First Blood – Lost in Adaptation

Was First Blood a good film adaptation of the book or did it end up as messed up as Rambo himself?

About The Dom

Reviewer of games, TV shows and movies. The Dom also likes to look at film adaptations of books and talk about what got lost transitioning from page to screen.


  1. I didn’t know that Rambo was based off a book. Both the book and the movie totally aren’t my thing. I swear you covered the first Rambo before but… so not every Rambo movie is based on a book? Interesting.

  2. About the start of the franchise: it should be noted that the sequels to the original story were all basically Jingoistic propaganda meant to fuel pro-American sentiment in the tail end of the Cold War era. Which is strange, considering that in the first film, the real enemy is us: a society that creates this breed of psychotic supersoldiers, then treats them like garbage when they were no longer needed. In essence, we put Rambo through hell, and then were shocked when he didn’t just lie down and take the abuse heaped upon him. It’s why it’s called “First Blood”: it’s meant to signify that we started the war that Rambo’s going to finish.

    Then Rambo: First Blood II comes out, and the enemies are the Vietnamese. And in Rambo III, the Russians. See how that worked out?

    Police generally operate in cities, and are usually distinctly municipal in their function and jurisdiction. Sheriffs usually cover an entire county, and operate in both urban and rural areas of their jurisdiction. Sheriffs are also elected to their office.

  3. Where those full time National Guardsmen in the movie? I always got the impression that they were reservists who’d been recruited because they had at least SOME military training. Weekend warriors basically, who’d gone into the situation way to overconfidently.

    • National Guard are not full-time. Like Reservists, they train only a couple weeks a year and are on duty only a few days every month. The difference between the Guard and the Reserve is that the Reserve is connected with the national military, whereas the Guard generally operate within a single state. Theoretically, they report to their state governor, but I’m not sure how that works logistically.

  4. This might be your best film to date. I’m glad that you did this one. Both the book and the movie (first one anyway) both have their pluses and minuses and if you don’t hold the movie as gospel to the book, then you can enjoy it.

  5. The book took place in Kentucky I believe and the movie was filmed in Oregon or it could be the other way around but pretty sure its those two states.The First Blood book always kind of reminded me of Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household,anyone else read that?

  6. The book could be redone as a film again if the title was changed and the Rambo name changed. Would be a cool thriller set in a different time.

  7. I admit that I have never read the book, but I suspect that The Dom is wrong about Teasle winning the Victoria Cross. That is a British award, unlikely to have been won by an American, even in Korea. Could he have meant the Army Distinguished Service Cross?

  8. I posted this earlier, but for some reason it didn’t get through.

    What makes that ending reference especially funny to me is that Frozen actually does have something in coming with First Blood adaptation wise. Namely adaptational heroism or it least adaptational sympathy in the case of Rambo. Since anyone familiar with The Snow Queen knows that Hans Christian Anderson’s title character was a straight-up villain rather a very different sort of emotional scared misunderstood loner.

    I half expected at 14:08 for David to be all like: (pause) “What hero?” LOL

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