Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Rambo: First Blood Part 2 - Cinematic Cheese Series: #3

I was scurrying the dark catacombs located deep beneath the local worship monolith, a sculpture erected in such obtuse angles as to be completely invisible to all but the most keen eyed. The catacombs were laced with the shadowy residue of antiquity, the sort of terror-filled, cyclopean nastiness that would have given old man Lovecraft himself a month of sleepless nights. Occasionally I came across a creature whose entire head resembled the mouth of a wolverine; it had as many teeth as most yak have hair. It was never a fun jaunt out to Coney Island when I ran into their putrid, instinctual masses; normally I was able to fend them off with my bayonet, all except for this one time a florescent yellow one took a chunk out my arm. But I soon showed him that we are a multiple limbed genus, and I won’t lie, I ate him...I ate him all.

It was whilst on one of these explorations that I happened upon a room I’d never seen before. It had a floor surface made of velvet, and walls of suede, and had the aroma of a bullet through the skull of a 17th century aristocrat. And in that room was a box. And in that box was a case. And in that case was a hand-wrapped piece of architecture that suffered the power of Zeus, the sexuality of Aphrodite, and the blue of Fahey. I slowly caressed away the fabric and was instantly blinded by a great ethereal light. A pre-Cambrian odyssey incarnate, for it was none other than the DVD of Rambo: First Blood Part 2.

Rambo: First Blood Part 2 follows Mr John Rambo, a Vietnam veteran, now slumming in up in a federal prison after beating Brian Dennehy one too many times at Mouse Trap. He is approached by his old military superior with the news that there are still some Americans in Vietnamese POW camps, and it is proposed that he go and partake in the operation to rescue them. And so off he goes into the mad labyrinth of war, for he is war, oh yes.

Rambo: First Blood Part 2 has many layers and themes, never is anything quite as clear cut as, say, a Lundgren movie would be. We don’t just have Rambo combating a bunch of leftist Northies intent on proving the domino theory to be correct, we also have a nefarious bureaucracy. The chiefs are out to get want they want, regardless of anything else, the Kafkaesque administration, too absorbed in public relations to give a shit about Rambo, those POWs, or anyone else. There’s exposition on morality, altruistic selflessness (Rambo: “I’m expendable.”), utilitarian theory (the scene where Rambo discusses Bentham with his captors in-between torture sessions).

But let’s not lather Rambo: First Blood Part 2 in a lot of film school bollocks, we can talk about the phallic symbolism behind Rambo’s stab stick, but we all know, deep down in the cockles of our livers, that this is a love story through and through. However I’m not talking about a man’s love for his country, for that would just be a lot of patriotic, nonsensical bullshit, and to speak of it would be insulting for all of us. No, this is the deep personal love connection, an esoteric longing fought over the battlefields of mass society, the intense, tender adoration scarcely discovered on the plains of cinema produce. Yes, for this is everything Casablanca wanted to be.

The love arc begins when Rambo, upon jumping from a plane into the jungle, meets his precious lady, local freedom fighter Co Bao (played by Julia Nickson-Soul, yes the very same actress who had a cameo in season three of SeaQuest DSV). They share something special and unique; Rambo’s Clark Gable to Bao’s Vivien Leigh, only better cos’ Gable never blew up buildings and shot people between the gentle moments. Devotion was redefined following their all too short intimacy. The Bronte’s did not truly understand love and affection, how could they? For they died long before civilisation was to witness the epitome of the genuine reflection of that preoccupying emotion. The scene: Rambo had just actualised the bond between his soul-mate and he, and, like many couples (Lizzy and that Darcy chap pop to mind), they went out to a gun-fight to celebrate. Unfortunately a mischievous bullet went and bludgeoned our little Bao in the sternum, and she was dead forever. A distraught Rambo, in a fit of vitriolic fury, was forced to massacre her dirty murderers, during which he cried a flow of crystalline ambrosia straight from his sentimental, recondite personal Eros. It was powerful imagery.

Rambo: First Blood Part 2, like the planet we scamper on, is an object of many layers. The violence is the crust which forms the rim around which all else is contained. The authoritarian corruption is the mantle which acts as a porous intermediary on proceedings. And at the core it’s a story of two people, brought together under the ugly stage of conflict, who knew one another as few people have, who typified what is it to have a divine, diaphanously enriched connection, one that transcends life itself.


Blogger midnitcafe said...

There is none better writer upon the cinematic cheese than you sir Fleming. Brilliant again.

12:17 pm  
Anonymous Duke De Mondo said...

i second mr brewster, this is sublime. long may the cheese-fest continue! i'm off to read this again.

7:20 pm  

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