Story Notes for Rambo: First Blood Part II

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Monday through Thursday at 8PM | 7C, AMC presents Story Notes — real-time on-air trivia about your favorite movies. Tonight’s movie was Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Biography Notes
Richard Crenna (Trautman) got his start acting in radio plays when he was 11.

The Expendables is a 2010 action flick written, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone. He wanted to make a fifth Rambo movie, but decided to work on an Expendables sequel instead.

Kirk Douglass was originally cast as Trautman in First Blood. He turned down the role because he insisted Rambo should die at the end.

Charles Napier (Murdock) says people often tell him “I hated you so much” in Rambo II.

Steven Berkoff (Podovsky) played iconic bad guys in three ’80s movies in a row: Octopussy, Beverly Hills Cop and Rambo II.

Casting Notes
This was actress Julia Nickson’s first film role. The production found her in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Fashion Notes
Rambo’s style was so popular that opposing armies in El Salvador both wore his famous headband. Stallone is set to open a fashion line in 2012 partly based on his John Rambo character.

Finance Notes
Rambo was an instant hit, earning $150 million in the US and over $200 million worldwide. Except for the Soviet Union, where it was banned.

Health Notes
To prepare for this role, Stallone did eight months of training for four hours a day. He also took SWAT combat, archery and survival courses.

History Notes
At the time of filming (1985), there were close to 2,500 Vietnam vets still missing.

At the time of filming, the U.S. didn’t have diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Relations were eventually re-established in 1995.

After the Vietnam War ended, the Soviet Union became Vietnam’s main supporter during the 1980s.

One of the most incredible POW rescues was of Navy Pilot Deiter Dengler. He was rescued by an American chopper after surviving for 23 days in the Vietnam jungle.

Location Notes
Vietnam is known for its lush tropical forests, but they actually only cover 19% of the country.

Love Notes
The director believes what separates Rambo: First Blood Part II from the other Rambo movies is his relationship with Co. It makes him “more vulnerable.”

Music Notes
Rambo II was scored by composer Jerry Goldsmith, an Oscar winner for The Omen.

Political Notes
Ronald Reagan once stated: “Rambo is a Republican.” Stallone maintains the character is a-political.

Pop Culture Notes
1n 1985, Sylvester Stallone was one of the biggest movie stars in the world.

Rambo became such a pop-culture icon, it’s now a word in the dictionary. Rambo: -noun, a fanatically militant or violently aggressive person.

Props Notes
The technical advisor, Tony Maffatone, insisted that all the guns in the movie be real.

Nicknamed the “baseball grenade,” a M68 Fragmentation Grenade is featured in Rambo: First Blood Part II. They actually take about 3-7 seconds to detonate, but that would’ve slowed down the action.

Quote Notes
Director Cosmatos on filming: “It was like a military operation. The whole movie.”

Director Cosmatos: “Although it’s a movie from the ’80s, it’s eternal. It’s a man against odds.”

Sly: “Rambo reacts purely on a subconscious level like an animal with acute survival instincts.”

Crenna on Sly: “The man is nuts. He’s given himself things to do in this film that nobody should ask.”

Sly on Rambo: “He’s the strong, silent type.”

EP Mario Kassar: “In the ’80s, the bad guy was the Russian and the good guy was the American.”

Stallone: “When I was a kid, the teachers voted me most likely to end up in the electric chair.”

Stallone: “Rambo’s war was always in retreat. 90% of Rambo, he’s always running.”

Stallone’s only complaint about Weird Al’s Rambo II spoof: “He had better abs than me.”

Richard Crenna (Trautman) says that in pop-culture “Anyone who behaves badly is a ‘Rambo.’ That’s the opposite of how the character was created.”

Stallone says that he’s very aggressive when acting. “When I start doing Rambo, no one wants to talk to me for about six months.”

Stallone says Rambo shows “the darker savage that every human possesses.”

Random Notes
Testing Stallone’s strength is probably not a good idea. People say he could bench about 400 lbs.

Average IQ for a Delta Force soldier: 138. Average adult IQ: 100.

The director had Murdock and his men snacking in one of the scenes to show their apathy toward the mission. Oliver Stone showed George Bush eating food during meetings in W for similar reasons.

Script Notes
Oscar-winner James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) wrote the first draft of Rambo II. According to Cameron, he wrote the action, Stallone wrote the politics.

Set Notes
The crew had a hard time finding Asian extras in Mexico. They eventually recruited enough by visiting local Chinese restaurants.

The director says one of the challenges was “coming up with new ways to kill Russians.”

Stallone says he constantly dealt with snakes, spiders and scorpions throughout production.

Temperatures during filming sometimes reached 120 degrees.

Symbolism Notes
Stallone wants Rambo to be a metaphor for a man who is “engulfed by his savage surroundings.”

Tech Notes
In scenes where arrows are being shot, they are attached with wire so they land in the right spot without hurting anyone.

Trivia Notes
According to the file, John Rambo has the same birthday as Sylvester Stallone. But, Rambo is one year younger. He probably has more confirmed kills too.

The human body begins to feel electricity at .001 amps. It takes somewhere between .7 and 2 amps to cause death.

The Badlands in Vietnam are between the coastal lowlands and the mountains of the A Shau Valley.

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