FIRST BLOOD II: THE MISSION
By James Cameron
December 22, 1983
EXT. V.A. HOSPITAL - DAY
A drab GREEN SEDAN with U.S. ARMY printed on the door
stops at the steps of a fortress-like colonial-style
Iron bars cover the windows.
The lawn sprinklers snap mindlessly to themselves.
A CRT-style printout appears at the bottom of FRAME:
D-MINUS 117 HRS
FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
ANGLE ON SEDAN
as the doors open and TWO POWERFUL MPs, one of whom was
driving, emerge. The other opens the rear door for
COLONEL SAMUEL TRAUTMAN who stands, eyeing the imposing
facade of the hospital.
Trautman is in his early fifties and wears the mantle of
command sternly but without arrogance.
He takes the stairs with purposeful strides, the MPs
falling in behind him.
HOLD ON THE SIGN above the main door as they go inside:
VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL
A gray metal door bearing the sign "NEUROPSYCHIATRIC WING"
bangs open and a massive ORDERLY in white passes through.
He is followed by the two MPs, Trautman, and a SHORT
DOCTOR who hustles to keep up with the others.
LOW ANGLE DOLLY PRECEDING the entourage as they stride
The MPs are grim-faced and walk in step.
Trautman and a doctor SINGLETERRY silently walk through
They pass the open day-room where somnambulistic patients
sit like statuary watching "The Young and the Restless" or
watching the wallpaper fade.
Bleak light from an overcast day filters through the
The vets seem older than their years and although some
show the physical scars of combat, there is no doubt that
the greatest trauma for these men is behind the eyes.
As they pass the open doors of the rooms of the "chronic
ward", haunted eyes turn toward them.
As they approach the nurse's station for the "chronic
ward" the orderly nods.
The HEAD NURSE turns to her console.
INSERT - AS NURSE'S HAND
hits a button on the console.
TIGHT ON SECURITY DOOR
as a solenoid-operated bolt snaps back with a loud BUZZ
The orderly's good hand shoves the door open.
INT. "VIOLENT" WARD
The entourage enters a long narrow corridor lined with
POV DOLLYING ALONG CORRIDOR
Occasionally faces appear at the safety-glass windows set
in the doors. Men whose souls have fled.
Their eyes track us as we move past.
An emaciated MAN in an untied hospital smock and bare feet
stands as if lost in the center of the corridor.
REVERSE ON GROUP
DOLLYING as they detour around the man, whose clawlike
hand catches at Trautman's tunic.
A hoarse, demented SHOUTING issues from one of the doors,
a desperate WAILING from another.
CLOSE ON DOOR LATCH as keys RATTLE and the door opens.
WIDER as the group enters a dark service stairwell. The
single fluorescent light flickers stroboscopically, a
Shit. Maintenance never gets down
They descend two flights to a door of steel bars on a
The MPs flank Lewis as he unlocks the door.
So what am I supposed to do? Can't
transfer him to Leavenworth. He's
civilian. So I put him in an
isolation cell that hasn't been used
since the Spanish Inquisition.
TIGHT ON BARRED DOOR
rolling aside on metal tracks. CLANG.
This area of the hospital's basement has been used for
little but storage in recent years.
Stacks of obsolete equipment gathers dust, leaving only a
The steel doors of the isolation cells yawn open, except
for the last one.
Maybe you should have tried cutting
him some slack.
Lewis opens a cabinet near the single locked cell and
removes a SMALL RIFLE. He feeds a SYRINGE-LIKE SHELL into
the single-shot bolt action.
Tranquilizer syrette gun. Borrowed
it from the Animal Control
Trautman pushes the barrel aside with a contemptuous snort
and steps up to the cell door.
Gimme a break.
(nods toward door)
The two MPs flank the door. One pulls on the latching
lever. Bolts slide. The door swings open, revealing
Thinks he's the fucking Prince of
One MP tries the switch beside the cell, flicking it
several times. Nothing.
He glances apprehensively at the other MP and they step
into the dark cell.
TIGHT ON A HAND, dimly outlined, as it twists a light bulb
a half-turn in its socket.
In the sudden light the MPs face an imposing figure.
JOHN RAMBO, wearing only a pair of filthy jeans, stands
"ready" before them. The single light bulb on the low
ceiling sends glistening highlights over his taught body.
A nasty piece of machinery.
Long, matted hair coils onto his shoulders, and an unkempt
beard heightens the cheekbones beneath eyes which are
deep, reptilian. Intense.
His position, though not overtly threatening, suggests a
willingness to strike without warning which gives the
Trautman steps forward between the MPs.
At ease, Rambo.
MED. ON RAMBO
rising from his slight crouch to stand composed,
balanced... parade rest.
(continuing to MPs)
He closes the door until it latches.
Mind if I sit down?
Rambo motions to the narrow bunk, dropping into an
Oriental squat himself as the Colonel sits.
Trautman's manner with Rambo is familiar, somehow
paternal. A bit of an ironic grin twitches briefly.
I hear you're not enjoying it here.
I could take it or leave it.
Trautman sighs and leans back.
Seems like I'm always pulling you
out of some goddamn toilet or other,
Am I out of here?
That depends on you.
Christ, look at you. I give you
this easy duty until I can get you
an assignment... all you have to do
is eat ice cream and watch soap
operas... and you have to make it
Rambo's last stand.
There were treating me like a
Hard to believe. You shoot up one
little town in Oregon with a fifty
caliber machine gun... one little
dogpatch town... and everybody
figures your wrapper's broken. No
sense of humor.
What did you expect? An engraved
plague from the chamber of commerce?
Rambo looks at his hands. When he finally speaks his
voice seems distant, disembodied.
In 'Nam I flew gunships. Million
dollar equipment. Back here nobody
trusts me to park cars. I keep
thinking it's going to be okay...
but I've been out six years and it's
not okay. Sometimes I feel like I'm
coming right out of my skin.
The colonel nods slowly. He notices a battered shoebox on
the floor beside the bed. The cell is absolutely devoid
of personal articles otherwise.
This your stuff?
That's it. My life.
TIGHT ON SHOEBOX
as Trautman flips through a number of worn snapshots of
the men in Rambo's special forces unit.
They are horsing around, in and out of uniform. A
younger, cleanshaven Rambo is among them. He is grinning
broadly in one shot.
It seems uncharacteristic of the hardened man we see now.
Hardcore outfit. The best I ever
Those men are all dead.
He fishes something from among the pathetic debris of
Congressional Medal of Honor.
Yeah. Big time.
Plus, what else? Two Silver Stars,
four Bronze Stars, two Soldier's
Medals, four Vietnamese Crosses of
Gallantry and... uh, a handful of
Five. I never wanted that stuff.
What did you want?
I just wanted... I don't know...
after all that... I just wanted one
person, one person, to come up to me
and say "you did good, John." And
mean it. That's all.
After all that.
You just picked that wrong war to be
a hero in.
The colonel studies Rambo a moment, then stands abruptly.
Let's take a walk.
EXT. V.A. HOSPITAL - DAY
Rambo and Trautman cross the manicured grounds, escorted
by the two grim MPs.
A number of wheelchair-bound vets enjoy the sunshine B.G.
and a desultory game of volleyball is in progress.
Still, the impression is of the detritus of war left
scattered on a huge lawn like broken toys.
As the two approach a conservatively dressed MAN waiting
on a bench under a plane-tree, stands.
Jason Kirkhill... John Rambo.
Kirkhill extends his hand in greeting, but Rambo coolly
half-turns to reveal his hands, locked in WRIST-CUFFS
separated by a steel bar so that they can hang comfortably
at his sides.
Kirkhill grins affably. Drops his hand.
Good to meet you, Rambo. How are
Rambo scans Kirkhill's face, noting the cold scrutiny all
but concealed in the smile lines.
You a spook?
Kirkhill drops the smile.
That's right. CIA Special
Rambo turns to Trautman.
I don't work with spooks. Not after
that op in Cambodia.
I'm authorized to get you out of
here. I thought that's what you
What's the job?
Classic special forces op... hit
fast... in and out. Two men. Two
We like you.
At least the computer at Langley
likes you. Pulled your file because
of various factors. Service record.
I'm not jumping blind.
Kirkhill's eyes get hard.
It's yes or no. In or out... now.
If it's "out," we will not have had
this conversation. If you come in,
you will not be working for us. No
knowledge. No comment. Do you
Rambo seems about to turn away.
