Rambo: First Blood Part II – 4K UHD Review

Rambo: First Blood Part II (also known as Rambo II or First Blood II) is a 1985 American action film that was directed by George P. Cosmatos and starring Sylvester Stallone, who reprises his role as Vietnam veteran John Rambo. It is the sequel to the 1982 film First Blood, and the second installment in the Rambo film franchise. Picking up where the first film left off, the sequel is set in the context of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue; it sees Rambo released from prison by federal order to document the possible existence of POWs in Vietnam, under the belief that he will find nothing, thus enabling the government to sweep the issue under the rug. In addition to Stallone, Richard Crenna reprises his role as Col. Samuel Trautman, with Charles Napier, Steven Berkoff, Julia Nickson, Martin Kove, George Cheung, and Andy Wood also included in the cast.

Despite receiving negative reviews, First Blood Part II was a major worldwide box office blockbuster, with an estimated 42 million tickets sold in the US. It has become the most recognized and the most memorable installment in the series, having inspired countless rip-offs, parodies, video games, and imitations.

Entertainment Weekly ranked the movie number 23 on its list of “The Best Rock-’em Movies of the Past 25 Years.”

The Film Itself (3.75/5):

First Blood: Part II seemingly had a lot more success than the first film, despite the negative feedback from critics.  Attributed to the dumbed down action sequences, combined with the fact that Rambo is becoming more of an icon than a character at this point, I can fully understand why it received so much hate, as the overall movie and experience ranks up there with some of the top b-movies that have made themselves available over the years.  Being that this is one of the more favored cult-classics from my childhood, the fact that I got to sit down to this release with its native 4K presentation was an absolute delight, and my wife and I both had a lot of fun with it.

Picture Quality (5/5):

The 4K UHD release of First Blood: Part II, much like First Blood offers a considerably better visual presentation than its previously released counterparts.  With its 4K native transfer, there has been some obvious tender love and care taken with the restoration of the film.  The quality of the details and overall sharpness of the image have seen a significant jump with the colorization being much more improved, making the overall presentation look like it has never before.  The black levels are most impressive with this release as they feel more natural and help to create a better picture with impressive saturation levels.  Facial details are very strong in this release, as the various marks of stubble, wrinkles, and seat beads stand out more than they ever have with this movie.

Audio Quality (4.5/5):

Packaged with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, the 4K UHD release of First Blood: Part II offers nothing more than the previously released Blu-ray copies.  While it’s a shock to see that this didn’t get the Atmos or DTS:X treatment, the overall quality of the audio seemed to rip right through my home theater system.  With its lower frequencies really pushing the limits of my house’s foundation, the flows from channel to channel were effortless and helped with the overall immersion factor despite the lack of use of the surround or elevation channels.  The dialogue is spoken cleanly, and everybody was able to be heard and understood without the need to adjust the volume levels as it progressed.

The Packaging (4/5):

The 4K UHD release of First Blood: Part II comes packaged in your standard two-disc 4K UHD amaray case.  Within that case is the standard 4K copy of the movie as well as the standard Blu-ray.  Both discs do feature the same piece of artwork between the two, featuring Sylvester Stallone’s pose from the cover art.  There is also a digital copy redemption pamphlet that’s been included for the various streaming platforms as well as a slipcover that’s been made available during the original pressing of the release that includes the same artwork that’s been included on the case.

 . 

Special Features (4.5/5):

There are a ton of special features that have been included with this release of First Blood: Part II.  While the UHD only includes the single optional audio commentary, all available content has been really made available on the included Blu-ray disc.  There’s a variety of content that’s been included that not only includes a look at some of the work that went into making the movie, but some also offers a small expansion upon the storyline.  Included with this release is:

  • 4K UHD
    • Feature Audio Commentary With Director George P. Cosmatos
  • Blu-ray
    • 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 With Sylvester Stallone
    • Interview With Richard Crenna
    • Behind The Scenes
    • How To Become Rambo, Part 2

Technical Specs:

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles

English, English SDH, Spanish

Runtime

Original Film: 95 Minutes

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I was genuinely pleased with this release of First Blood:Part II.  While it has been quite a long time since I’d last watched this movie, I can certainly say that I was moreso impressed with the attention to detail that was given to the visual restoration of this release.  I do wish that they had not only opted to include the original audio track with this release, but that there was some attention to detail given with the remastered track to help separate the audible experience from its previously released counterparts.  There’s quite a few special features that have been included and spread out across both discs that’ll let you explore this release and film quite a bit.  If you’re considering grabbing this release for your collection, I can definitely recommend it if you either don’t have it yet or are upgrading your DVD copy.  Hell, even if you already have the Blu-ray copy, the price is more than reasonable to justify the upgrade, especially with the visual enhancements that are offered with this upgrade.  First Blood will be available on 4K UHD beginning on Tuesday, November 13.

Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.

Doug

Movie lover, technophile, moderator of /r/dvdcollection and just your average, everyday movie viewer. Haven't heard of our subreddit? Check us out!

You may also like...