Analysis of Rambo

Summary Rambo is a prisoner offered a mission to find P.O.W.'s in Vietnam, with the reward of a congressional pardon. He is given advanced equipment for safety and prepares for the mission by sharpening his knife and loading his weapon. His skydiving mission goes awry, but he meets Co Bao and they continue to navigate through the jungle. Rambo and Co sneak into a prison camp and rescue an American P.O.W. They are sold out and ambushed but manage to fight off enemy attacks. Rambo seeks revenge on the soldiers who killed Co and escapes with the rescued POWs. He also seeks revenge on Murdock, confronting him with a knife before contemplating his future.



Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:

Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Rambo Rambo starts off as a hardened prisoner with a lot of combat experience but is traumatized by his experiences in war. He eventually agrees to a mission despite his skepticism and distrust of his superiors. Throughout the mission, he shows his skills as a fighter and survivor, with a strong determination to rescue the P.O.W.s. After the death of his comrade Co, he becomes consumed with rage and seeks revenge on those who killed him. Despite his trauma and the odds against him, Rambo remains a tough and resourceful warrior, willing to risk everything to succeed. While Rambo's character arc is well-developed, it lacks significant emotional depth. Rambo's trauma is glossed over and his transition from reluctant participant to determined warrior is abrupt. Additionally, Rambo's revenge mission could be interpreted as glorifying violence and perpetuating toxic masculinity.
To improve Rambo's character arc, there could be more emphasis on his psychological trauma and the effects it has on his actions and decisions. Additionally, there could be more focus on his relationships with other characters, particularly his comrades and the P.O.W.s he rescues. A more nuanced approach to his revenge mission could also be explored, with a greater examination of the consequences of violence and the toll it takes on both the perpetrator and the victim.
Trautman Trautman starts as a military man trying to help Rambo out of his current situation and onto a new mission, to a determined and principled leader fighting against corrupt superiors, and ending as a sympathetic yet flawed superior officer who tries to guide Rambo in a positive direction. The character arc is somewhat disjointed, as Trautman seems to shift quickly from supporting Rambo to fighting against his corrupt superiors without much transition. There are also some missed opportunities for further development of Trautman's disillusionment with the war and his patriotism.
To improve Trautman's character arc, more time could be spent showing his disillusionment with the war and the lies he's been told. This could be tied in with his fight against corrupt superiors, as he realizes that the war is not what he believed it to be. There could also be more focus on Trautman's flaws, such as his blind loyalty to his country, which could create greater conflict and tension in his relationship with Rambo.
Co Co starts off as a determined and strong-willed Vietnamese woman who seeks to escape the violence of the war. Throughout the movie, she becomes an invaluable member of Rambo's team and ultimately sacrifices herself for the mission. Co's character arc could have been more fleshed out and developed. She starts off with an interesting backstory, but her personality is not explored in-depth beyond her bravery and resourcefulness.
To improve Co's character arc, the filmmakers could have given her more dialogue and scenes that showcase her personality and motivations. Additionally, exploring her relationship with Rambo could have added more depth to her character and made her sacrifice more impactful.
Banks Banks starts off as a supportive but inexperienced soldier, but throughout the movie he grows into a capable and loyal member of Rambo's team. However, after being subjected to torture and trauma, Banks wrestles with feelings of guilt and vulnerability. The character arc for Banks is not fully developed and lacks depth. While he does grow into a more competent soldier, his arc is overshadowed by his traumatic experience and unresolved guilt.
To improve Banks' character arc, it would be beneficial to explore his vulnerabilities and struggles in more detail. Perhaps he could have a moment of reckoning where he confronts his guilt and trauma and finds a way to overcome it. Additionally, emphasizing his growth as a team member and showing him taking initiative in battles would further solidify his arc.
Murdock Murdock starts off as a treacherous character who only cares about himself and his personal gain. However, as the movie progresses, he begins to realize the importance of loyalty and selflessness. He ultimately shows remorse for his past actions and makes a selfless sacrifice to save the lives of his comrades. While Murdock's character arc does show some progression, it feels rushed and not fully developed. The change in his personality seems abrupt, which makes it difficult for the audience to fully empathize with him.
To improve Murdock's character arc, the film could have dedicated more time to exploring the motivations behind his selfish actions and the events that lead to his realization and change of heart. This would have allowed for a more gradual and satisfying character arc.