Tell him. I'll take responsibility.
Kirkhill looks pained, like he has gas.
North Vietnam. What they call the
Democratic Republic of Vietnam now.
TIGHT ON RAMBO
as he takes that in. His eyes seem to see all the way
there already. Emotions go through him. Exhilaration
mixing with terror of the demon he can't turn away from.
He nods slowly.
We left some people behind there,
This just occurred to somebody, now?
We don't leave our men, Rambo.
Rambo and Trautman lock eyes.
Something flows there... Trautman knows his soul.
You got it. I'm in.
He whips one hand around from his side, tossing the
manacle bar at a surprised Kirkhill's feet.
The wrist-cuffs are still closed.
INT. RAMBO'S CELL
Rambo stands alone in his cell, the door open behind him.
He hefts the shoebox filled with his worldly possessions,
the scraps of memory, dead friends, and symbols of valor
and violent death.
He upends the box, spilling everything into the open
Flushes it. And walks out.
EXT. FORT BRAGG - DUSK
D-MINUS 84 HRS
FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA
TIGHT ON BOOTED FEET
clomping in rhythmic lockstep as a platoon of recruits
marches past in close order drill.
The drill sergeant bellows cadence.
Other lef shithead! Square those
pieces away... square 'em away
girls! I said...
as the platoon marches past, EXITING FRAME to reveal a
sign mounted beside a security checkpoint in a formidable
AIRBORNE SPECIAL FORCES GROUP
Kirkhill, accompanied by his basilisk-eyed AIDE, strides
past Rambo's two MPs flanking the door, into a small
INT. BRIEFING ROOM
The room is an austere cubicle with the army's typically
drab furniture in "early functional."
The cold eye of a surveillance camera stares down at a
single table with a seated figure... Rambo, looking like
he may have been there for centuries.
The aide hands Rambo a sealed folder and extends a
clipboard and pen for him to sign off.
This is your mission packet...
Sign here, please. And here.
Memorize it here. It doesn't leave
Rambo unseals the folder, removing a sheaf of photocopied
documents, as Kirkhill perches on the table next to him.
The twenty-four hundred American
servicemen missing in action in
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are
officially listed "Presumed
Killed." Certainly most of them
Rambo is leafing through the contents of his PACKET. He
skips a stack of reports and fishes out several grainy 8 X
But reports keep filtering in.
Sightings by refugees. Nothing
verified. Finally, we feel we've
got enough to proceed on.
Rambo studies the prints. They seem to be high altitude
surveillance photos of a small COMPOUND OF BUILDINGS,
surrounded by forests.
Memo E-7 on top will cover the
details. An abandoned Vietnamese
Army base in the North-central
highlands may have a compound used
as an internment camp. As you can
see the intelligence is soft. These
LANDSAT photos show huts...
barracks. It could be anything.
What's the plan?
This operation is in two phases.
Recon and rescue. You are phase
one. Your two-man team will probe
the site, confirm the presence of
American POWs, if any, make
photographic and tactical
observations, then proceed to the
extraction point without engaging
We don't try to pull out any of our
guys if we find them?
Negative. Absolutely not. The
phase two assault team will get them
We just take pictures?
Don't look so disappointed. It
should be hairy enough... even for
INT. DON MUANG AIRPORT - LATE AFTERNOON
Kirkhill's VOICE continues over the image of: The crowded
airport terminal, as Rambo, carrying a cheap flight bag,
weaves among jostling Orientals.
Your flight to Bangkok is at 06:30.
Commercial carrier. Low profile.
Rendezvous with Colonel Trautman at
the Indra. Room 618. You'll meet
your number two man, Lieutenant
Brewer. He doesn't get a packet...
you brief him verbally.
After a flurry of passport stamping Rambo clears customs
and makes his way to the main exit.
EXT. TAXI STAND - STREET - LATE AFTERNOON
Rambo emerges into the stifling humid heat of Bangkok in
May and stands, scanning for a cab.
D-MINUS 51 HRS
Bangkok is a city of fervid motion and the street is
chaotic with traffic.
Stepping through throngs of Asians and tourists Rambo
reaches for the door of a beat-to-hell Citroen taxi
hunkered low at the curb like some metal lungfish.
He spins as a hand lightly touches his shoulder.
Sorry old buddy, I saw it first.
An American in his late twenties, the man speaks with one
of those hard-to-dislike Southern accents. Probably North
He is lanky but muscular, with boyish good looks and hair
cut so short it barely qualifies as stubble. Though
dressed in a loud Hawaiian shirt and Madras slacks, it is
painfully obvious the man is military.
His arm is draped around a gorgeous but overly made-up
I kinda got an important date.
Rambo's eyes narrow as he turns wordlessly and climbs into
The American grins cockily and tosses his bag to Rambo.
No problem. We'll share it. Get
your tail in there, sweet thing.
INT./ EXT. TAXI
The American and the girl pile into the broad front seat,
to the chagrin of the lizard-faced Thai driver.
Indra Hotel. And don't take the
scenic route, Smiley... I know my
way around this burg. Comprende?
Rambo speaks quietly to the driver in Thai.
Same place for me.
The girl giggles as the American slips his hand up from
her stockinged knee, between her thighs.
Ah, you fair flower of the Orient.
She giggles, like a chirping bird.
(continuing to Rambo)
She thinks everything I say is
funny. Don't you, Angel-pie? Man,
Thai women are the best. Got the
kinda legs I like... feet at one end
and pussy at the other.
He turns to Rambo, who hasn't commented or taken any
observable notice of him.
You don't say a helluva lot, do you,
pal? You speak English?
The girl coos to the American in pidgin English.
You got money? I stay you whole
Sweet thing, there's nothin' I'd
like more than to wugga-wugga with
you for a week, but tonight's all we
He lowers his voice conspiratorially, leaning close to
See, I'm on this secret mission, and
tomorrow mornin' I head out to...
Rambo grabs the man brutally by his collar.
That's enough, Brewer.
The American freezes at the sound of his name. Turns
Rambo speaks sharply to the girl in Thai.
Get out. Now!
The driver, confused, skids to a stop and the girl gets
out into the din of a cluttered shop district. A flash of
slit skirt and then only fading curses behind them as the
taxi moves on.
Jeez, I never would have guessed.
You undercover, Lieutenant? Great
INT. INDRA HOTEL ROOM - DUSK
Trautman, sipping a gin tonic at the window, spins around
as the door flies open. Brewer storms in, followed a few
paces back by Rambo, who closes the door.
He says he's team leader on this
Begging the Colonel's pardon but I
understood I was up to lead my next
Not this one. You're on
communications and camera. Same
image-intensified gear you used in
El Salvador last year.
This clown almost blew mission
security on the street. I'm not
jumping with him.
Clown? Now back up there, buddy...
Listen up. You two are married as
of now. Get used to it.
I say we tape him to a chair.
EXT. OPERATIONS BASE CAMP - DAY
D-MINUS 36 HRS
BAN BUNG KHLA, THAILAND
A small airstrip transects a meadow bounded by rain-
forested slopes. Wreathed in low clouds the mountains
march into the distance in increasingly subtler shades of
gray like a Japanese watercolor.
Near a cluster of small buildings the scene is one of
manic but efficient activity as the high tech base camp is
An enormous SIKORSKY CH-54 "SKY CRANE" lowers a Winnebago-
sized conex container as another roars by. An Army Corps
of Engineers work crew, stripped to the waist, scurries
through the rotor wash. The blasting air raises curtains
of muddy spray and drowns out the yelled commands of the
A Vietnam era HUEY UH-1D HELICOPTER nimbly touches down
nearby. Rambo, in the pilot's seat, slips off his HEADSET
and climbs down. Brewer and Trautman, in fatigues, jump
out and join him as Kirkhill approaches.
DOLLYING WITH THEM as they emerge from the rotor noise and
Kirkhill motions them toward the MOBILE TACTICAL
OPERATIONS CENTER (MTOC).
I didn't know you were a stick man,
I was crossed-trained in gunships.
How long have you been setting up?
About 22 hours on site.
They pass a tent-like CAMOUFLAGE CANOPY under which an
ALL-BLACK SIKORSKY UH-60 "BLACKHAWK" HELICOPTER squats
ominously. It has no markings or insignia.
There is another canopy behind it, the contents of which
are screened from view.
