Action Hero Showdown: Why John Rambo is the Baddest Man Ever Captured on Film

A showdown between Rambo, John McClane and the T-800 to determine who is the biggest bad ass of all-time.


One-Sentence Summation of Franchise
If a one-man killing machine suddenly goes crazy, it would be best not to mess with him, even if you've got a ton of armed dudes with you, because he will pimp-slap the shit out of you, then stab everyone and blow up the city you're in.

Our Hero, Folks
Meet John Rambo: Special Forces veteran, Vietnam POW and sufferer of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He can survive in a forest for months with only an old tarp and a hunting knife, and he can kill you in 17 interesting and horrifying ways just by shaking your hand.

In the words of Rambo First Blood Part II's tagline: "They sent him on a mission and set him up to fail. But they made one mistake. They forgot they were dealing with Rambo." In other words, Rambo is a lot like Dr. Dre: you should never, ever forget about him. Similarly, nor should you talk about guns like he ain't got none. (Rambo does have guns.)

Level of Hardness
In First Blood, John Rambo is pushed too far by local fatassed police and is chased into a nearby forest. After running from them for the whole afternoon, Rambo suddenly stops and is all, "Wait a second, I just remembered I'm this enormous badass with decades of military training being chased by seven fatty cops." That's when he takes out an armed helicopter by throwing a rock at it while scaling down a sheer cliff-face with his bare hands, which--come on, that's pretty fucking hard.

But this ends up being the equivalent of a unicorn blowing a rainbow compared to pretty much everything in the sequel, Rambo First Blood Part II, where Rambo is dropped into a Vietnamese jungle to rescue POWs. While there, Rambo manages to kill every single Russian soldier in the occupied country, retroactively winning the Vietnam War for America. Keep in mind this wasn't even his mission: he accomplishes this with the same sort of "Well shoot, as long as I'm here" attitude you or I might adopt while running errands and deciding to pick up some steaks at the butcher's.

Apparently because he'd gotten so good at it, in Rambo III our hero's flown to occupied Afghanistan, this time to single-handedly kill the shit out of another Soviet army (he does). While shooting hordes of tank-operating filthy commies, Rambo somehow manages to get shot once. Not a problem: Rambo smartly packs his gunshot wound with gun powder, lights that bitch on fire, then cauterizes the wound with a hot knife. To put the hardness of this into perspective for you: this is a man whose solution to getting shot is to cram explosives into his body and blow up the wound to clean it. Just for the record, that's not just hard--that's actually totally motherfucking insane.

Defining Scene
Rambo is sent into Vietnam to rescue American prisoners of war, but is double-crossed by an evil army guy named Murdock (sort of a tip-off there), who abandons the mission and leaves our hero to die behind enemy lines, the bastard.

Rambo gets captured by evil Communists, who act a lot like Nazis for some reason. The evil Commies force Rambo to use an old HAM radio so they can trick the Americans into coming back to rescue him and walk into a fiendish trap.

It would be an impossible situation for anybody but Rambo, who luckily forms a brilliant plan at the last second: he uses the radio to tell Murdock he's going to boot-fuck his slimy ass when he gets back to America, then caves in a dude's skull with the radio, then stabs his way out of the enemy camp with an enormous hunting knife, then grabs a gun the size of a European car and kills every Russian in a fifty mile radius.

Seriously-we never would have thought of that.

Here we see the culmination of those events, as Rambo arrives home and expresses his frustration with bureaucracy by unloading a couple thousand rounds of ammo into a computer bank, and threatening Murdock with the giant hunting knife. We probably would have just written an strongly worded email in Microsoft Word and never sent it, but this works too.

Mitigating Factors
In Rambo III, Rambo joins up with a mujahideen resistance movement to fight back the Red Menace. One of the primary mujahideen organizers at the time this movie came out? Osama bin Laden. Whoops. Well, at least they've got a plot for the next one. Rambo IV: Correcting Past Mistakes.

Rating: 9/10
It turns out Rambo's sort of a bad-ass.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!