I like to think of the legend of Rambo to be an evolutionary one. He first appears as a weathered and tortured anti-hero who happens to be the best of the best, hiding from people who have done him wrong. First Blood happens to be a powerful film conveying an important message against those discriminating against 'Nam veterans. Somewhere along the way, Rambo went from an artist painting a tapestry of death to a bonafide American action hero who sports his curly Wop hair pinned back with a greasy headband worthy of the Karate Kid.
In the original Morrell book, Rambo dies. However, that is non-profitable and a pussy's way out, so George P. Cosmatos decides to resurrect him. While I don't particularly favor directors who taint an amazing film, It is true that Stallone held the reigns over this film. That would explain the jump from First Blood Part II to Tombstone. Rambo is back to help win the war. So while Rambo mines rocks in prison, Trautman comes to him with a mission. A mission so fierce, that Rambo couldn't say no. Rescuing P.O.W's has never been so difficult, especially when there is a traitor in their midst's.
This is by my knowledge, one of the first action films to incorporate the usage of a cartoony sadistic Russian as the villain. As we all very well know, this political tactic is still being used to this day (I.E. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls) It seems that people are starting to wise up to Spielberg's fetish for portraying National Socialists as an evil entity. So Rambo gets captured and in an intense scene, withstands the most extreme tortures.
From here on out, Rambo is alive due to his extreme hatred towards his own country. This is the only real aspect that carries on through the first film. In First Blood, John Rambo is blown away at the reasoning of his rejection by the country he fought for. This time, he is left to die by his own country. The final words go along the lines of "I would die for my country and I want my country to love me as much as I love it" Strong words coming from a strong man.
After his escape, Rambo takes on a chopper piloted by an evil Soviet. It's instances like these that make me aspire to create a syndicated television show facing Rambo off against various celebrities and Hollywood monsters, just to watch Stallone kick as much ass as he always does. First Blood Part II is by no means an excellent film, but it brings the character formerly known as Rambo back, and I love it for that. After all, Rambo is known for its political content mixed with Ass-whuppin. Bring on Rambo V.