First Blood First Blood
Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen
16:9 Enhanced
2.0 Dolby Digital Surround
Running Commentary by David Morrell
Audio enhanced Motion Menus
Trivia Game
Screen Access
Theatrical Trailer
Production Notes
Talent Bios
Closed Captioned
Spanish Subtitles
Featurette: First Blood: A Look Back

96 Minutes
Rated: R
Catalog #: 60465
Amaray Keep Case Packaging
Average Bitrate: 5.24Mb/s

Based on the novel by DAVID MORRELL  Produced by BUZZ FEITSHANS  Directed by TED KOTCHEFF

Sylvester Stallone broke out of the Rocky character with his portrayal of John Rambo, a Vietnam veteran who ends up on the wrong side of the law in First Blood. Rambo is a loner who has just learned of the death of a fellow Green Beret member when he walks into a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Brian Dennehy is the small-town sheriff who keeps close tabs on everything going on in his town and intercepts Rambo and escorts him to the town limits. Some "friendly" advice is not taken and Rambo ends up getting arrested. During his processing at the sheriff's office, flashbacks of his capture and subsequent torture in Vietnam push Rambo over the brink and he breaks free from the police and escapes on a stolen motorcycle. The man hunt for Rambo consumes the sheriff who, against the advise of Rambo's former commander Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna), calls out over two hundred law enforcement personnel to comb the mountains. Civilian Law Enforcement training doesn't compare to Special Forces training as Rambo uses all his cunning, skills and a vast array of weaponry to elude his pursuers.

Artisan Entertainment has picked up most of the Carolco Pictures and Vestron Picture properties and has issued a really first rate edition of one of Stallone's better pictures. Utilizing the advanced features available through the DVD platform, the 16x9 enhanced widescreen presentation is visually stunning. The image is crisp and sharp throughout and maintains its good looks even through the extremely dark scenes. There were no noticeable digital compression artifacts present, which is excellent, considering all the action. The Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack is very well represented with good use of the surrounds. The commentary track from the novel author David Morrell is interesting and compares several aspects of the final film to those in his original novel published in 1972.

Artisan has produced some appealing menus for this edition, which are alive with audio clips from the film as well as video segments. The Scene index is rather cumbersome, requiring two steps of menus to get to the actual chapter stops. Each index screen is active with motion segments from the section of the film. I personally am not a fan of the scene index used within DVD. It seems like a lot of work to implement and serves no real benefit only because it takes so many steps to get to anything. Coming from the concept of chapter access on LaserDisc, screen index seems a waste. The menu a little odd in navigation, for example enabling the audio commentary is buried three menus deep. Artisan was gracious and enabled the use of the "Audio" button on the remote to kick the commentary on and off.

Production notes and Cast / Crew information screens are well designed, with easy to read type. As a bonus, they are each narrated and step automatically to the next screen when the narration is complete. The theatrical teaser and trailer are also included. The trivia game included is mildly entertaining - once. You must answer each question correctly to proceed to the next question. A wrong answer will lead you back to the original question. There is no score taking, just some mild personal satisfaction at realizing how little you know about some of the behind-the-scenes facts of the film. Also lacking is the "featurette". An opportunity to include some interesting insights with the filmmakers is wasted with what is little more than a 4 minute montage of clips from the film accompanied by some new music.

No equivalent LaserDisc edition was available for review so comparisons could not be included here. If your a fan of the genre, or a Sylvester Stallone fan, First Blood is an excellent title to add to your library.

Updated: November 1, 1998
Copyright ©1998 Blam Entertainment Group