This time it’s a bit more personal for John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), as his former Vietnam commander and friend, Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna), has been captured by Russian forces as he tries to rally the Afghan rebels who have been winning the resistance. The Afghani people are too suspicious of the American to willingly join his crusade to spring Trautman from his prison cell, leaving him to go it mostly alone, with one or two friends he has made in his short introduction to their ranks. He faces formidable odds, as the prison is surrounded by landmines, tanks, and hundreds of Russians, and the Russkie leadership is as corrupt and uncaring as the worst of them. John MacDonald directs this ultra-patriotic action-war effort from a script co-written by Stallone himself.
The story follows First Blood, where John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is in prison for his one-man army heroics against law enforcement in the first film. Here, Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna) approaches Rambo to undergo a covert operation that will presumably save the lives of thousands of POWs still in Southeast Asia, if he can find evidence that they are still being held captive. Rambo is hired only to take pictures, but that doesn’t sit well with the disgruntled vet, who uses the opportunity to get them out while he can. However, corrupt government officials don’t want Rambo to find any POWs, as this would complicate American relations in the area, and when irrefutable evidence is given, the mission is aborted, leaving Rambo all by himself — one man against an army of sadistic Vietnamese and Soviet military advisors, merging America’s former fight with the Cold War enemy of today..
Sylvester Stallon stars as John Rambo, who has spent years trying to track down the only family he ever really knew — the soldiers who fought alongside him in the war. To Rambo’s dismay, he finds he is all alone, as all of the rest were killed in action, or died from cancerous war-related exposure to chemicals, leaving him but to drift along the roads in search of new meaning to his life. In the small town of Hope, the local sheriff (Brian Dennehy) named Will Teasle tags Rambo as a vagrant drifter and quickly ushers him out of town. However, Rambo defiantly tries to return, whereupon he is arrested for vagrancy. When he doesn’t quite understand why he is being incarcerated, he resists their strong-arm tactics to get him to comply, triggering flashbacks of his days as a tortured prisoner of war. Rambo, an ex-Green Beret, perhaps the most lethal of them all, muscles his way out of the station and into the nearby woods, where the police are in hot pursuit. What they don’t realize is that Rambo is a one-man killing machine, with raw instincts for guerrilla warfare and very little to hold his fragile mentality together. He just wants to be left alone, but the police are going to see to it that he never gets his wish.