“First Blood” – More than just a great action movie, the first entry in the “Rambo” series – directed by Ted Kotcheff – is a powerful anti-war opus. John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is a war machine who has had all human emotion stripped away by the horrors of battle, or so it seems through much of the film as he methodically eliminates the officers of a corrupt small-town sheriff (Brian Dennehy).
Underscored by its revenge scenario and dark cinematography, “First Blood” is an emotionally charged character study. When Rambo drops his weapons and delivers a sobbing, stuttering speech to his former commander (Richard Crenna), the impact is undeniable.
– John Hansen, “Best of the action genre,” NDSU Spectrum, May 2000