The Origins of Stallone’s Rambo Franchise and its ‘First Blood’

The story of how ‘First Blood’ went from a novelized script in production hell, to a mega-blockbuster action franchise!

It seems almost unbelievable that we are less than a week away from witnessing the next chapter in the life of John Rambo.

What started with First Blood (1982) has gone on to become one of the most enduring and important ultimate action movie franchises of a whole generation so it’s high time to return to the origins of this legendary property.

Last Blood: Stallone’s John Rambo Returns to his Western Roots

Rambo’s Novel Beginnings

Rambo, no John at this point, begins life as the protagonist of the novel First Blood (1972) by author David Morrell. Morrell has written 28 Novels, including the novelizations for First Blood part 2 and Rambo 3 as well as the awesome Captain America comic mini series, the Chosen, in 2008.

First Blood is a fantastic novel and on reading it becomes very clear that it contains the source material for action movie gold. Hollywood agreed and snapped up the rights.

The 10 Best Sylvester Stallone Ultimate Action Movies!

There is a Special Circle in Hell for those in Pre-Production!

The world of pre production in the Hollywood system is often a strange parallel universe of what might of been. The producers of First Blood originally wanted Steve McQueen for Rambo and two legends of the screen, Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall turned down the role of the sheriff.

Kirk Douglas was initially hired to play Colonel Trautman. He stepped away from the project and was replaced by Rock Hudson who had to leave due to heart surgery and so the role was eventually given to Richard Crenna who gave a career defining performance.

Check it: Here are the Rambo movies ranked!

Casting wasn’t the only pre-production issue at play when getting First Blood to the screen. The film went through a number of rewrites after the rights were bought.

It wasn’t until Stallone came on board with the screenwriting excellence that he demonstrated in Rocky that elements of the movie, now considered legendary, such John not directly being responsible for any of the deaths in the movie and Rambo surviving at the end of the movie came into being. Stallone really did work diligently on the script, producing seven drafts.

What Ever Happened to the Planned Rambo TV Series?

You thought the pre-production was tough?!

Disasters in filming and post production led to the film almost never seeing the light of day. Half of the weaponry that was used in the production was stolen during filming.

When a rough-cut, that could have been as long as 3 hours and 30 mins, was shown to Stallone it almost lead to him buying the print and having it destroyed. Stallone himself oversaw the very heavy editing that saw the film cut down to 93 mins.

Despite this struggle the film caught the popular imagination and gave rise to a massive franchise encompassing all kinds of media. This led to a whole community of collectors of Rocky memorabilia and the movies have, at the time of writing, grossed 727 million dollars.

Remembering ‘Missing in Action 2’ Star John Wesley

The sad passing of actor and ultimate action hero John Wesley was confirmed this week.

A Vietnam war veteran of some distinction, John Wesley passed away aged 72 following a long battle with multiple myeloma.

He left behind a career to be proud of, with many fans remembering him for his work on sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

A Diverse Filmography

Wesley appeared in one episode of the Will Smith-led series, playing Dr. Hoover, the father of a school bully harassing Will’s cousin.

With 120 acting credits to his name, Wesley’s family have plenty to look back fondly on, but it was his work in the world of action cinema that is being celebrated here.

On Screen with Stallone and Chuck

While Wesley would probably rather forget appearing in the misguided mum and cop comedy thriller Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot! The role gave him a unique chance to work alongside Sylvester Stallone.

However, arguably his finest action movie turn came alongside Chuck Norris in the excellent Missing In Action 2: The Beginning.

In Missing in Action 2: The Beginning

A prequel to the original Cannon Films classic, Wesley played Franklin, a POW alongside Norris’ Colonel James Braddock.

A fellow prisoner in the North Vietnamese POW camp run by the sadistic Colonel Yin (Soon-Teck Oh) Franklin is among those forced to grow opium for a French drug runner named François (Pierre Issot).

It’s Franklin who ends up playing a pivotal role in proceedings too.

