Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First Blood, by David Morrell

(pb; 1972)

From the back cover:

"Nobody in the small Kentucky town knew his name was Rambo. All they knew was that he was a stranger. . . and that he looked like trouble. The army had trained him in the art of killing, and now he did not know how to stop. . ."

Review:

Character-driven actioner about two war veterans -- Will Teasle, from the Korean War; John Rambo, from the Vietnam War -- who are both too stubborn for their own good.

When Teasle, a smalltown sheriff, tries to drive Rambo out of town, he sets off a war that neither he nor Rambo expected, one that echoes the conflicts they'd abandoned in Korea and Vietnam.

Morrell's balanced writing is vivid, his characters are relatable and sympathetic, and his pacing battle-intensive. The body count and brutality never dominate the character-centric human element of the novel which is ultimately the heart of this work.

Good blaze-through-it read, this.

Morrell wrote a sequel, Rambo: First Blood Part II, but don't be fooled by it. Rambo is a movie tie-in novel, not a sequel to the source novel. (Read First Blood, and you'll understand why.)


First Blood, the film, was released stateside on October 22, 1982.

Sylvester Stallone played John Rambo. Brian Dennehy played Sheriff Will Teasle. Richard Crenna played Col. Samuel Trautman.

Bill McKinney played State Police Capt Dave Kern. David Caruso played Deputy Mitch. John McLiam played Orval the Dog Man. Bruce Greenwood played Guardsman #5.

Ted Kotcheff directed the film, from a script by Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim and Sylvester Stallone.

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