Sylvester Stallone plays a former Green Beret, a ‘killing machine’ who’s so tough if there had been one more of him, the Viet Cong wouldn’t have had a chance.
Arriving unshaven at the quiet community of Hope, he’s greeted by sheriff Brian Dennehy, who does not invite him to join the local Lion’s club. In fact, Dennehy won’t even let him linger for a sandwich. This upsets the taciturn Stallone and he winds up at the slammer. Beating up the whole station house, he escapes into the woods.
Richard Crenna shows up, a Green Beret colonel who trained Stallone. They trap Stallone in a mine and blast the dickens out of it with a rocket. But our boy commandeers an army truck and machine gun and goes back to level Dennehy’s quiet little town.
Director Ted Kotcheff has all sorts of trouble with this mess, aside from credibility. Supposedly, the real villain here is society itself, which invented a debacle like Vietnam and must now deal with its lingering tragedies. But First Blood cops out completely on that one, not even trying to find a solution to Stallone’s problems.