 the dual sided, dual/single layered Special Edition arrived.

    In R1 this DVD can be purchased by itself, as part of "The Rambo Collection Pack" (the three standard DVD editions) or as part of the "Rambo Trilogy" (the three SE DVDs with a fourth bonus disc including production notes, a new 30 min featurette, "Rambo Trilogy", and trivia games).

    Compared with the R1 Special Edition, the Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    I would have to favour the R1 Special Edition.

Summary

    Rambo 2 is an action classic and fun popcorn movie that will be enjoyed for many years to come.

    The video quality is reasonable.

    The audio quality is also reasonable.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Saturday, August 07, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - OliverD

Comments (Add)
This DVD will not play on a Pioneer DV-414 - Gavin Bollard
Problems with pioneer player - Anonymous
Reagan's favourite movie? - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
English subtitles? - Anonymous
This disc won't play on my Pioneer DV-344. - Stephen Elze
Again, Hmmm - Anonymous REPLY POSTED