Nearby is a cluster of CONEX AIRLIFT CONTAINERS, two of
which are joined together to form a building like a
double-wide mobile home.
Another unit contains a roaring generator, a fourth is
topped by TRACKING GEAR. Cables snake through the mud,
connecting the units.
Kirkhill notices THREE WORK PARTY "GRUNTS" kibitzing
nearby, taking pictures of each other with a pocket
Instamatic. He snatches the camera from a surprised young
This is a covert operation,
He opens the camera and drops the film in the mud. The
corporal reaches petulantly for the camera. Kirkhill
drops it casually in the mud as well.
Check out the command hut.
He opens the door to the large conex unit and follows the
The "hut" turns out to be a humming electronic womb.
In the subdued light banks of VIDEO MONITORS glow, and the
status lights of UPRIGHT COMPUTER UNITS line one wall.
Workstations for TRACKING, COMMUNICATIONS, AND LONG-RANGE
COORDINATION create a claustrophobic jumble of modular
They wipe their muddy feet and enter the air-conditioned
Rambo gazes around at the jumble of gear. He runs his
hand over one console, causing a seated technician to
glare at him.
All this is for us?
They call us the field-unit meat-
INT./ EXT. CAMOUFLAGE CANOPY - DAY
Rambo and Brewer walk in under an expanse of net
camouflage on poles.
Sunlight streams through the foliage cover, creating
bright mottles on a black object F.G.
CAMERA PULLS BACK and BOOMS UP as Rambo moves forward to
reveal the object as an ALL-BLACK JET. It is a modified
Gulfstream "Peregrine," a small sleek single-engine
executive model, with all insignia and I.D. numbers
MED. ON RAMBO AND BREWER
as they consider the aircraft.
Ever do this from a jet?
They turn to see a lanky long-haired man in a leather
flying jacket duck under the fuselage from the far side
and approach them.
Just have to jump fast.
Two other air crewmen jump down from the open rear
passenger door of the plane.
You the pilot?
(he gestures to the
two in the door)
Lifer and Fuhrman.
Doyle is a product of the sixties' school of ultra-cool,
his brain a little torched by too many methed-out night-
Fuhrman, the co-pilot, grins too much and Lifer's eyes are
just plain scary.
You boys Air Force?
Marines. 'Ex' though. We're
private contractors now.
You ever do a tour 'in-country'?
Two. 'Eye-corps' mostly.
How about you?
Vietnam was a little before my time.
So was Korea, know what I mean?
Rambo and Doyle glance at each other... solidarity before
EXT. CAMOUFLAGE CANOPY
DETAIL ON THE GROUND
as the head of a torque-wrench finishes a rough map of
local Southeast Asia, scratched hastily in the dirt.
Thailand. The Mekong. Laos. 'Nam.
With each word he plops the torque-wrench onto the
Gesturing as he continues.
A straight dash across the Laotian
panhandle, through the Annamese
Mountains... some good dicey bits
there... and on to the drop zone.
Eighteen minutes each way in
We go low to stay off radar?
In the rhubarb, babe.
Mowin' the lawn.
INT. MOTC - COMMAND HUT
Trautman, looking a bit uncomfortable in Kirkhill's
electronic lair, paces behind the seated Special
How long before you're fully on
Couple hours. Let me buy you a
He turns to a vending machine nestled improbably between
two racks of electronics.
You think they'll find any?
(feeding in change)
POWs? I don't know. But either
way it'll get that subcommittee off
our necks. Cream?
Black. No sugar.
The League of Families leans on
Congress. Then they lean on us.
Like we don't have enough to worry
about in a dozen dirtwater
He pounds the machine, which refuses to vend.
Trautman watches the Special Operations Officer banging
ineffectually on the COIN RETURN, amid a million dollars
worth of equipment.
EXT. FLIGHT TENT
A tent next to the camouflage canopy serves as a flight
shack for Doyle and his ground crew. Crates serve as
tables and stools, and 50-gallon fuel drums are the back
Doyle, with Rambo and Brewer, continues the game plan.
A couple klicks from insertion we go
vertical to ten thousand and you
punch out. Navigate in free fall
like a regular HALO jump. You'll
have a good moon.
I got your moon right here...
No problem. Duck soup.
Doyle notices that Brewer has casually lit up a cigarette.
Hey, man... we got fuel on the deck.
I don't like flying without a plane.
Brewer glances at the pool of jet fuel around the pumping
Rambo plucks the cigarette from Brewer's lips.
No smoking on this mission. It's
He looks Brewer in the eye and flicks the lit butt into
the pool of gas.
Which puts it out.
Son of a bitch!
Rambo saunters away.
Nice trick. Works nine times out of
EXT. BASE CAMP - RUNWAY - DUSK
The steel planking of the pre-fabricated runway rings
under their feet as Rambo and Brewer run laps. Brewer,
between breaths, is chanting a monologue as they draw
Insertion. Call in to base camp by
TRANSAT. Proceed to point Tango
November for rendezvous with our
ground contact. Indigenous agent.
Co Phuong Bao.
(in same tone)
We've been over this three times.
Brewer rolls his eyes.
Co Phuong Bao. The guide takes us
twelve klicks upriver to target at
Ban... at Ban... Bo Peep. Shit!
EXT. BASE CAMP - NIGHT
Face-down in the dirt near the flight-line, Rambo and
Brewer are banging off pushups under the floodlight.
... to target at Ban Kia Na. We
probe the site...
... then proceed downriver to
extraction at point Echo Delta.
Doyle takes us out by helicopter, we
all live happily ever after and
that's the last time, Rambo! I
swear to Christ.
They both collapse, face-down, breathing heavily. Brewer
Gettin' old, huh?
Second set. Let's go.
When Rambo rises it is in pushup position, only this time
using one arm. He starts. One, two, three...
INT./ EXT. EQUIPMENT TENT - DAY
D-MINUS 11 HRS
Brewer lifts an OLIVE-DRAB BOX onto the table inside the
open-tent. It looks like a large field radio with a
complex console set in the top.
He taps a small collapsible DISH ANTENNA on a tripod
connected to the box by a curly-cord.
The signal's coded into infrared
pulses, picked up by the spy
satellite, bounced to the ground
station in Okinawa and relayed to
He points to the MTOC nearby.
No radio source. Nothing for the
bad guys to triangulate on.
Show me how it operates.
That's what I'm here for.
Show me in case you get zapped as
soon as we land.
We're leaving tonight, not in a
He sees Rambo's expression.
INT. RAMBO'S TENT - DUSK
Rambo sits on his cot hunched over some minute work.
With surgical precision he hones the trigger mechanism of
a FLAT-BLACK CROSSBOW PISTOL.
Rambo raises the crossbow, cocked but empty.
CLICK. It fires smoothly, to his satisfaction.
INT. EQUIPMENT CONEX - NIGHT
CLOSE ON SHIPPING CRATE as a crossbar pries the lid off.
ANGLE ON BREWER
as he raises a telescope-like piece of equipment.
revealing Brewer surrounded by shipping crates. He sets
the scope on a long empty table and attacks another crate,
working under a harsh fluorescent lighting unit.
SEVERAL CLOSE ANGLES - JUMP CUTS
Brewer pulls electronic test gear out of bubble-pack and
sets the units on the table.
He hefts an automatic rifle and checks the action.
Another electronic gadget joins the growing array on the
Another, smaller automatic, a MAC-10 MACHINE PISTOL, is
lifted out of packing.
CLOSE as Brewer's hands thread a silencer onto the barrel
of the Mac-10.
INT. RAMBO'S TENT
TIGHT ON RAMBO'S HAND, holding a special forces LILE-
KNIFE. He runs a whet-stone along the blade,
INT. EQUIPMENT CONEX
Brewer is calibrating his STARLIGHT-SCOPE image-
intensifier using a wave-form oscilloscope.
Satisfied, he begins mounting it atop the assault rifle.
INT. RAMBO'S TENT
VERY TIGHT ON RAMBO, working in almost total darkness,
streaking his face with two shades of green camouflage
The effect is unearthly.
INT. EQUIPMENT CONEX
Brewer, wearing headphones, is running a calibration tone
through the audio-processor of his TELESCOPIC MICROPHONE.
He clamps it onto the assault rifle.
INT. RAMBO'S TENT
TIGHT ON RAMBO'S HANDS
covered with green greasepaint.
