First Blood | Wal-Mart Exclusive SteelBook 4K Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

Director Ted Kotcheff offers some stunning visuals, making First Blood not only a pleasure to watch but a study in directing.

When the Vietnam War ended and our soldiers came home, they were met with anger and disapproval from those who remained behind.  The anti-political sentiment permeating The United States back then saw those who served as mere puppets of "the Machine" and therefore treated the soldiers with disdain.  John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone; the Rocky Franchise) was one example of a man who went to war and was discarded by his country upon his return. Based on the novel by David Morrell (The Abelard Sanction Series), First Blood was released in theaters in 1982 and is now a Walmart exclusive 4K Steelbook release.

Rambo was a recluse, having been a Green Beret and Medal of Honor recipient, only to be disrespected and discarded by other Americans.  He was a drifter who happened to end up in the town of Hope, Washington, much to the dismay of the town's Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy; Silverado).  After warning Rambo to leave town, Teasle arrested him but Teasle's deputies abused Rambo triggering his PTSD.  Rambo panicked, snapped, and escaped from jail.  After being pursued, Rambo eventually took Teasle hostage until he was persuaded by his former CO Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna; Wait Until Dark) to surrender.

Director Ted Kotcheff (Weekend At Bernie's) offers some stunning visuals, making First Blood not only a pleasure to watch but also a study in directing.  He manages to meld action with emotion and the movie and Stallone are both better for it.  Stallone dials in a solid performance and the action plays better because there is emotion behind it feeding its frenzy. Dennehy is very good as the Sheriff and Crenna delivers an emotional performance as the person trying to "reach" Rambo and bring him down off of a mountain of rage.

Thank goodness the disc's 2160p resolution enhances Kotcheff's incredible visuals as it would be a shame to waste such a high-quality transfer.  Having been released in 4K six years ago, First Blood's picture is sharp and has lush and dense colors throughout.  The video presentation looks terrific even during the fast-paced action sequences.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is strong as well, utilizing the surround speakers to lay the foundation for all the ambient noise setting the scene for the viewer.  However, the layered sound effects don't overpower the dialogue that sits mainly in the front speakers. Overall, the video and audio quality is what one would expect from a 4K release.

Besides the pretty cool-looking steelbook casing, there doesn't seem to be all that much new about First Blood.  The video and audio are very good but the previously released extras are the same as before.  They include Audio Commentary with Sylvester Stallone, Audio Commentary with Author David Morrell, Rambo Takes The '80s, Part 1, Making Of First Blood, Alternative Ending, Outtakes, Deleted Scenes, Restoration featurette, The Real 'Nam, Forging Heroes, How To Become Rambo, Part 1 and the Theatrical Trailer.

Despite mixed reviews from critics, First Blood was number one at the box office for three weeks and grossed $6.6 million in its opening week. It spawned a sequel that became a series and was loved by audiences for years after its release.  It also shined more of a light on the plight of our veterans. It had an emotional heartbeat behind it that supplemented the action well and made sense, giving the audience a stronger connection to the characters. 

Even if you own the movie on Blu-ray or 4K, the Walmart exclusive steelbook is worth the price and would look stylish in your home entertainment collection.  Fans should buy it, they won't regret it. 

Grade: B-

Directed By:
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 97 minutes
Distributed By: Orion Pictures

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For more information about First Blood visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

First Blood images are courtesy of Orion Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.

Read More First Blood Reviews

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