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Rambo: The Complete Steelbook Collection 4K Review

Rambo: The Complete Steelbook Collection 4K set is one of the best box sets of the year.

Now that Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo saga is complete (probably?), Lionsgate has collected all 5 films in a new box set release.

The saga kicks off with the first and best entry in the series, “First Blood.” In this action-thriller, Vietnam vet hero/Green Beret John Rambo visits a friend and veteran and drifts into the small town Hope where he is severely mistreated by local Police. Rambo eventually snaps and resorts to being a soldier by waging war on those against him. Only Colonel Trautman might be the one to help him.

Unlike the more action heavy sequels, this is a more poignant story about PTSD, veterans, police corruption, and being seen as an enemy in one’s own country. Stallone gives an impressive physical and internal performance here (especially in the end) while Richard Crenna (Col. Trautman) and Brian Dennehy (the jerk Sheriff) both shine in their respective roles.

In “Rambo: First Blood Part 2,” Colonel Trautman calls John Rambo back into action to find missing POWs in Vietnam. The franchise took an entirely different direction here and became a much more over-the-top patriotic action centric vehicle with Rambo becoming a one man army armed to the teeth. It’s sort of the epitome of an 80’s action movie. While the action may deliver, the opportunity to explore Rambo’s character (and his return to Vietnam) is short changed sadly. Still, Stallone and Richard Crenna turn in strong performances once again.

“Rambo 3”- Having spent time in Thailand stick fighting and helping out at a monastery, Rambo is once again called on by Col. Trautman to help Afghan citizens stop Soviet Colonel Zaysen (who wants to conquer the country). Script wise, this is arguably the weakest installment in the franchise. Once again, story elements involving Rambo back in war and Trautman being kidnapped go to waste as everything revolves around the action here. If you’re an action junkie, you certainly get loads of that with every vehicle imaginable, death galore (including death by glow stick) and many, many bullets being fired. As per usual, Stallone and Crenna’s characters and interactions remain the heart of the franchise.

“Rambo” is fourth installment and it’s arguably the best sequel. Rambo (who is now a boatman and a snake catcher) is asked to help missionaries (including Sarah) in Burma during a civil war. The missionaries are kidnapped by SPDC Major Pa Tee Tint and his army and Rambo and mercenaries mount a rescue mission to save them. 

While it’s perhaps not in the best taste to make an ultra violent action movie based on a real life conflict, the film at least deals with something real instead of being a soulless action movie. It’s exploration of humanity, faith, and the endless cycle of violence may not be deep, but it does have merit. It was also compelling to see the character of Rambo explored more as we see him as a broken man now. Of course, the action here is noteworthy with the climactic sequence being one for the ages.

“Rambo: Last Blood” is Stallone’s alleged last hurrah as John Rambo and it’s a rather clunky finale. Rambo has made his home at his father’s ranch in Arizona where he takes care of it alongside caretaker Maria and her granddaughter Gabriela. When Gabriela is taken by the Mexican Cartel, Rambo takes it 

The first hour is essentially a Lifetime drama, but the last half-hour at least delivers. Not only do we get a heartbreaking and nuanced character moment with Rambo in a car talking to himself, but he also unleashes all-out violence as only he can.

Note: This collection is housed in a stunningly beautiful Steelbook case. Each of the 5 films also have their own individual Steelbook which have artwork that represent that particular film. If you haven’t picked these films up individually yet, this Best Buy exclusive set is the way to go.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 2160p for the first 3 films, 2.40:1 2160p for “Rambo,” and 2.39:1 2160p for “Rambo: Last Blood.” How do they sound? The first 2 films get nice upgrades, but the last 3 entries look the best here as the picture contains crisp colors.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA for the first 3 films and Dolby Atmos for the last 2. How do they sound? The 5.1 tracks deliver even though it’s disappointing there aren’t higher quality tracks for the first 3 films. The Atmos tracks, however, will satisfy action fans to the max.

Extras- First Blood

* Blu-ray and Digital copy
* Outtake
* 2 thoughtful commentaries by Stallone and author David Morrell.
* Deleted scene and alternate ending
* The first part of the “How To Become Rambo” body building training extras.
* A featurette on “The Restoration.”
* “Forging Heroes”- A featurette on real-life Green Berets.
* “The Real Nam”- A 27 minute documentary on the Vietnam War.
* A 22 minute making of with the usual interviews, discussions and film clips.
* A look at the first film titled “Rambo takes The 80’s Part 1.”

Extras- Rambo: First Blood Part 2

* Digital copy and Blu-ray copy
* Original trailer and TV spots
* Interviews with Stallone and Richard Crenna
* 2 minutes of behind the scenes footage.
* A compare and contrast look at the restoration.
* A vintage featurette titled “Action In The Jungle.”
* A dull and often quiet commentary by director George P. Cosmatos.
* A 20 minute featurette titled “We Get To Win This Time.”
* A featurette on POWs (and the story in this film) called “The Last American POW.”
* “How To Become Rambo Part 2”- The second part of this physical fitness centric extra.
* “Sean Baker- Fulfilling A Dream”- A touching look at a fan with cancer who was able to visit the set and meet Stallone.
* “Rambo Takes The 80s Part 2”- An exploration of the second film in the franchise.

Extras- Rambo 3

* Blu-ray copy and Digital copy
* 7 ½ minutes of deleted scenes and an alternate beginning
* Original trailer and TV spots
* An informative albeit hushed commentary by Peter MacDonald
* An interview with Stallone
* Featurettes on the Rambo franchise (“Guts and Glory”), Afghanistan, (“Afghanistan- A Land In Crisis”), Rambo’s weapons (“Rambo’s Survival Hardware”), and the “Trautman and Rambo” characters.
* Another compare and contrast on the restoration.
* A collection of 6 ½ minutes of behind the scenes footage.
* A 6 minute summary of the film via film clips.
* The 3rd part of the physical fitness routine with “How To Become Rambo Part 3.”
* “A Hero’s Journey”- A look at Rambo’s character journey in the first 3 films.
* A featurette on the third film titled “Rambo Takes The 80s Part 3.”
* An easter egg

Extras- Rambo

* Blu-ray copy and Digital copy
* Extended and theatrical cuts of “Rambo.”
* “Rambo” theatrical trailer and other Lionsgate trailers
* 4 deleted scenes.
* “Legacy of Despair” revolves around Burma.
* “The Weaponry Of Rambo” and “A Score To Settle: The Music Of Rambo” featurettes.
* 23 days of production diaries in “Rambo: To Hell And Back- Director’s Production Diary.”
* “A Hero’s Welcome: Release and Reaction” is about the Las Vegas premiere.
* “The Art Of War: Completing Rambo”- A 2 part extra that explores the sound and editing.
* A featurette about how the fourth entry came about in “The Art Of War: Completing Rambo.”

Extras- Rambo: Last Blood

* Rambo: Last Blood extended cut digital copy
* Blu-ray copy
* Theatrical trailer
* “From First Note To Last Blood: Music For The Massacres”- A featurette on Brian Tyler’s score
* “Drawing Last Blood: Multi Part Production Diary”- A 5 part deep dive extra on the production which includes interviews and set footage. 

December 6, 2020 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , , , ,

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