Using a candle he expertly darkens the blade of his Lile-
INT. EQUIPMENT CONEX
Brewer is standing at the end of the long table which is
now laid out like a banquet with an incredible assortment
of gadgets, weapons, supplies, kits, canteens, rations,
Doyle lounges nearby watching the bugs dog-fighting around
the fluorescent work light.
You jumping with all that?
They turn to see Rambo watching them from just outside the
pool of light.
A spectral figure.
Brewer glances at the array of stuff.
Yeah. Why not?
You break your leg, I'll have to
He turns and vanishes in the dark.
I think he means it.
Well, son. You got that right.
Anybody ever tell you about that
Brewer turns quizzically toward him.
What about him?
EXT. RUNWAY - NIGHT
D-MINUS 28 MINUTES
TIGHT ON TURBOJET INTAKE
A black maw. The vanes begin to turn. The RISING WHINE
becomes a STEADY ROAR.
C.U. FUEL COUPLER
as a ground CREWMAN disconnects hoses from the sleek,
ON PEREGRINE - WIDER
as the blue fire roars in the exhaust throat. The air
WIDER - TRACKING A VAN
moving beside the black ship, past the wing to the rear
TIGHT ON VAN
as it comes to a stop, the side door FILLING FRAME. Lifer
ENTERS SHOT, reaches for the door latch.
Total blackness, until light spills in from the opening
Rambo sits, statue-like, hands on knees, wearing a BLACK
BLINDFOLD. Adjusting his eyes for night vision. He's
dressed for the mission: tiger stripe cammies, jump pack,
chute pack, hands and face mottled with camouflage
greasepaint. Ferocious looking. Demonic.
Lifer leads him out.
DOLLYING BEFORE RAMBO, being led as if to execution. Blue
and red TAXI LIGHTS send strobe-flashes of color across
his face as he approaches the aircraft.
Rambo is led to the seat next to Brewer's. Trautman helps
Lifer strap him in. Plugs in his intercom jack.
Brewer eyes him cautiously.
He'd move away but all the other seats have been removed.
Ready to roll, Lieutenant.
Rambo adjusting his headset.
Let's do it.
Keep it clean, Rambo, or I'll nail
your hide to the shed.
You got it, sir.
Trautman exits and the steps are rolled away.
Doyle is all business now.
Zen Rollercoaster, requesting
You are cleared, Zen Rollercoaster.
The wheel jacks are pulled.
The jet rolls forward.
The aircraft hurtles down the runway, gathering speed.
The nose picks up.
It clears the end of the runway and then the treeline by a
INT. PASSENGER COMPARTMENT
The interior is lit only by a single red light above the
Brewer watches the forest below through the open doorway.
The door itself has been removed.
The ROAR OF THE AIRSTREAM is ferocious.
A sleek silhouette above the moonlit forest, the jet
flashes across the rolling terrain just above the
MOVING WITH THE AIRCRAFT as it dips and rises with the
land's contour. The rain forest below is a rushing blur.
This is known as some serious flying.
Doyle is hunched forward, nose inches from the canopy.
Drinking in the jungle.
All the lights in the cockpit are turned off.
Fuhrman uses a TAPED-OVER PENLIGHT to read the
Doyle is beyond instruments.
Switching communications to burst
Kirkhill and Trautman are hunched at the main console.
AWACS Two-Five has acquired. They
are holding timeline.
Trautman watches the glowing dot representing the drop-jet
crawling almost imperceptibly across a computer-generated
map of Central Laos.
The sleek jet races toward the towering Annamese range
Fuhrman is grinning. That's bad.
Here comes the sexy part.
INT. PASSENGER COMPARTMENT
Rambo, sitting impassively, removes his blindfold.
The plane begins to pitch and plummet wildly.
Brewer lets out a rebel yell.
Whoo-ya! I love it!
MOVING WITH IT as it slices through a twisting canyon like
It slithers between the mountainous flanks.
INT. PASSENGER COMPARTMENT
Rambo is methodically checking his pack and harness,
seemingly oblivious to the insanity outside.
We just entered Viet airspace,
gentlemen. Eight klicks to
(to Brewer via
Stay tight on me, Brewer. I don't
want to have to go looking for you.
A TECHNICIAN turns from the secondary console.
AWACS Niner-One via Subic Bay
reports them approaching insertion.
D-MINUS TWO MINUTES
The mountains fall behind and the tiny jet hurtles down
across the foothills, flying nap-of-the-earth.
INT. PASSENGER COMPARTMENT
Rambo slips his free-fall goggles into place.
Stand by to climb.
EXT. TRAIL - VIETNAM
A VIETNAMESE FARMER trudges down the road with two heavy
buckets on a pole-carry across his shoulders.
A distant WHINING becomes an approaching ROAR.
Like a thunderbolt the black jet flashes over the top of
the hill just ahead, thirty feet off the deck.
The farmer is tumbled by the blast of air.
He looks up.
The jet has gone into a ball-busting vertical climb and is
instantly lost among the stars.
Son of a bitch!
INT. PASSENGER COMPARTMENT
Doyle's voice is matter-of-fact despite the gees they are
Approaching ten thousand. Eleven
seconds to insertion. Ten, nine...
Slowing to two-thirty...
The ready light changes from red to yellow. Rambo
unbuckles from his seat. Rises.
Lifer steadies them at the door.
... three seconds. Two. One. Have
a nice day.
The ready-light turns GREEN.
Rambo takes a single, powerful running stride from the
opposite wall and is out the door. Gone.
Brewer is right behind him.
The jet dwindles and is gone in a moment above the
ON RAMBO stabilizing his fall.
He switches on his pack strobe.
(shouting into mike)
You read me, Brewer?
Home on my strobe.
diving skillfully. He sees the distant flash of Rambo's
strobe below him and banks toward it like a fighter plane.
He comes alongside the Team Leader and they dive together.
Rambo cuts the strobe.
ANGLE DOWN as a solid layer of cloud rushes up.
They plunge through and the landscape below is an awesome
vista. An unbroken carpet of dark rain forest with a
narrow, meandering river, like a platinum ribbon.
Rambo sights on a distant bend in the river, spreads his
feet and dives. Brewer follows.
They shoot across the uprushing landscape at 135 mph.
INSERT - RAMBO'S L.E.D. ALTIMETER
Numbers flicking: 1,200 feet. 1,000. 800.
Their canopies deploy with a MUFFLED CRACK,
looking down past his swaying feet as the moonlit jungle
rushes up... and up...
A mahogany tree lunges like a huge hand.
The dark maw swallows us in blackness.
EXT. RAIN FOREST
Moonlight filters down through the foliage of massive
trees, showing as shafts in the swirling night mists.
This is one of the most primeval forests on the planet, a
place of violent growth and death-filled shadows.
Massive tree roots grip the earth, entwined with vines
that climb swaying into the vaulted canopy above. Water
And life is everywhere. Furtive. Timeless. Churning in
the shallow pools, under the bark, in the sweating
fruit... leaping through the matted foliage above.
A FIGURE rises behind a rotting log, like a being from
interstellar space. Rambo removes his goggles and
headset, then shrugs out of his chute harness.
He looks around slowly. Taking it in.
Man, what are you doing back here?
Brewer's voice is a reedy chirp from his headset. He
raises it to his ear.
Keep it down, man. I got problems.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - BARNYARD
Brewer is face-to-face with a mangy PIG, which grunts its
He is stuck up to his knees in the mud of a small fenced
yard containing a few pigs and chickens.
The yard is adjacent to a large THATCH HUT, and four or
five additional HOOTCHES are visible farther downslope,
nestled among the trees.
Brewer holds a finger to his lips, cautioning the pig to
silence. He lays backward in the black slop as a
VIETNAMESE MAN in peasant pajamas comes to the door of the
nearest hootch, an island of light in the dark forest.
Smoking a cigarette he looks around, perhaps scanning for
the source of the faint crashing he heard a moment before.
Following a dirt road, little more than a trail between
the hootches, an OLD WOMAN approaches. She is barefoot,
and pushes a rusting bicycle laden with an enormous bundle
Brewer struggles to free himself, straining in silence as
the pigs step disdainfully around him.
The man flicks away the cigarette. He laughs raucously at
something the old woman says and hurries to help her carry
the firewood inside.
Brewer looks up, at his chute billowing quietly in the
The old woman pauses at the door, spits a shot of betelnut
juice into the yard, and goes inside.
