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Blu-ray Review: 1980’s Rambo Trilogy and Cliffhanger

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STUDIOCANAL has released all three of the 1980’s cult action Rambo films along with Cliffhanger– starring the Sylvester Stallone in his finest form. All the films have had an extensive restoration and 4K scanning from the original film negatives.

All four films look absolutely amazing. The restoration has cleaned everything up but still manages to keep that lovely grain and film quality you want from older movies. There is none of that plastic looking skin you sometimes get with film restorations.

The sound quality is also fantastic. I really noticed that in First Blood. It had lots of quieter moments in the woods, but you still get the ambient sounds coming through. Then of course in the Rambo sequels, the explosions and gunfire are just immense.

Rewatching the films I realised I had forgotten just how good First Blood was. My memory had lumped it in with the increased action and violence of Rambo 2 and 3 (both of which are still worth watching), but First Blood is a brilliant character piece with Stallon and Brian Dennehy doing amazing things. A great exploration of PTSD and the effects war has on a man.  The action, when it does kick off, is also done extremely well. The dark, damp, gloominess of the woods almost becomes another character within the film.

Rambo 2 and 3 were also both enjoyable. They get more over the top as they go on, but when you are in the right mood that can just hit the spot. Rambo 2 was extremely gripping and tense, while the desert scenes in Rambo 3 look incredible with the new restoration.

If you are a fan of the Rambo films, or just haven’t seen them in a while, then I recommend you pick these up. They are some of the quintessential action films of the 80s and deserve to be on your shelf. If you can only get one then make it First Blood as it is such a great movie.

Cliffhanger is a different kind of film to the Rambo movies, but still worth rewatching. I always liked the film and it looks beautiful in the new 4K restoration. Those mountain scenes with the big skies are just awe-inspiring. Considering many of them were filmed in a studio makes it all the more incredible. It has all aged well and, from the pulse-pounding opening scene, it doesn’t let up.

John Lithgow chews up every scene he is in and it is glorious.

I loved watching every minute of all four films and they brought back many happy memories of when I watched them back in the day. I am now looking forward to watching First Blood with Stallone doing a commentary.

We have currently got a competition running were you can win all four films. Details here.

RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD

Academy Award-nominee Sylvester Stallone stars as war hero, ex-Green Beret John Rambo, in the one that started it all! First Blood is an explosive action-thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final, powerful frame.

Special Features:

  • Rambo takes the ’80s Part 1
  • Drawing First Blood – Making Of
  • Alternate Ending
  • Outtake (Humorous Ending)
  • Deleted scene: Dream in Saigon
  • Original Trailer
  • Trailer
  • How to Become Rambo Part 1
  • The Restoration
  • The Real Nam
  • Forging Heroes
  • Audio commentary by actor Sylvester Stallone
  • Audio commentary by screenwriter David Morell

RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II

Rambo’s survival skills are pushed to the limit on a top-secret mission that takes him back to the jungles of Vietnam in search of missing American prisoners of war.

Special Features:

  • Rambo takes the ’80s: Part 2
  • We get to Win This Time
  • Action in the Jungle
  • The Last American POW
  • Sean Baker – Fulfilling a Dream
  • Interview: Sylvester Stallone
  • Interview: Richard Crenna
  • Behind the Scenes
  • The Restoration
  • Original TV Spots
  • Original Trailer
  • How to Become Rambo Part 2
  • George P Cosmatos audio commentary

RAMBO III

When John Rambo – ex soldier – refuses the request of his old platoon leader Colonel Trautman for a new mission, he carries on with his new Buddhist life. However, when Colonel Trautman is kidnapped by the Soviets at the Afghanistan border, and the American government are unable to take official action, Rambo decides to take action of his own. THIS TIME IT’S FOR HIS FRIEND.

 Special Features:

  • Rambo takes the ’80s: Part 3
  • Full Circle
  • A Hero’s Journey
  • Rambo’s Survival Hardware
  • Alternate Beginning
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Interview with Sylvester Stallone
  • Afghanistan A Land In Crisis
  • Guts and Glory
  • Behind the Scenes
  • The Restoration
  • Trautman & Rambo
  • How to Become Rambo Part 3
  • Original Trailer
  • Original TV spots
  • Selling a Hero (Easter egg)
  • Peter MacDonald (Director) Audio Commentary

Rambo single disc DVDs also available.

 

CLIFFHANGER

She was an experienced climber, she trusted him to rescue her, but something went wrong high above the valley floor and Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) has been blaming himself for her death ever since.

Unable to deal with the tragedy, Gabe quit his job with the Rocky Mountain Rescue team and fled from his cherished mountains, leaving behind his self-esteem, his friends and the woman he loves. Now he must return to those dreaded peaks, where he finds himself trapped in a desperate battle against ruthless criminals, unforgiving nature and himself in Cliffhanger.

Special Features:

  • Commentary with Director Renny Harlin and Sylvester Stallone
  • Technical Crew Commentary
  • Personal Introduction from Renny Harlin
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Stallone on the Edge: The Making of Cliff hanger
  • Special Effects: Sarah’s Fall & The Helicopter Explosion
  • Storyboard Comparisons
  • Trailer Introduction from Renny Harlin

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