After Franklin contracts malaria, Braddock strikes a deal that sees him happily admit to a string of war crimes in exchange for medicine to treat the problem.

General Lin reneges on the deal though, giving Franklin a lethal dose of poison that puts Braddock on a course for martial arts-based vengeance.

Both Francois and General Lin get their comeuppance, as you would expect.

It could be argued that Wesley’s character provides the inspiration for the Missing In Action franchise as a whole.

For an acting with an impressive and wide-ranging CV, that’s not a bad legacy to have.

R.I.P. John.

Bruce Willis and Scott Adkins to Join Forces for ‘Run of the Hitman’

If this isn’t one of the most ultimate team-ups of all time, we don’t know what is!

Man this sounds awesome! We have Bruce Willis and Scott Adkins. Two of the greatest ultimate action movie stars of all time. Who come from different generations. But still both definitely kick ass. As far as ultimate tag-teams go, you couldn’t ask for a better action duo to join forces.

This new upcoming thriller is set to be titled Run of the Hitman (or alternatively titled Grey Justice perhaps?) and will star Willis and Adkins – as well as Inglourious Basterds standout Til Schweiger who played Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz.

Here’s everything we know so far…

Top 10 Scott Adkins Action Movies

Bruce Willis as Colonel Walker

At least according to a single page website posted by the global sales and production company “Pacific Film Trade”, we have a top billing for Willis as a character named “Colonel Walker”.

We also have this brief description of the film’s plot.

When a hitman loses his daughter after being abandoned by his country he’ll stop at nothing to get her back.

RUN OF THE HITMAN is a smart action film similar to classics of the genre like The Professional and The Long Kiss Goodnight.

Bruce Willis is Back for ‘Die Hard’ Prequel – ‘McClane’

Scott Adkins as Ziker

Best Scott Adkins Movies Close Range

Below Willis (and even below Schweiger), we have Scott Adkins listed as a character named Ziker. No word on who between Willis or Adkins would be “the hitman” in the description above, but it actually sounds more like this might be a single good guy vs. single bad guy scenario pitting Willis and Adkins against each other perhaps…

Til Schweiger’s character is listed as “Serpa” but with a conditional “TBC” by it, so that may be subject to change.

Savage Dog: An Awesome Revival of Cannon Style Badassness

Directed Stephen C. Sepher

The only other big tell for what the movie might be like (besides the tagline and the two films they claim it will be influenced by) is the director and producer names. Stephen C. Sepher has some solid action credits to his name already with Heist and Dead On Arrival.

Although, producer Steven Stabler seems to be best known for comedies like Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin and Beverly Hills Ninja.

The IMDB page for the film also lists a writer (Billy Jay) and another character role for Christopher Rob Bowen.

We’ll keep you posted as more details come available. But rest assured, if this can make it through production – it should be a truly ultimate combo on screen together. High hopes for it!

The Fanatic: John Travolta Deserves Some Ultimate Recognition

Fred Durst’s ‘The Fanatic‘ might not be a critical hit, but it does feature John Travolta at his best!

I may be the only person on the internet that is giving The Fanatic (now on VOD) a positive review. The end of this article may explain why I am so biased for it. It currently sits at 18% on Rotten Tomatoes and is being savaged by critics.

I’ll say this about it. John Travolta acts his ass off in it and it’s told with a visual flair by its director Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit fame, based on an incident from his life.

John Travolta as Moose

John Travolta stars as Moose, a man child on the autistic spectrum who loves movies and the people who star in them. He tools around Hollywood on a Vespa and dresses up as an English policeman to support himself and his hobby of collecting autographs and movie memorabilia. It turns out Moose’s favorite actor of all time is one Hunter Dunbar (played by Devon Sawa) and he is coming to do a book signing.

