'Rambo: First Blood Part II: 4K Ultra HD+Digital'
(Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Steve Berkhoff, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / (1985) 2018 / Lionsgate Films)
Overview: Academy Awards® nominee Sylvester Stallone (Best Actor, Rocky, 1976; Best Supporting Actor, Creed, 2015) returns to the role that made him a household name when Rambo: First Blood Part II arrives on 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray™ and Digital) November 13th from Lionsgate.
Also starring Richard Crenna, Charles Napier, and Steve Berkoff, this smash hit sequel follows John Rambo on a top-secret operation to bring back POW’s still held in Vietnam.
4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate Films continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the widely-beloved Stallone classic, 'Rambo: First Blood Part II' in the new 4K home video format on November 13th, 2018.
For my money, this 'Rambo: First Blood Part II: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is 'Rambo: First Blood Part II presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy.
Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265; Resolution: Native 4K (2160p); HDR: HDR10; Aspect ratio: 2.35:1; Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.
Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.
Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like in the now infamous stealth scene (as it's rightly been termed over the years), as Rambo singlehandedly takes out two platoons of armed men with only a knife and a bow! It just all comes more vividly to life now there in the forest. Which is amazing to see, in truth.
Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes, much like the truly stunning exploding arrow scene, where Rambo has one of his finest cinematic revenge moments) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.
As for the audio, well we have: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.
Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, I am willing to say that 'Rambo: First Blood Part II' is equal to 'First Blood' and both are Stallone's best movies (and this is coming from a HUGE Stallone fan).
This movie is pretty much as good as action/war movies from the 1980's get and unfortunately, due to most people's inability to put aside their modern day political eye glasses for pure entertainment and because of the numerous spoof and parodies of this particular movie (and I suppose all the pointless merchandising at the time doesn't exactly help either), it will probably never be acknowledged as such.
However, I'm here to set the record straight. The story is simple: John Rambo, after having spent time in prison after the events of the magnificent 'First Blood', is brought back into battle by his friend and Colonel Sam Trautman.
Rambo is sent to investigate the possibility of hidden POW's still held in Vietnam. And right there you see why people are so negative towards this movie.
Look people, the setup is only there to create the adventure, now if you were able to accept it as that you would find this movie to be one of the better paced, better executed and to a certain degree better acted than most movies in this genre.
One of the things 'Rambo II' has that almost no one mentions is that it does contain dramatic elements especially the relationship between Stallone and Julia Nickson as Co-Bao, the Asian freedom fighter and with the character who goes by the name of Murdock.
Which is something that would be unfortunately left out in 'Rambo III'. But what this movie delivers in (and, in my humble opinion. in a fashion and way just as classic and unique as 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' was a few years earlier) is keeping the audience focused the whole time following Rambo's journey; and, of course, cheering at the non-stop action found within.
That's probably another element that turns people off. This movie has so much machine gun fire and frantic action scenes that some might see it as mindless macho crap (probably not helped by the fact Stallone spends the last third or so of the movie shirtless!), but frankly all the action scenes are invigorating and well filmed.
If you don't like it, fair enough, but it's still obvious a lot of effort was put into it. Yes some of the action scenes do defy logic, but that really doesn't matter either because we like the characters enough at the end of the movie to ignore such flaws.
Everything about the execution of this movie is classic and in some ways the movie is, despite what some might say, exactly that. This movie defined what a cheesy '80's action movie should be, but in this case still managed to have a story with actual human interest in it (something Stallone frequently does in his films); even if it is an admittedly very simple, but very effective story line.
Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on the 4K Ultra HD's special features, with one of them being a brand new, never-before-seen featurette, “Rambo Takes the 80’s Part 2” (which looks back at the incredible impact of this evergreen film).
Running at a lesser-than-the-first part 12 minutes, it continues to cover the franchise's legacy via various conversations (and voice overs) from people associated with the creation of the film.
As aforementioned, the first part 1 of the featurette (which is included on the 1080p Blu-ray included on the first film's 4K UHD release), sets the scene, whereas this one takes you by the hand into the actual filming stages.
As mentioned in the first film's 4K UHD review, interspersed with numerous film scenes, it's not astoundingly fantastic, as far as new material goes for an older film, but it does give a little more insight into how 'Rambo: First Blood Part II' came to be.
All the other Special Features have been seen and reviewed before, at length, but the two that I will touch on here are both "The Last American POW" and "The Real Nam" Featurettes.
The first is a really touching, and provocative look at a real and genuine POW in Robert Garwood (which is way too short at just over two minutes), the latter a sturdy near half hour look at a surprisingly thoughtful viewpoint piece; that offers some history to the viewer of what the guys experienced over there at that time.
Available for the First Time on 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack and including Dolby Vision™, this is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the aforementioned Special Features of:
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
Amazon Purchase Link