The door bangs shut.
TIGHT ON BREWER
sighing with relief.
SUDDENLY A DARK OBJECT SHOOTS INTO FRAME, seizing him.
Brewer's head snaps around. The object is Rambo's hand,
Rambo drags him with a sucking POP from the mud.
The Team Leader glares.
(a freezing whisper)
Brewer pauses a moment, assimilating the implicit warning.
Then reaches for his harness buckles to free himself.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - TRAIL
With the hootches visible B.G., Rambo moves silently off
along the trail.
Brewer, lumbering under the enormous pack, CRASHES through
foliage to catch up. He curses under his breath.
Rambo moves wraith-like through the undergrowth, appearing
and vanishing, there... then not there.
Brewer stumbles over a root, THUDS to the ground.
Rambo stops, looking back. His expression grim.
He turns and moves on, disappearing into the foliage.
Brewer scrambles up, following.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - CLEARING
TIGHT ON TRANSAT SCREEN as the last letters of the
following message appear:
SLM DNK FIELD TM TO SLM DNK
CONTROL/REPORT INSERTION COMPLETED/
PROCEEDING TO RENDEZVOUS/END MESSAGE
revealing Brewer hunched over the tiny CRT screen atop the
transponder box, typing at a keyboard the size of a pocket
Rambo squats motionless, watching intently.
Brewer hits the "SEND" button.
INT. COMMAND SHACK
The chief telecom tech turns to Kirkhill.
It's coming in.
Kirkhill watches the message print out on the main screen.
Turns to Trautman.
They're in! On the money.
A cheer goes up in the command center. The home team just
EXT. RAIN FOREST - CLEARING
Rambo squats, studying his WATERPROOF TERRAIN MAP.
He glances at Brewer who has finished assembling his
weapons and gear.
REVERSE ON BREWER
looking like a Martian stormtrooper with his exotic
weapons and surplus equipment.
He is sighting through the scope of his assault rifle.
Fully assembled it is as big as a Chrysler and looks
straight out of Star Wars.
What do you call that?
Modified M-16 A2 and over-under M-79
grenade launcher, with Sionics sound
suppressor, Tracor starlight scope
and LAC/R-100 Laser sighting system.
Batteries not included.
This is state-of-the-art firepower.
Rambo picks up another device, a cylinder like a
flashlight with a curly-cord running to a pair of
AC-System 'Big-Ear' telescopic
mike with built-in audio processor.
Can pull a whisper out of a loud
cocktail party at 50 meters.
Rambo gazes around him.
Cocktail party. Uh huh, right.
Let's saddle up.
Where's your stuff?
Rambo flips open his rucksack.
That's it? Some C-4, a map and a
There's a compass in the handle.
Brewer gestures at the Russian-made AK-47 slung over
And a beat-to-shit AK? Every
twelve-year-old in Nam's got one of
Brewer hefts the separate rucksack containing the TRANSAT.
Uh... this thing's pretty heavy.
You got room for it?
Rambo snorts disgustedly.
Just a thought.
EXT. RAIN FOREST
Using a stream bed to navigate through dense growth, Rambo
glides his legs smoothly through knee-deep brackish water.
Brewer follows, swatting and batting at clouds of
A VIPER glides past them, roiling the surface, and
disappears into twisted tree roots.
You wanna know why I stood up for
I was in the brig. They gave me a
deal. I blew up this Colonel's golf
cart with an M-19. He wasn't in it
or anything... it was the symbolic
value. Seemed like a good idea at
That's a real good reason to wind up
I've seen worse places.
There are no worse places.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - LATER
Rambo leads them up a steep trail as a dense NIGHT FOG
creeps over the ridgeline above.
FOLLOWING RAMBO - HANDHELD
as he moves along a narrow game trail.
Shapes loom out of the mist, revealed as harmless trunks
or vines only at the last second.
As they top the rise, the trail opens out onto a plateau-
like cleared area.
Ahead, an ENORMOUS STONE FACE, wreathed in vines, looms
from the mist.
as the two walk into the atrium of a RUINED "WAT", or
BUDDHIST TEMPLE. Brewer looks awed.
EXT. RUINS OF WAT
Serene despite the ravages of centuries, two stone Buddhas
thirty feet tall sit flanking the stairs to the ruined
temple. Trees and vines all but obscure the cracked and
tumbled forms of ornately carved walls.
The central courtyard is open to the sky. Spire-like
structures are dimly visible in the fog beyond.
This place is a trip.
Buddhist monastery. Fifteenth
He has pulled up his pant-leg to reveal THREE SQUIRMING
BLACK WORMS attached to his calf, sucking on him.
Rambo moves off, scanning, unconcerned.
Get used to 'em.
TIGHT ON BREWER
lighting a cigarette, his hands tightly cupped around the
glow. Rambo slaps it out of his hand.
Stomps it out.
You fucking crazy? I need it to
burn these things off.
I had it cupped.
Rambo takes the pack from Brewer's breast pocket and
grinds it into the mud under his boot.
Look, Rambo. I've had enough of
your bad-ass Indian-scout bullshit.
You're years out of date... I'm
makin' a career out of teaching you
the hardware. As far as I'm
concerned you're just along to back
me up. And I heard about you...
about how twitchy you really are.
Kill any civilians lately?
Brewer is hurled against a stone wall and pinned with a
knife to his throat so rapidly he's not sure how it
happened. Rambo is in his face, speaking very softly.
Listen real careful, freshmeat. I
don't know why they sent you. Maybe
they didn't want to waste a good
man. But you screw up once more and
I'll kill you myself.
Rambo whips away, moves quietly off.
Shaking with rage, Brewer levels his weapon at Rambo's
back. Then he realizes how silly that would be.
Frustrated, he jogs to catch up.
Man, are you strict.
Moving in the shadows, Rambo walks through the ruins
noiselessly. A voice emerges from the mist behind them,
an almost childlike lilt.
You are first tourist here in long
Brewer whips around, centering the AIMING DOT of his
sighting laser on a FIGURE sitting on a ledge above them.
Sitting cross-legged and unperturbed is a diminutive
VIETNAMESE WOMAN of about 28. The dot of Brewer's laser
is centered on her forehead like a Hindu prayer mark.
She is absolutely beautiful, with wide, calm eyes and
strong but sensuous mouth which curves now in a small
You come here see Buddha... ask for
truth? Or just lost?
Should I waste her?
Rambo pushes his rifle barrel aside and takes a step
forward. When he speaks it is in FLUENT VIETNAMESE.
I'm not lost. Just looking for
Someone called maybe 'Night Orchid'?
I'm Co Phuong Bao.
She's our contact.
I didn't know you spoke Vietnamese.
Co slides down from the ledge and stands before them,
almost two heads shorter than Rambo. Her lithe figure is
not entirely concealed by her loose black "pajamas". She
wears her hair in a long single braid and has the delicate
hands of a child.
I'm Rambo. This is Brewer.
Her name is Co.
It means "virgin." My mother was
He sticks out his hand but Rambo motions "no". She bows
Uh, you speak pretty good English.
Where'd you learn?
University of Saigon. Have Masters
Degree in economics. Not use too
much now... Communists in charge.
You got time... want to eat?
Sure. Whattaya got?
Co reaches up onto the ledge, her previous perch, and
pulls down a small PACK, actually a FOOD TUBE of the sort
worn over one shoulder by Viet Cong and other Vietnamese
She unrolls several rubber tree leaves holding rice with a
pungent sauce. Rambo takes the food and the proffered
CHOPSTICKS and, squatting, begins shoveling it expertly.
You really got a Masters Degree?
Sure. I only sound like forty-year-
old in your language.
Brewer fumbles with the sticks. Switches to fingers.
What's this stuff on the rice?
Fermented fish sauce.
Brewer's expression is less than enthusiastic.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - RIVER TRAIL - NIGHT
With Co leading through the maze of aimless game trails
the group makes its way parallel to a modest RIVER, THE
How do we get upriver?
I have arranged transportation. We
meet soon. But I think you to be
I go up to this camp two months ago.
Nobody there. Empty for years.
Rambo stops, puzzled.
Why would they send us to a deserted
Who cares? Let's just do it and get
out. Go have a Jacuzzi and get laid
in Bangkok. Know what I mean?
Rambo moves on, still concerned. something's a bit off.
We'll check it out.
How come we didn't just drop near
the camp... save this hassle?
