While he has played a wide variety of characters in his lengthy career, Sylvester Stallone fully accepts that he will always be immortalized in cinematic history as two characters, boxer Rocky Balboa and shell-shocked yet heroic ex-Green Beret John Rambo. Both franchises starring these characters had their blockbuster heydays in the 1980s, although Stallone has somehow managed to revive them to notable success in the 21st Century, even when his now-aged but still formidable portrayals were a far cry from his stereotypical action-hero looks from decades past. In fact, his latest movie turn as John Rambo is premiering this Friday, but the fandom is celebrating him some two days earlier.
USA Today tells us that September 18 has been declared “John Rambo Day” ahead of the official release of Lionsgate and Millennium Films’ “Rambo: Last Blood,” the alleged final chapter in the big-screen adventures of Sylvester Stallone’s Vietnam veteran John Rambo. The occasion is being proclaimed in places as varied as Los Angeles and the community of Bowie, Arizona, established since 1985’s “Rambo: First Blood II” as the hero’s hometown (which he actually returns to at the end of 2008’s “Rambo”). Now only is this a chance for “classic” action hero fans to geek out, but also a tribute to real-life members of the military.
As it turns out, one event for Rambo Day this Wednesday is a marathon of all “Rambo” movies thus far, including “Last Blood,” during opening weekend. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will host this film marathon across its cinemas. All moviegoers preordering tickets on September 18 will donate $1 off each purchased tickets to charitable organizations servicing both active-duty and veteran members of the US armed forces. Lionsgate is also running a “World’s Greatest Rambo Fan” challenge calling on franchise devotees to submit #RamboDay hash-tagged short videos of their best Rambo impressions.
Of course, Bowie in Arizona is not going to miss out on a chance to get some economic and touristy attention with their in-lore connection to John Rambo. Nancy-Jean Welker of the Bowie Chamber of Commerce described as priceless the pop-culture identity of their small town as the birthplace of the famous fictional action movie character, and they hope to use it during Rambo Day to “increase their economic footprint.” Meanwhile, Rambo actor Sylvester Stallone himself will join his cast-mates production team for the worldwide premiere of “Rambo: Last Blood” at the Lincoln Square AMC in New York, also a center of Rambo Day celebrations.
“Rambo: Last Blood” will see the aged John Rambo embarked on one final mission when a cartel across the nearby border in Mexico abducts several girls from Bowie and the surrounding area, including his niece. The film premieres September 20.
Image courtesy of Hollywood Reporter