The Most Hilarious Rambo Rip-offs From Around the World
Some like to think of Rambo as a purely American creation because what could be more American than a guy who gets jerked around by cops, goes on a deadly rampage, becomes heavily addicted to PEDs and eventually gets his own children's cartoon? But no, the truth is that every culture has its own Rambo, and believe it or not, some of their stories are even more ridiculous than the ones Sylvester Stallone and some coked-up Hollywood screenwriters came up with...
‘Second Blood’ (Kuwait)
I’ll be honest: I’m not entirely convinced this movie exists. The only information about it online claims that it stars a Kuwaiti bodybuilder as Yousef Rambu, supposedly described by the director as an “even manlier, more macho version of Sylvester Stallone’s iconic hero.” What makes him manlier? It’s probably the part where he gets subjected to Chinese torture for 34 weeks and becomes impervious to pain, whereas Rambo’s time under torture just gave him PTSD.
The only images of this movie on the internet appear to be 1) a blurry screenshot of some soldiers in a jungle; 2) what looks like an Instagram beach photo of the bodybuilder star; and 3) this poster showing nothing but Rambu’s back:
According to Wikipedia, Second Blood is getting a sequel called... Second Blood. Not Second Second Blood or 2econd Blood; just Second Blood. That’s a shocking lack of originality from the people who came up with the name “Rambu.”
‘Strike Commando’ (Italy)
Strike Commando is a real movie, even though its trailer is indistinguishable from an intentionally over-the-top parody trailer for a fictional Rambo rip-off.
Now, it may look to you like this movie is just two hours of Great Value Rambo mowing down Vietnamese people with machine guns, but that’s not accurate. He also kills plenty of American and Russian people, and at one point, he pauses the carnage to comfort a dying Vietnamese boy who, with his dying breath, asks him, “Tell me about Disneyland.” Non-Rambo complies and tearfully tells him they have popcorn there, “and all you gotta do is climb a tree to go eat it,” and they also have cotton candy, chocolate milk and a magic genie. (Note: this movie came out 5 years before Aladdin.) It’s unclear if the writers had ever seen Disneyland or knew what it was.
I have to give a special shout-out to Syndicate Sadists, an Italian crime movie that borrowed the “Rambo” name from the original First Blood novel seven years before the Stallone adaptation, technically becoming the first Rambo rip-off. Unfortunately, I can’t embed the trailer here because, as an Italian movie made in 1970s, it was legally obligated to include at least one pair of plainly visible breasts. (Lightly NSFW trailer here.)
‘Rampage,’ aka ‘Turkish Rambo’ (Turkey)
Turkish Rambo stars bodybuilder Serdar Kebapçılar of Turkish Rocky (and presumably, Turkish Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot) fame as a commando who must infiltrate a terrorist camp and rescue some innocent villagers. The most notable thing about this movie is that they managed to get a prop rocket launcher, and by God, they made good use of it. The English dub improved those already awesome scenes by adding the sound of a bathroom drain plug being removed every time Turkish Rambo launches a rocket (“launches” might be a generous word, though).
By the way, if the big bad at the end of that clip looks familiar to you, that’s because he also played a big bad in another Turkish Rambo rip-off called Wild Blood, which sticks closer to the plot of First Blood with some notable changes, like the addition of zombies at the start of the movie. The zombies never appear again, but we do see another paranormal occurrence when a man’s body magically transforms into a mannequin while falling off a cliff.
‘Slash,’ aka ‘Slash Exterminator’ (Philippines)
The trailer for Slash, the Filipino answer to Rambo (and apparently also The Terminator), contains no less than 28 explosions within one minute and 52 seconds. Those less than two minutes might be a better action movie than anything that has come out of Hollywood this decade.
Like in Rampage, the filmmakers behind Slash managed to get their hands on a rocket launcher. The difference is that this one actually worked, and they made sure everyone knew it.
The plot for this one is supposed to be something about Filipino Rambo (who is actually from Spain) single-handedly stopping a communist uprising, but it doesn’t really matter. The official synopsis should just be the word “Boom.”
‘The Intruder,’ aka ‘Rambu’ (Indonesia)
The Intruder starts with some gang members hassling an old woman for having the nerve to get run over by their car, when a Good Samaritan comes out of nowhere and completely owns their asses with a little rubber ball. As the gang members flee from this mysterious juggler vigilante, the group’s leader promises to hunt him down. The hero replies, “Any time, pal. You can find me around here. The name is Rambu.” Cue 1980s synths.
But maybe telling these pissed-off gangsters his name and where he lives wasn’t such a good idea since they promptly find and kill his wife. The rest of the movie is about Rambu going full Rambo to kill the gang members using his wits, strength, the occasional pool ball, and yes, that rubber ball again. That’s right: Rambu is so badass that he doesn’t need guns or rocket launchers — real men only kill using their bare hands or sporting equipment. This message is somewhat undercut when he gets a machine gun anyway at the end of the movie and can barely contain his excitement.
‘Missing in Action’ and ‘Missing in Action 2’ (USA)
Did you know that, despite not directing the movie, James Cameron came up with much of Rambo: First Blood Part II? And, by extension, also much of Chuck Norris’ Missing in Action and Missing in Action 2: The Beginning? According to Hollywood lore, Cameron’s Rambo script was gathering so much hype in 1983 that Cannon Studios rushed two Chuck Norris-led rip-offs into production and released them both before the Stallone version could come out.
The first Missing in Action has the same basic plot as Rambo: a ‘Nam vet goes back to Southeast Asia to rescue some American POWs everyone forgot about and kill mountains of Vietnamese (or at least Vietnamese-looking) people in the process.
The difference is that in the Chuck Norris version, the enemy is Vietnam, whereas for Rambo, the enemy is everyone. If anything, this franchise’s big mistake was not ripping off enough. For the prequel, they just showed the protagonist being tortured by the Viet Cong for two hours and emerging as a relatively well-adjusted American patriot (who kills dozens of people) when a movie about Chuck Norris being harassed by small-town cops and then karate chopping them to death in the forest would have been infinitely more interesting.
Thumbnail: Dark Maze Studios, TriStar Pictures