So Moose spends all of his money on a vest worn in one of the movies in hopes of getting it signed and shows up at the appointed night to meet his hero. Turns out Mr. Dunbar is not having a particularly good night and cuts the signing short. After a nasty confrontation where neither man was at their best, Moose’s obsession to have his prop signed is triggered as the true fan becomes a stalker.

A Familiar Story in Hollywood

The story of a fan that becomes fanatical has been told numerous times. Check out our man Michael Behn in his first starring role in 1981s The Fan. Or Wesley Snipes and Robert DeNiro in 1996’s The Fan. Or the gold standard of Kathy Bates in Steven King’s Misery from 1990.

We the viewer have sympathy for both characters. We feel a little sorry for Moose and his existence in the seedier side of LA. When Dunbar reacts the way that he does to this obsessed fan, we understand his point of view. From merely wanting a picture and autograph, Moose shows up an Dunbar’s home, trespassing inside of his house , accidentally kills the maid and the final act ends with Dunbar drugged and tied to a bed as Moose acts out scenes from his favorite movies.

Why the Harsh Reviews for ‘The Fanatic’?

I think what is turning everybody off about this movie is it’s brutal resolution to two characters we have come to care about. Moose is not evil but is a byproduct of the spectrum disorder he suffers from and truly doesn’t understand his actions or the consequences of them. Dunbar is a father whose also a celebrity that is concerned about the safety of his son. Hence, the collision course that these two characters are on.

I also think that all this talk about this movie being another nail in the career of John Travolta is premature. Look at all the stars of the 1980s – Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Cage – their output has been widely uneven in recent years. But Travolta? This is the man who did Pulp Fiction, Broken Arrow, Face/Off, Swordfish, From Paris With Love, The Generals Daughter and that’s just in the action genre.

If you still don’t think he’s got what it takes, check him out in the criminally under rated Killing Season from 2013 or the eminently watchable I Am Wraith from 2016. This man is due for another career resurgence and with his new badass shaved head look, I predict it will be in an action movie!

John Travolta is Great with Grandmas

Now, onto why my review may be a little biased. I recently met Mr. Travolta at Wizard World Chicago this past month. I also took my 86 year old mother who recently had a stroke and is confined to a wheelchair along to meet him. He has been her favorite movie star since the days of Grease and Saturday Night Fever in the late 1970s. When Mr. Travolta set eyes on her, he lit up. He greeted my mother with “Hello Beautiful” and “Thank you for coming to see me”.

He helped her out of her wheelchair and held her hand and supported her by the waist as he talked to her the entire time. My mom was so star struck she forgot she was having her picture taken. Mr. Travolta then helped her back into her chair and told her “I love you” as he waived goodby to us. Mr. Travolta graciousness made a lifetime memory for my mom.

John Travolta is a true movie star in my eyes and for that, I will always be a fan of The Fanatic!

Final Wave of Action Films Announced for Fantastic Fest 2019

Following up the first and second waves, we know have a final list of recommended action movies for Fantastic Fest ’19

So, along with a world premiere of Knives Out, this year’s Fantastic Fest is looking pretty solid for action. The festival – which is celebrating its 15th year – has seen the likes of world premieres for recent modern action hits like John Wick, Machete Kills, Red Dawn, Zombieland and Bad Times at the El Royale.

Pulling from a diverse group of international filmmakers, here are the final wave (mostly) action films. If you’re interested in attending the festival in Austin, Texas, tickets can be purchased here.

I LOST MY BODY

France, 2019
US Premiere, 82 min
Director – Jérémy Clapin
A severed hand escapes from a laboratory and sets off on a series of adventures across Paris, determined to find its owner.

JALLIKATTU

India, 2019
US Premiere, 91 min
Director – Lijo Jose Pellissery
The line between man and beast dissolves when a buffalo escapes slaughter in a sleepy South Indian village, leaving a trail of chaos and explosive machismo in its wake. It’s a landlocked JAWS, a bestial 2001, and a contemporary MAD MAX: FURY ROAD all rolled into one.