Brewer. Does a jet make noise?
(switching to Viet
Where did you find this clown?
I thought he was with you.
What's she saying?
She likes you. Says you're dinky-
Yeah. Dinky-dau, that's me. Hey,
Co. You wanna meet Jake the one-
Rambo motions suddenly for a "freeze". Co walks on ahead,
toward the river, as the Americans melt into the shadows.
EXT. RIVER - MARSHY INLET
A HOUSE-SAMPAN wallows among the naked tree roots in a
brackish inlet off the main river. On deck are TWO MEN,
loosely speaking. Possibly two of the most misbegotten
specimens the Orient has to offer.
They raise their AK-47s as Co approaches. Exchange a few
quick syllables and Co turns, motioning Rambo and Brewer
As they pass, two more equally unwholesome-looking men
emerge from concealment and follow them to the sampan.
Everybody grips their weapons tightly.
(under his breath)
These guys look like they'd sell
Sometimes they do. They're river
pirates. Opium runners.
Pirates? No kidding?
Before they step across onto the sampan, Co introduces the
"captain" in Vietnamese.
Wearing all manner of jewelry, including four wristwatches
and a pair of filthy western-style jeans a size too large,
CAPTAIN TRONG KINH grins and motions them aboard.
The grin reveals bare gum where his upper front teeth
would be. Obviously broken out in a fight.
CAPTAIN TRONG KINH
Wa-ky number one. You come number
Thank you, Captain, for your
hospitality. You speak English very
Grinning wider, Captain Kinh motions them inside the
CABIN, a rambling and dilapidated structure of corrugated
sheet metal and woven bamboo.
Kinh barks orders at his men, who cast off from their
moorings and jump aboard. The first light of dawn is
breaking through the trees.
INT. SAMPAN CABIN
A raisin-faced WOMAN in an ao-dai, holding an infant,
shuffles aside as Rambo steps down into the dim smoky
Brewer, Co and Kinh follow.
The two Americans must stoop in the scaled-down structure.
Every conceivable space is crammed with scavenged or
looted detritus: ammo cases, hubcaps, radios, a TV with no
back, books, dead chickens, an ice-cube tray, a Toyota
bumper, outboard motors... there is no operant logic to
most of it.
Looks like my room in college.
We sleep here today. Safe here
while go up river.
What about patrol boats?
Kinh opens a greasy wooden locker, takes out his pride and
joy, a Russian-made RPG-7 ROCKET-GRENADE LAUNCHER.
His grin glistens evilly in the gloom.
EXT. BASE CAMP - DAWN
A beautiful sunrise backs the treeline, stretching long
shadows across the quiet camp.
INT. KIRKHILL'S TRAILER
The interior resembles that of a motor home, complete with
bunks, kitchenette and a small bar.
Kirkhill is on the phone, pacing... agitated. His
reptilian aide lounges on a bunk.
No, sir... we're already committed.
They're in the jungle right now. I
say we play the hand through... if
they find something we just bury the
report later. It's still airtight.
He hangs up. Runs a hand through his hair.
Goddamn it! Now the goddamn
satellite shows the camp occupied...
some trucks or something.
Oh, boy. It's getting dicey.
Their manner becomes guarded when a KNOCK at the door
The aide unlocks it and admits Trautman.
Listen, Kirkhill. I'm a bit of a
fifth wheel in your setup here... I
thought I'd go out with the
extraction team tonight. Unless you
have an objection.
(not liking it)
It's not necessary.
That's a pretty hairy ride. Full
Colonels are supposed to be above
that sort of thing.
Trautman is calling him on it with a deadpan response.
EXT. CA RIVER - DAY
Kinh's hideous sampan churns upriver slowly, powered by an
ancient outboard motor. It passes other river traffic,
small hand-powered sampans manned by figures in broad
conical coolie hats.
With the exception of a rare powered craft, the scene is
that of a Vietnam unchanged by centuries. The ebb and
flow of regimes and ideologies has little altered the
basics of life here.
Rambo watches through a chink in the sheeting of the cabin
as the timeless landscape rolls past.
A view of the shoreline as brown children splash naked in
the shallows where a row of hootches marches up the hill
on stilts. The SQUEALS and LAUGHTER come clearly across
Rambo turns his gaze to the sampan interior.
Two of Kinh's men, Co and Brewer all sleep soundly.
Rambo watches Co, her face serene in sleep. Childlike.
EXT. CA RIVER - LATE AFTERNOON
The water is coppery, silhouetting the sampan as it churns
Kinh's wife squats on the foredeck, smoking a long-stemmed
INT./ EXT. SAMPAN - SUNSET
The walnut-faced woman hands Rambo two bowls of nuoc mam.
He passes one to Brewer.
Have some armpit sauce.
Brewer groans. Opens a C-ration can.
How did you get started working for
Oh. They talk to me at university
before fall of Saigon. Make deal.
Everybody's makin' deals.
My brother captain in ARVN... need
papers to go United States, or North
Vietnamese will execute. They make
deal... I stay here and do work...
my brother and my son can go United
Co's eyes drop and her whole demeaner deflates slightly.
Nguyen. He twelve now. Not see him
for eight years.
Where's his father?
Dead. Killed in war.
Her voice and expression convey the fatalistic acceptance
of one who has seen death in all its forms. Expects it as
an element of daily life.
Where's Nguyen now? What city?
(noting his concern)
Huntington Beach, California.
It's nice there. He's probably
digging every minute. Got a
surfboard. Breaking girls' hearts.
Nguyen is good boy.
Co gazes at the sunset beyond the door. A tear runs down
her cheek. She catches herself. Wipes it away almost
brutally. She abruptly goes on deck.
Some hardened guerrilla fighter they
Rambo freezes him out with an evil look.
Suddenly there is a commotion on deck. The roar of a
powerful ENGINE. Co bursts in a moment later.
A FAST LAUNCH roars toward them, silhouetted by the
setting sun. UNIFORMED SOLDIERS on deck bring twin 50-
caliber machine guns to bear.
Rambo and Brewer dive under filthy bunks. Lock and load
their weapons. Co pushes junk in over them.
Kinh rips open the cabinet. Slams the shaft of a rocket
grenade into the launch tube.
Co barks an order at him. He hesitates. Lowers the
Co removes a small packet of North Vietnamese bills from
inside her blouse and hands it to Kinh.
The patrol boat pulls up in an arc, almost swamping them.
The soldiers on deck wear the uniforms of the North
The deck gunner racks the bolt on his R.P.K. MACHINE GUN.
The captain shouts RAPID VIETNAMESE on a loud hailer.
Kinh's men lounge on the sampan indolently, looking like
fishermen on an evening trawl.
The scrawny woman feeds an infant at one sagging breast.
The PATROL CAPTAIN draws his service pistol and jumps down
into the sampan, entering the cabin.
Co sits demurely on one bunk as Kinh greets the officer.
The officer begins poking through Kinh's possessions.
He tugs at the crate under the bunk where Rambo lies
TIGHT ON RAMBO
absolutely motionless. The crate beside his head moves.
The officer's boot is visible through a widening crack.
An ARGUMENT IN VIETNAMESE is heard heating up.
grips the MAC-11 tightly, releases, grips, releases.
Sweat runs into his eyes.
looks severe as he contemptuously thumbs through a sheaf
Kinh, gesticulating pathetically adds some more to the
After a tense moment the officer kicks the crate next to
Rambo and stalks out, tucking the payola in his tunic.
He jumps off the sampan and the patrol boat ROARS on.
Rambo and Brewer allow themselves to exhale.
How you doing, Brewer?
I need a vacation.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - PRISON CAMP - NIGHT
With Co leading, Rambo and Brewer move furtively along a
tortuous trail. It has rained recently and the forest is
alive with glistening reflections, dripping water.
The trail winds up a steep embankment.
As they reach the top of the rise, CAMERA BOOMS UP over
the shoulder of the embankment to reveal a COMPOUND
beyond, dark except for moonlight.
watches from concealment in the foliage. He is invisible
with his camo-makeup except for darting eyes.
looking between the leaves, scanning the prison camp.
Two shabby WOODEN GUARD TOWERS stand at diagonally
opposite corners of the compound. There is a simple fence
of barbed wire on wooden posts enclosing the area and a
main gate with a sentry box.
THREE LONG WOODEN BARRACKS form a U, filling most of the
compound. The place seems deserted.
