First Blood unleashed the fury of Rambo’s rage. Now he’s in prison for his one-man war against a small-town police chief. His former commanding officer, Colonel Trautman, arrives with a promise to release Rambo, with two important conditions. First, Rambo must return to the Vietnamese prison camp from which he escaped and find the missing Americans who are rumored to be prisoners there. The second condition? Don’t rescue the prisoners. Only bring back photos. Under no circumstances engage the enemy. For Rambo, the first part is difficult. But the second is impossible.
While the second Rambo film was being shot, the producers asked me to write what’s called a novelization, i.e. a book version of the screenplay. Since I had nothing to do with the screenplay (Rambo returns to Vietnam to rescue POWs), I was reluctant. Two things changed my mind. One, the screenplay was so short that I thought I might be able to add something. Two, I began to think of a novelization as a chance to experiment with a new form. If you’ve ever seen a screenplay, you might understand. It’s just dialogue and a few stage directions. I added a lot of new things to the story. Fans of James Cameron should pay attention to the book’s first scene, which I amplified from an unused script he wrote for the film.
Out of print for 22 years, Rambo (First Blood Part II) is now available as an e-book, with a lengthy introduction.
In 2016, Gauntlet Press will release a signed, numbered, collector’s edition with numerous extras, including my essay “Rambo and Me: The Story behind the Story,” a definitive 1985 L. A. Times article by Pat H. Broeske, “The Curious Evolution of John Rambo,” as well as script pages by James Cameron and Sylvester Stallone that illustrate the novelizing process. The first time in hardback. For information, please go to www.gauntletpress.com.