NIGHT DRIVE

USA, 2019
World Premiere, 82 min
Directors – Meghan Leon & Bradford Baruh
When Russell picks up an enigmatic young woman through a ride-share app, his boring evening perks up. But all bets are off after they hit a guy with the car in this charming comedy of errors.

RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE

Canada, 2019
World Premiere, 80 min
Director – Jay Baruchel
A comic book writer visits the town where a serial killer previously wreaked havoc, only to encounter a new series of murders that strangely mirror the deaths he created in his comics.

WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS

USA, 2019
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Marc Meyers
When Val, Beverly, and Alexis meet a group of fun-loving dudes in the parking lot of a heavy metal concert, they all decide to have an after-party, but it isn’t long before the group finds themselves fighting for their lives.

Top 10 Scott Adkins Action Movies

Best Scott Adkins Movies

Ranking the most ultimate action films of the great Scott Adkins!

Best Scott Adkins Movies
Think you can kick these best Scott Adkins picks harder than this?

At this point in his career, Scott Adkins should be considered an action movie titan. The man has held down the action genre like no other has for almost 15 years. In my opinion, as a martial arts film / action movie performer, he has done enough so far throughout his career to have him sitting at the table with the likes of Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sho Kosugi and so on…

And he damn sure has the resume to back that claim up. Don’t believe me? Well, let me draw up a few examples for you. 

Here are the Top 10 Ultimate Scott Adkins Action Movies!

Scott Adkins Boyka Undisputed

But before I get into it, let me list some of the honorable mentions. Movies of Scott Adkins that are just as great as the ones on the list, but just couldn’t find a place to fit in:

This list also does not include any selections where Scott is not a main (or at least major character) in the story. It also does not include any of his television appearances. Will also note that if you have any opinions on what your picks for Top 10 would be, please leave them in the comments below!

Now, let’s get to the goods.

10) Hard Target 2 (2016)

Best Scott Adkins Movies

While not the action masterpiece the original was, Hard Target 2 contains enough great action, gorgeous cinematography, and awesome stunts (performed in very obvious large majority by Scott himself) to stand out on its own as a great Adkins action flick.

Full UAMC Review | Buy Hard Target 2 Online

9) Close Range (2015)

Best Scott Adkins Movies Close Range

Adkins & master of action Isaac Florentine re-team to give us an action packed modern day western filled with the usual assortment of excellent fight choreography and stunts, plus with added awesome firefights, making this another winner in their already amazing filmography.

Buy Close Range Online Here

8) Accident Man (2018)

While his appearance in a major comic book movie (Doctor Strange in case you were wondering) was minute to say the least, it all worked out in the end, since obviously the action gods were saving him for a way better comic book character: Mike Fallon, the Accident Man.

And with all the amazing action involved, guided by the direction of Jesse V. Johnson and the choreography of Tim Man, this is surely better than 10 Doctor Strange movies.

Full UAMC Review | Buy Accident Man Online

7) Undisputed 2 (2006)

Best Scott Adkins Movies Undisputed 2

The one that started it all. The one that endeared him to action fans around the world. The debut of one of the most awesome action movie characters in recent memory, Yuri Boyka. Scott & Isaac would start a path here with this new age action classic that will see them become instant action movie legends.

Buy Undisputed 2 Online Here

6) Triple Threat (2019)

While Triple Threat is without a doubt the martial arts version of Avengers: Endgame, Scott, playing the special forces antagonist in this one, sadly only has one fight in this movie. (But we do get some amazing bouts from  Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Michael Jai White, and Michael Bisping.)

But his deliciously devilish performance, extreme prowess with a gun in the shootout sequences, great stunts and his one fight easily being the best fight in a movie filled to the brim with incredibly marvelous ones, make Triple Threat’s inclusion on the list hard to argue.

