Back in 1982, Sly Stallone introduced us to John Rambo in First Blood, and the ’80s saw two more of the Vietnam vet’s exploits follow. These three flicks have just been released on 4K Ultra HD, but do they pass muster, or go rogue?

Please note: As we’re covering three films from a cinematic universe here, it’s fair to say that while we’ve been careful, you still may encounter the odd spoiler if you haven’t seen the flicks already.

 

Rambo: First Blood

4K May 2019 - Rambo: First Blood

4K May 2019 - Rambo: First BloodThe story: Rambo hits the small town of Hope, looking for a Vietnam war buddy, but finds that he’s since died. He also finds a hostile constabulary that wants shot of this apparently aimless drifter. When they push Rambo over the edge, they have no idea what they’re in for from the former green beret who’s dealing with some serious PTSD issues from the war.

The 4K disc: Rambo hits UHD in style with a native 4K transfer taken from the original camera negative. This means an often sharp picture that features quite a bit of grain, the intensity of which tends to vary. As for black levels, this comes to us in what we describe as “cinematic black” – similar to how we see movies onscreen at the movies. The HDR treatment will come as revelation for some, as it gives us detail back in many of the very dark scenes in the film, while the rare outbreaks of brightness are also amplified pleasingly. In all, it’s a decent transfer.

Audio comes via a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. It’s a very front-centric mix that uses surrounds sparingly for the likes of forest ambience. The subwoofer doesn’t have a lot to do, but does get involved with the odd explosion and burst of gunfire.

The 4K disc itself features two commentaries. One is from Sly himself, while the other is from the author of the First Blood novel, David Morrell. The included standard Blu-ray boasts a raft of extras, including the first parts of two documentaries on Rambo, an alternate ending, an outtake, a making of, some featurettes and more.

Release date: May 8, 2019
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring:
Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Rambo: First Blood Part II

4K May 2019 - Rambo: First Blood Part II

4K May 2019 - Rambo: First Blood Part IIThe story: Rambo’s former mentor Colonel Trautman arranges the release of John from Stateside prison to carry off a top secret special mission. Our (anti)hero must photograph where a group of POWs are still being held in Vietnam – but, Rambo being Rambo, he decides to get the guys out of there while he’s at it, with a little local help from a Vietnamese freedom fighter.

The 4K disc: We welcome another native 4K transfer here, also with HDR enhancement. Like First Blood, this one features original film grain, but it’s generally well-behaved and non-intrusive. This is another film that benefits from the HDR treatment over past releases, as it brings out detail in some dark scenes that was previously pretty much lost to home viewers.

Another DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is in-store here, and it does a reasonable job without ever wowing. With so many explosions, helicopters, explosions, explosions and more explosions, a new DTS:X or Atmos mix could have really upped the ante.

Extras fans will find a commentary from director George P. Cosmatos on the 4K disc, while the included standard Blu-ray has a bunch of goodies. These include parts two of the Rambo Takes the ’80s and How to Become Rambo docos, plus featurettes, interviews, a look behind the scenes and more.

Release date: May 8, 2019
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring:
Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Rambo III

4K May 2019 - Rambo III

4K May 2019 - Rambo IIIThe story: Uh-oh, Colonel Trautman has been kidnapped by the Russians during a mission in Afghanistan, and it’s up to our old friend John Rambo to team up with Mujahedeen rebels to help save his behind – and kick some evil Russki kidnapper butt while he’s at it!

The 4K disc: At the risk of repeating ourselves, Rambo III features a full 4K transfer with HDR enhancement. Again, grain comes along for the ride, which many film buffs will appreciate, although it can be a little distracting on occasions. Detail, however, tends towards being very good, especially in some of the darker scenes, and it’s fair to say that this third Rambo outing has never looked this good before for home viewing.

It’s DTS-HD Master Audio time again, with solid delivery of dialogue and score, and the surround channels used for ambience – and a bit of boisterousness when things go “BOOM!”

A commentary from director Peter MacDonald features on the 4K disc, while the included standard Blu-ray goes to town with the final parts of the two documentaries that are spread over the three discs in this trilogy, along with featurettes, deleted scenes, an alternate intro, interviews and more.

Release date: May 8, 2019
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring:
Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Marc de Jonge

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.