Camp director George Pan Cosmatos (The Cassandra Crossing, Escape to Athena) may have seemed an odd choice to film this sequel to Ted Kotcheff’s First Blood, but the producers clearly wanted someone who could zoom into the cliche heart of every scene: the picture seems deliberately trite, blunt, and manipulative, as if the producers didn’t trust their audience to respond to anything else. As Rambo, the Vietnam vet who returns to Southeast Asia to scout for missing American soldiers, Sylvester Stallone affects an Eastwood-like terseness, but when he does speak the lines drop out of his mouth like moral commandments carved in stone. He’s the only strong, decent man left in the world, and They (in this case, the shifty politicians who have sent him on his mission) are out to get him. Rambo’s superhuman unstoppability (probably the contribution of coscenarist James Cameron, retreading the ideas he used in The Terminator) quickly becomes comic under Cosmatos’s deadpan direction, and the out-of-scale action scenes are too silly to have any suspense or impact. A thoroughly unpleasant project, quite apart from its creepy populist posturing (Stallone seemed determined to become the Huey Long of the movies). With Richard Crenna and Charles Napier.