Full UAMC Review | Buy Triple Threat Online

5) Avengement (2019)

The finest performance of Scott’s career by far, mixed in with blazingly brutal, non stop action scenes make this not only one of the best action movies of this year, but also one of the best movies of Scott’s career. You can’t go wrong with the true Adkins ultimate classic Avengement.

Full UAMC Review | Buy Avengement Online

10 Ultimate Reasons to Watch Scott Adkins’ ‘Avengement’

4) Undisputed 3 (2010)

Best Scott Adkins Movies Undisputed 3

As a follow up to Undisputed 2 (and stronger than the fourth installment), Undisputed III: Redemption manages to surpass its predecessor in every way with a tremendous lead performance from Scott, rich supporting cast, great story and some downright awe inspiring fight scenes.

Buy Undisputed 3 Online Here

3) Savage Dog (2017)

Jesse Johnson’s ode to Joseph Conrad, Savage Dog plays like the ultimate Michael Dudikoff/Cannon Group movie that they never made. Unforgiving story mixed with brutal & gory action, and a fierce, at times almost scary, lead performance from Scott make this the darkest movie on this list. But it’s legit great.

Full UAMC Review | Buy Savage Dog Online

2) Boyka: Undisputed (2016)

Boyka Undisputed Scott Adkins 2016

Scott’s finest hour in the role that made him an icon of the genre. Coupled with the best action scenes of the series, a stupendous performance from Scott, and a staggering but beautifully heartfelt arc for the character of Boyka, Boyka: Undisputed is the pinnacle of the franchise that keeps getting better with every entry.

Full UAMC Review | Buy Boyka: Undisputed Online

1) Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear (2013)

As flawless an action masterpiece as they come. In my opinion, not only the best movie Scott & Isaac have made so far, not only one of the best action movies of this past decade, but simply one of the best action movies ever made, bar none. The action genre does not get much better than Ninja: Shadow of a Tear.

Full UAMC Review | Buy Ninja 2 Online

And that’s the top 10. But these are just the picks of one. What are your top 10 Adkins flicks? I would love to hear them. Because we’re all followers in The Church of Adkins, so let’s all join together to preach his word… 

In Scott We Trust.

VHS Vault: Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991)

Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson forever!

“Better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool” – Just one of the many classic lines that make Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man one of the most underrated of the buddy/action/comedy genre.

The story follows longtime friends played by Mickey Rourke (Harley Davidson) and Don Johnson (Marlboro Man) who reunite after quite some time. They end up trying to save the foreclosure of a friend’s bar by robbing a bank’s armored car. Only to discover that its content is not money, but a new street drug.

A True Ultimate Classic

This movie has everything going for it, playing out like a modern western. The buddy chemistry between Rourke and Johnson is what fuels it, while seeing so many familiar faces along the way makes it so much fun.

The rest of the all-star cast includes Vanessa Williams, Tia Carrere, Chelsea Field, Giancarlo Esposito, Kelly Hu and Robert Ginty. The bad guys are played perfectly by Tom Sizemore and a kevlar trenchcoat wearing Daniel Baldwin.

Bar Fights and Motorcycle Chases

Whatever you are looking for in an action comedy, this movie has it. When I say comedy, it doesn’t feel overdone or spoil the action that ensues. When you have bar fights with wrestling star Big John Studd and Branscombe Richmond in the first half hour, you know you’re in the middle of the kind of classic style movie they just don’t make anymore.

Motorcycle chases, falls from windows/rooftops onto cars AND pools, not to mention a particularly awesome shootout in an abandoned airfield are just a couple more highlights.

The Greatest Action Soundtrack Ever?

What seals the deal for me is the killer rock n roll soundtrack, provided by the likes of Bon Jovi, LA Guns, Steve Marriott/Peter Frampton, Blackeyed Susan, Roadhouse, Shooting Gallery and The Screaming Jets. Even Vanessa Williams and Waylon Jennings provide songs as well.

Definitely recommended if you like your movies and your ass kickin, old school.

