Spotlight On...Rambo

The newest Spotlight On is all about the Rambo film franchise.
In honor of the newest release, I'm looking back score by score in the series.

First Blood (1982)
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
John Rambo's theme is one of the best of Goldsmith in the 80s.  It goes from lonely trumpet solo, to its bursts in action cues, and then the melody of It's a Long Road.  Instrumentation is prime Goldsmith as is the light use of electronics.  Other action and suspense motifs are introduced, which are used to build up to some fantastic orchestral climaxes.  The film and score are less outrageous as the later films.  (Just listen to: Home Coming, Mountain Hunt, Over the Cliff, It's a Long Road) 

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Everything gets ramped up in this memorable sequel.  Goldsmith, like Rambo, goes into full blown action mode.  The main theme appears in more action settings as well in addition to a new adventurous theme.  The propulsive action writing and ridiculously fun synths make this an easy score to come back to again and again.  (Just listen to: The Jump, Preparations, Escape from Torture, Revenge) 

Rambo III (1988)
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Goldsmith returns with another score as Rambo travels to Afghanistan.  Much of the music is surprisingly more contemplative and restrained.  There are new themes that use more Middle Eastern flavored as he arrives on his mission.  Percussion and synths are used heavily for the several suspense cues.  Goldsmith's score never shies away from the over-the-top violent action.  (Just listen to: Another Time, Afghanistan, The Game, Night Fight, I'll Stay) 

Rambo (2008)
Music by Brian Tyler
Years later, Stallone returned to Rambo just as he did with 2006's Rocky Balboa.  After Goldsmith's passing, Stallone turned to Brian Tyler.  Tyler uses the Goldsmith themes through the score, and also introduces a new theme for Rambo.  The full theme statements bookending the the album are great.  Tyler goes for his signature action writing for most of the film's brutal action.  (Just listen to: Rambo Theme, No Rules of Engagement, Aftermath, Battle Adagio) 

Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
Music by Brian Tyler
Rambo returns for his last adventure, this time taking on a Mexican cartel.  Tyler again infuses his score with Goldsmith moments alongside his own Rambo theme.  The quiet moments are nice, but much of the score is the tiresome bombastic action that he's known for.  (Just listen to: The Ranch, Dusk, Homeward Bound, Rescue at Night, Preparing for War)   

Check out the others in the SPOTLIGHT ON.... series!

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