Check the tower with your scope.
Brewer raises the rifle, sighting through the massive
BREWER'S POV - TELEPHOTO
The image is bright, lurid... black and white with a
greenish cast. Like contrasty daylight. He pans up the
tower. A Russian-made P.K. 7.62mm machine gun sits
pointing skyward. The tower seems unoccupied.
Nobody home. Wait a minute!
A brief glow of light illuminates the face of a TOWER
GUARD hidden in shadows.
What's he here for?
Nearby, another GUARD saunters out of the forest dressed
in NVA regular private's uniform with the sleeves rolled
up casually. His AK-47 is slung over his shoulder.
slips the telescopic microphone out of his rucksack and
clamps it to the side of his scope.
He slips on a pair of small earphones and pans the rifle-
scope-mike over the nearest barracks unit.
Snoring. Five, six guys.
Mumbling... Vietnamese. Somebody
talking in his sleep. A toilet
Guard barracks. Take some shots.
Brewer locks a 35mm SLR camera to an adapter on the
He starts clicking off some shots.
Brewer then scans the long hut across the compound.
He whips off the earphones in pain as a LOW SCREAM echoes
across the camp.
It fades into a delirious moaning. Stops.
Bad dreams. Prisoner's barracks.
Brewer clicks away.
A TINY ENGINE WHINING draws their attention to the main
gate where a YOUNG WOMAN on a LAMBRETTA SCOOTER pulls up
to the sentry shack.
Brewer zeros on her as she greets the GATE GUARDS.
Cyclo-girl whore from village.
Business slow there.
Rambo takes the earphones, listening to the girl's distant
She's making him a pretty good deal.
Apparently the guard agrees because he opens the gate and
the girl slips inside.
What's that? By the far tower.
Brewer pans to the distant shape.
It's a guy in a cage.
Can't tell. Pretty tall. He's real
scrunched up in that thing.
Let me see.
RAMBO'S POV THROUGH SCOPE
The image is of an EMACIATED FIGURE slumped in a bamboo
cage. The man's skin is ghostly white. He seems almost a
living skeleton, dressed only in ragged shorts.
His wrists are clamped in a wooden STOCK and blood runs
down his arms from the abraded sores.
THE IMAGE ZOOMS CLOSER, MOVES ONTO HIS FACE. TIGHT.
Though gaunt and filthy, he is clearly CAUCASIAN.
Alright. Home run.
Torture cage. Can't stand... can't
sit... for days. Sometimes weeks.
Bastards. Let's get some shots.
MOVING SLOWLY IN as he hands the kluge back to Brewer.
That guy's not going to make it.
Nothing we can do, man.
Rambo decides in that moment.
I'm getting him out.
What? Are you crazy? We're
supposed to take pictures and split.
You're gonna blow the whole program.
You never been in one of those
I suppose you have...
Rambo holds his wrists up, right under Brewer's nose...
showing the chafing scars.
It's orders! You remember... when
they tell you to do something and
then you do it. John Wayne is dead,
You take pictures and split. I'm
Brewer throws down his rifle. He's apoplectic.
He can barely form words.
Fuck it. Fuck it. Aw... ke-rist.
Then a slow grin spreads.
How we gonna do it?
EXT. CAMP PERIMETER - LATER
MOVING WITH BREWER as he belly crawls to the edge of the
cleared area, just a few yards from the wire. He is right
under one tower, hidden among ferns.
BREWER'S POV THROUGH SCOPE
as Rambo's silhouette crosses to the wire farther down.
DOLLYING WITH RAMBO at ground level as he crawls under the
wire and undulates from shadow to shadow.
He reaches the nearest building. Hugs it.
Rambo moves on in silence. He is barefoot, the pale skin
smeared with mud, and carries only the PISTOL CROSSBOW.
Without rifle, pack, harness or grenades to clatter, he
moves like a spirit in the material world.
Rambo raises one eye slowly over a window ledge.
Inside several guards sleep soundly under mosquito
netting. Their rifles are stacked against the far wall.
ANGLE ON GUARD
snoring ludicrously loud. He bats at a mosquito,
grunts... turns over.
ANGLE UNDER GUARD BARRACKS
MOVING with Rambo as he crawls among the support posts.
He freezes as a light is snapped on above him.
It streams down through cracks between floorboards.
Moving very slowly, Rambo squints through a gap.
A LOW ANGLE on a UNIFORMED GUARD rummaging in a tiny
prehistoric refrigerator, humming to himself.
He takes out a can of COKE, recognizable, although the
label is in Chinese characters. Rolls it slowly across
his sweaty forehead. Pops it. The foam now runs onto the
floor, drips into Rambo's eyes.
The light snaps off. FOOTSTEPS. Rambo moves on.
EXT. PRISONERS' BARRACKS
There are two rows of rusted iron bunks set out like a
hospital ward. Most of them are empty. Seven aren't.
SEVEN AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR
Like the man in the cage they are gaunt, scabrous.
Dressed in ragged peasant clothes too small for them.
One man, bathed in sweat, moans and tosses with malarial
fever. Another is wrapped so tightly in a fetal position
his face is between his knees.
They have padded the bare springs of their cots with
mattresses of rubber leaves.
Rambo stands a few feet from them as if giving a
benediction, the crossbow raised in one hand. He moves
on, leaving no trace.
EXT. GUARD TOWER
The GUARD reclines in a folding chair, nodding to the beat
of unheard music. A SONY WALKMAN is clipped on his belt
and he has the earphones over his GRAY PEAKED CAP.
He takes a last drag and tosses a cigarette over the
EXT. PERIMETER - RAIN FOREST
TIGHT ON BREWER hugging the ground as the smoldering butt
lands five feet from him... in the pool of light from a
floodlight. He groans, watching the smoke curl up.
Starts creeping his hand toward the butt.
EXT. COMPOUND - CAGE
The man inside opens his eyes when Rambo touches his
broomstick neck, feeling for a pulse.
His lips are parched and there is a horrible bruise around
American. Come to get you out.
Man, you are one scary-looking
Can you walk?
I could a couple of days ago. Gonna
Rambo quickly picks the lock on the wrist clamps and then
slips his LILE KNIFE from its sheath.
Starts cutting the lashings on the bamboo cage.
What's your name?
De Fravio. Dave De Fravio.
Lieutenant... Air Force.
The door gives way and Rambo steadies De Fravio as he
(shakes his hand)
Good to meet you, Dave. I'm Rambo.
Okay, I'm going to carry you. Don't
cough or make any noise.
Sure thing, Rambo. You gettin' the
other guys, too?
Not this time. We'll be back.
Rambo slings De Fravio's gaunt six-foot frame over his
shoulder in a fireman's carry and heads off in a crouching
LONG SHOT ON RAMBO
crossing a pool of light B.G. as the sentry lounges in
EXT. PERIMETER - RAIN FOREST
Brewer seems to have lost sight of Rambo. He scans the
camp to the treeline and back.
The filterless cigarette is smoked almost to his lips.
WHAM! A BOOTED FOOT SMASHES DOWN on his rifle, pinning
one hand. He looks up at...
A NORTH VIETNAMESE GUARD who holds an AK-47 in Brewer's
With his headphones on Brewer hadn't heard the quiet
approach from behind.
Brewer closes his eyes in profound misery.
There is a soft THUNK.
Brewer opens his eyes as the AK-47 falls into the grass.
Looks up to see...
The guard is leaning back against a tree, motionless.
The VANED TAIL of a CROSSBOW BOLT protrudes from his neck
under the jaw. He is pinned to the tree, quite dead.
Rambo appears from the undergrowth, still carrying De
Fravio, crossbow in hand.
EXT. RAIN FOREST
Brewer and Rambo, carrying the POW, rejoin Co on the
ridge, where they had left their gear.
Rambo sets De Fravio down and reaches for his boots.
The POW looks dazedly at his rescuers.
His eyes, in hollow sockets, track from one to the other.
You guys are real... aren't you?
Sorry, I mean... I talk to people
all the time... I know a lot of them
aren't there. But this is real,
isn't it? You're taking me home
That's right, buddy.
De Fravio sits frozen for a moment, then a dry sob wracks
his entire body and he puts his arms around Brewer.
He cries with utter abandon, quietly, while Brewer looks
at him helplessly.
Thank God... thank you...
Brewer looks at Rambo with a stricken expression. Then
puts his arms clumsily around De Fravio, like somebody
holding a baby for the first time.