John Woo’s ‘Face/Off’ (1997) Latest to Get Reboot News

No word on Nicolas Cage and John Travolta reprising their face swapping roles.

These are truly unsettling times. We have OFFICIAL news from Deadline that Paramount Pictures is developing a reboot / remake of the 1997 action classic Face/Off! And with that, truly nothing is sacred anymore.

Face/Off – the original one – stars John Travolta and Nicolas Cage in an ultimate blend of action and odd-ball sci-fi comedy. And it features great cinematic action moments like this.

Nicolas Cage in ‘Face/Off’ – The 90s Action Hero We Never Knew We Needed (Part 3)

Is a Face/Off Remake Happening?

This is not just a rumor, folks! Paramount has assigned the reboot to writer Oren Uziel whose only credits seem to include Sonic the Hedgehog (not yet released) and The Cloverfield Paradox. The Fast & Furious producer Neal Moritz is on board as well along with Executive Producer David Permut.

No word on the involvement of Woo, Travolta or Cage – but it seems highly unlikely any of them would be involved.

John Woo Takes a Dual-Pistoled Leap into Hollywood

An Unsettling Trend of Reboots

If this is a money grab, it’s in bad taste and probably not a great idea. Apparently Hollywood is just bursting with new ideas on which old 80s and 90s action movies to remake. Adding Face/Off to a list which includes:

And, we can probably be sure at this point that this list is very much incomplete. So, hold your original loved movies tight, and pray that reboots aren’t coming for them. RIP Face/Off, we’ll always cherish your insanity of existence.

What is an “Action Film”

Defining the most ultimate of film genres.

To most, action films are just that – ACTION films. You might not even think the genre title needs a definition. Yet, for many film fans the term is sometimes misused and very often misunderstood.

So what is an “action film”?

The Top 100 Ultimate Action Movies of All Time

The Action Film Genre

According to the Wikipedia definition, an ACTION FILM “is a film genre in which the protagonist or protagonists are thrust into a series of events that typically include violence, extended fighting, physical feats, and frantic chases.

The definition goes on to cite the importance of an ACTION HERO and their plight through life-threatening situations and against a main villain. The article goes on to talk about CGI and the rise of the genre in the 1970s as a spectacle-styled genre made to wow audiences in cinemas.

The Ultimate List of the Best Action Movie Hero Names

What Really Makes an Action Movie?

The definition above might be boilerplate, but at the heart of the genre, the “action” moniker really just means that the films have lots of “action” on screen. These can be fist fights, they can be car chases, they can be shootouts, they can be any number of things. 

Truth be told though, perhaps the majority of American films (at least counting the Blockbusters of the last 30 or 40 years) have many of these elements.

Almost every movie has a fight of some sort. Some might be less physical and more psychological. Just about every movie has a hero and a villain as well. “Action” has really just become a catchall term that is usually used to tack onto other movie types when action occurs.

How ‘The Blues Brothers’ Blends Comedy, Music and Ultimate Action

Action Hybrid Movies

These “Action Hybrid Movies” allow for crossover genres where the heart of the story can be comedy, romance, suspense, etc… but allow for some level of spectacle – which is often the action genre definition.

But again, these get tricky. Some movies can easily be given this hybrid qualifier, while others might still have these action elements, but not formally used in the marketing or classification of the film.

The Ultimate Action Movie Genre Cross-Over Debate

But What is an ULTIMATE Action Movie?

One of the goals of the Ultimate Action Movie Club is to help define, and to appreciate, the ACTION film genre. That means both honoring the pure action classics. Films predominantly from the 80s and 90s before the genre moved further into hybridization.

What makes the 80s and 90s action movies so ultimate?

As well as looking at the roots of the action genre, whether those be western, spy or war films of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Along with again delving into the 2000s and modern times at these new hybrid action films including sci-fi, martial arts and neo-action.

Honoring the Brave Colonial Space Marines from ‘Aliens’

Aliens Space Marines

From Vietnam to Exomoon LV-426, how James Cameron combines war and horror into an ultimate action movie!

