To what extent is Rambo: First Blood Part 2 typical of Hollywood main stream cinema's treatment of gender in the 1980's?

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To what extent is Rambo: First Blood Part 2 typical of Hollywood mainstream cinema’s treatment of gender in the 1980’s?

Action films in the 1980’s reflected the changes and insecurity’s within American society.  There had been a rise in feminism meaning that the masculine form and dominance was being undermined and white working class males did not know where their place was in society.  It was also in the immediate time after the Vietnam War and confusion and anger still lingered.  The Vietnam War divided the American nation as a whole because, as it has been in recent times with the war in Iraq, people didn’t fully understand why America needed to impose their presence in a country where they felt they had nothing to gain. The action film in the 1980’s introduced a hero that differentiated masculinity and femininity using the form of the body as a way of ensuring power, dominance and self-respect.  Rambo: First Blood Part 2 is a typical film of this era in terms of masculinity and the ways in which men and women are portrayed.  

In the film Rambo: First Blood Part 2 Sylvester Stallone portrays a typical action hero of the ‘war film’ genre in the 1980’s but also an outcast of society after the Vietnam War.   He is a veteran of Vietnam and came home to find that everything he had known had changed and he was no longer considered an honourable soldier but more as a war criminal.  Rambo's mission in this film is to go back to Vietnam and see if he can find a camp that he is told has many POW's. If he finds the men, he can only take photographs but he has a problem with this and risks his own life to save them.  He is very strong and muscular and is able to defeat the soldiers, Russian and Vietnamese, single handed.  Douglas Kellner states that the film;

‘Follows the conventions of the Hollywood genre of the “war film”, which dramatizes conflicts between the United States and its “enemies” and provides a happy ending that portrays the victory of good over evil.’ (Kellner, 1994, p.10)

This means that America always won no matter who the enemy was.  In reality this is something that America could not accomplish.  There was no happy ending and there were no immediate heroes.  Rambo is allowed to bring glory upon America and diffuse a situation that could have cost the American military even more respect and dignity.  America had lost some of its power within the world and they strived to get it back.  It had lost its first war and it had become important to remasculinize America.  There was a growing fear of communism in the country and displaying male heroes which went against the communist regime was their idea of establishing the ideal throughout the world by a means of globalization.

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Globalization had been taking place throughout the history of cinema by a means of film that was imported and exported to places around the world.  In effect most of the action films set in Vietnam, and other films which hold a strong view of patriotism and heroism within America in the 1980’s, can be seen as propaganda films against the rise of communism.  The purpose, with or without the knowledge of the audience, was to get the idea across to a mass audience that communism was against the principles of the country.  In Rambo the ‘evil’ characters are the ...

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This is a strong response that shows detailed understanding of the film and places it in a social and historical context. More comparisons and examples would be useful to add weight to the evidence. 4 out of 5 stars.