The good news is that First Blood gets its due. We knew this when Fahey showed us screens of Hope, Wash. The bad news is that Rambo: The Video Game looks like something for the PlayStation 2. It just looks terrible. Which, of course, means day-one purchase for me.
Make no mistake, I'm a big Rambo fan. First Blood is one of my ten favorite movies, and despite what the name has come to stand for since, it was a critical success, too. Roger Ebert gave it three stars. Stallone's tirade to Richard Crenna, laying out the futility of his existence post-Vietnam, legitimately shaped my very young understanding of what war did to people, and what that one did in particular. But then it devolved from an action flick with a real point to a self-parodying symbol of Reagan-era belligerence. Still, the second and third films, I gotta admit, were entertaining as hell in their own way.
As I said about Ride to Hell, this game will definitely fill a void—playing as John Rambo versus the weekend warriors up in the soggy forest outside town. Kicking the deputies' asses looks like a cutscene; that'll probably be followed by the game's obligatory stealth level as you escape from jail. (But then, actively killing the cops? That's quite a departure.) But if you're going for consistency, pretty much all of whatever stands for First Blood Part II should be stealth kills. Making that interesting for a brand so closely identified with empty-the-belt action is a near insurmountable challenge.
Reef Entertainment has been working on this since 2011. Unfortunately, looks count for a lot, and what we see here suggests a game that didn't end up with a budget to match its ambition, or name recognition.
I don't see Rambo nailing a guy to a tree with an arrow through the forehead or sewing a wound shut. The most iconic badass shit Rambo does in this trailer, the mud camo, gets my Joe Bob Drive-In Academy Award for most unintentionally hilarious trailer highlight of 2013. Anyway, this game is out in August, PS3, 360 and PC.