Aliens Space Marines

For a franchise which has endured the likes of Alien 3 and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, the original two features – Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) – stand tall as tentpoles of sci-fi action and horror.

While Alien excels in its pure suspense and horror motifs, Aliens is a notable favorite with the Ultimate Action Movie Club for its outstanding contributions to the action genre.

James Cameron, who was just coming off the success of his indie sci-fi action breakout The Terminator, turned Alien into a true box office smash that elevated Sigourney Weaver from a heroic final girl to a bonafide action hero.

However, one of the most timeless (and at times – odd) memories from revisiting Aliens now are those darn Colonial Marines!

Colonial Space Marines

A good portion of Aliens’ plot centers around the Colonial Space Marines that are sent to investigate the lost-contact terraforming colony Hadley’s Hope on Exomoon LV-426. The same celestial spot where Ellen Ripley’s Nostromo initially encountered the alien spaceship (and eggs) from the original film.

Ripley is eventually convinced to join the Colonial Marines on their expedition, along with Carter J. Burke (Paul Reiser) and the android Bishop (Lance Henriksen). Ripley is rudely introduced to the world of the hired mercenary space marines whose jovial, in-your-face attitudes seem to have not changed since the 1970s.

Which is a fun element to add to the story. A big part of the original film’s success came from the juxtaposition in tone between when the space crew were enjoying their camaraderie, against when they were isolated and alone fighting their alien stalker.

7 Scenes That Prove Terminator 2 is Arnold’s Ultimate Action Movie

An Ultimate Cast

Aliens Space Marines

However, Aliens takes things up a notch quite a bit. In James Cameron’s third script (after The Terminator and a first draft of Rambo: First Blood Part II), the young action auteur tries to capture the dialect and ethos of the young and rambunctious Vietnam soldiers who are forever stuck in their destructive youths.

The cast itself is really quite superb for the time with Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton and Jenette Goldstein all being very solid actors, as well as great role for Al Matthews as Sergeant Apone (RIP to a true legend…). The only blemish might be William Hope as commanding officer Lieutenant Gorman, but you’re supposed to hate him anyway so it works perfectly.

Watch: What Makes ‘Aliens’ an ULTIMATE Action Classic

An Un-Ironic Starship Troopers

Cameron has openly cited that much of his inspiration and research for the Aliens plot and Colonial Marines came from the Vietnam War as well as Robert A Heinlein’s novel Starship Troopers. And once the movie version of the latter came out in 1997, we were able to really see the similarities laid out.

Yet, what Starship Troopers captured was probably more in-line with the novel’s intentions. A certain naivety to the characters was perhaps better brought out in the version by writer Edward Neumeier and director Paul Verhoeven.

At the end of the day, Cameron’s Colonial Marines were always meant to fail. Much like America in the Vietnam war, they were ultimately overly and ill equipped to fight something which they didn’t truly understand.

The Terminator Was Almost Completely Different and Had a Totally Lame Ending

RIP Colonial Marines

Aliens Space Marines

And while Aliens is quite fun and entertaining in the beginning (I mean, we do spend A LOT of time with these marines as they show off all their tech and gear – and a very overdrawn “drop” sequence), the purpose of the story is to find Ripley again one-on-one against the alien monster.

It’s almost a shame, because the Colonial Marines deserved probably more of a fitting finish for the story arcs they presented. It’s as if there are two movies in Aliens, a direct sequel to Alien where Ripley returns to Exomoon LV-426 to get revenge for the murders of her friends and crew. (Along with her journey of dealing with her lost – and regained – chance at motherhood.)

Against another true space Vietnam saga where the Colonial Marines should have gotten their chance to learn from their hubris and bounce back to destroy the aliens on their own. Which in a small way they do, but at the price of all the best characters besides Michael Biehn’s Corporal Dwayne Hicks – who is even knocked out for the final battle and defeat.