The character of John J. Rambo and the media he inhabits hold a special place for me. I’m a child of the 80s, and there are few characters that are more visually evocative of that decade—with his signature bandana (a carry-over from something soldiers in Vietnam typically did that just happened to be in line with 1985 trends) and bigger than life heroics—after the second movie, the character was elevated to a place few have been able to go, especially in the pre-Internet age.
He became a brand, an idea, and an icon. A good number of people know the word, Rambo, and know that it has something to do with a bunch of action movies without even realizing it’s the character’s name. The word “Rambo” has also become synonymous with violence and aggression. Look up the word on dictionary.com and you get: “a fanatically militant or violently aggressive person.”
This is, at best, and undeserved connotation, which is obvious to anyone who knows the series. The John Rambo from the 1972 novel, “First Blood,” by David Morrell more closely fits this definition, but not the movie Rambo, especially when compared to other hyperviolent characters from action movies of the 80s and 90s.