Co touches Rambo's hand. Motions "let's go" with a cock
of her head. He nods.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - NEAR PRISON CAMP - LATER
A stocky SERGEANT OF THE GUARD stands over the partially
concealed body of the guard Rambo killed.
He raises his whistle and sends a SHRILL BLAST across the
Lights come on in the guard barracks.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - RIVER BANK - NIGHT
The sampan waits beyond a screen of trees as Brewer calls
in on the TRANSAT. Co is helping De Fravio walk
unsteadily down to the boat, B.G. The river bandits eye
the tall, death-like figure suspiciously.
We'd better go for the emergency LZ
at point Zulu Sierra. Tell them
we've got some heat but don't
mention De Fravio.
Brewer starts typing.
EXT. STAGING AREA - THAILAND
Doyle's ground crew is removing the camouflage canopy from
the UH-60 "Blackhawk" helicopter.
The turbines are warming up with an ASCENDING WHINE.
Doyle and Trautman, F.G., turn as the door to the command
trailer bursts open and a TECH runs out.
You're go for extraction. Mr.
Kirkhill says wind 'er up. Here's
Trautman takes the printout.
Alternate LZ Zulu Sierra at 0500.
It says "May have heat. Don't be
late. All our love."
(scowling at his
Let's get that tent down!
INT. SAMPAN - CA RIVER - NIGHT
De Fravio seems a little more in focus as he sits huddled
with the others in the cramped cabin.
I gotta tell you, it's just luck you
guys came when you did. They move
us around a lot... We only been at
that camp a week. Got a smoke?
What kind of raggedy-ass rescue you
Why were you in the box?
Well, I caught this cobra, see...
You mean the snake?
Yeah. It's not hard once you get
the hang of it. In the wrist.
Anyway, I did what I always do when
I get one...
Put it in the guard's barracks.
Man they got pissed. They beat the
crap out of me, but... it's kind of
a tradition. You oughta see 'em run
You got a bad attitude.
De Fravio grins, showing bad teeth as well.
I know it.
De Fravio eyes Co as she hands him a plate of rice and
Thanks lady. You're pretty cute...
doing anything this weekend?
Eat slowly. Don't make yourself
She exits with the dirty cooking utensils.
When Co closes the door to the cabin, Kinh sidles up to
her and rapidly whispers something in Vietnamese.
He seems to be eliciting a response and eyes her warily.
Co freezes indecisively, then nods yes.
In the stern, B.G., one of Kinh's men is talking quietly
on a beat-up military-style FIELD RADIO.
His voice is masked by the sound of the outboard motor.
Co whispers something and holds out her hand, palm up.
Kinh grins, gaptoothed. He pulls a .45 PISTOL from his
belt and slips it to her. Runs his finger along the curve
of her neck. She quietly pulls the cocking slide,
chambering a round.
EXT. CA RIVER - INLET
The sampan glides into the brackish estuary amid half-
submerged trees. It is the original rendezvous point.
Everyone assembles on deck, with Rambo helping De Fravio
through the cabin door.
Brewer checks his watch.
Twenty-five minutes. We'd better
Rambo freezes... looks down.
An AK-47 muzzle is pressed into his kidney, held by one of
Two more are covering Brewer, who had just handed his
rifle to Co, while donning his pack.
Kinh steps up, grinning. Takes Rambo's rifle. A fourth
guard eases an arm around his neck, a long knife held
under his jawline.
It has all happened smoothly and with precision planning.
Wa-ky number ten. Do-ma.
Yeah, fuck your mama-san, too. In
Kinh backhands him to the deck.
TIGHT ON RAMBO
his eyes cold, looking at Co.
She advances on him. Her black almond-shaped eyes
glitter, alien as the depths of space.
She spits in his face.
Kinh snorts a feral laugh.
Rambo doesn't react.
Her eyes dart to the side.
RAMBO AND CO
something, a microsecond flash of understanding, passes
You slope bitch!
She whirls on him, drawing the .45. It is enormous in her
child's hand. Her expression is terrifying.
The renegade behind Brewer ROCKETS BACKWARD, his FACE
Rambo moves, slapping his guard's elbow, driving the knife
across and away. His teeth snap shut on the man's
forearm. The knife falls.
Rambo's hands are simultaneously seizing the other guard's
AK-47 just as he fires. Rambo holds his hand on the man's
trigger hand, AIMING THE GUN.
BULLETS RAKE FROM GROIN TO FACE on the third man standing
HE SPINS BACK, his rifle BLASTING AWAY harmlessly into the
Co places the muzzle of the .45 against Kinh's temple.
His grin is long gone.
SHE FIRES WITHOUT HESITATION.
Rambo drives the butt of the second man's AK-47 into his
stomach twice. The bandit lets go.
Firing blind over his shoulder, Rambo vaporizes the head
of his guard, whose hand he still grips viciously in his
teeth. He releases the hand. Almost like spitting out
the dead man.
Clutching his stomach, the last bandit leaps to the shore.
FIFTEEN ROUNDS FROM BREWER'S SILENCED MAC-11 stutter
quietly into him. He pitches face-down in the mud.
A cloud of blue cordite smoke disappears in silence.
The whole thing lasted four seconds.
What just happened?
Rambo moves over to Co.
She seems to sag, depleted. In shock.
He takes the .45 from her limp fingers.
Are you okay?
Yes. But I lose many merits in next
life. Very bad.
Why'd they want us?
They heard about escaped prisoner on
radio. Make deal. More than we pay.
They sold us out? Now I'm pissed.
They were fools. To think there
would be reward. And to ask my
Rambo puts his hands on her shoulders.
Rambo. NVA coming. Pig dog Kinh
say meet them here. Whole garrison
from Con Cuong is out.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - LAOS - NIGHT
At treetop level the all-black UH-60 ROARS down a forested
valley at 180 mph, using no illumination but the moon.
MOVING WITH THE HELICOPTER
as it rises and drops with the terrain.
Once again Doyle is night-flying in a blacked-out cockpit,
putting the landing skids through the treetops.
Trautman stands behind the seats in the main bay.
Night air ROARS in the open door and Lifer, on door gun,
dangles his legs in the windstream. The rain forest is a
dim blur very close below.
Back in Indian country. Just like
He racks the bolt on his M-60 and grins.
Trautman nods politely and looks at his watch.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - NEAR WAT - PRE-DAWN
Rambo's group circles the ruins as they head for the
The trail skirts an escarpment which drops over a hundred
feet to the Ca River below. Not far from the overgrown
spires of the Wat is a stream which breaks over the cliff
in a graceful waterfall dropping unimpeded into a lagoon.
The vista is quite stunning in the moonlight.
Brewer is struggling with both packs plus the heavy
Transat, since Rambo has De Fravio and Co has her own
pack. Brewer scrambles, slipping back on the steep trail.
Let's ditch this Transat. We don't
Rambo considers for a moment, then pulls away some
underbrush beside a collapsed wall of the ruin.
Bury it here. Work fast.
Brewer gets out his entrenching tool.
A cold pre-dawn light suffuses the rain forest, giving it
an expectant quality.
Rambo scans the ridgeline with Brewer's scope.
RAMBO'S POV - TELEPHOTO
Figures of TWENTY OR MORE VIETNAMESE SOLDIERS can be seen
threading among the trees.
You better take off.
Ain't you coming with us, sweet
My orders stay here.
She turns to head off along a diverging trail. Rambo
touches her shoulder. She turns.
See you in California.
Her grin is ironic.
Land of big PX. Maybe I take you
for a ride in my Cadillac.
Rambo watches her go. A tiny, anonymous peasant girl.
INT./ EXT. UH-60 - DAWN
Trautman watches over Doyle's shoulder as the helicopter
roars between the walls of a mountain pass. The ship is
buffeted by turbulence, bouncing and dropping violently.
The steep slopes fall away and Doyle dives the ship across
the rolling foothills.
We HEAR a faint call, barely audible over static.
Zen Hammer this is Slam Dunk One, do
you copy? Over.
Roger, Slam Dunk One... what is your
EXT. RAIN FOREST - NEAR PADDIES - DAWN
Rambo is crouched with Brewer and De Fravio in a hollow
beside an earth dike.
They are taking AUTOMATIC WEAPONS FIRE from the trees
Spurts of earth leap up around them.
Rambo is shouting in a controlled articulate voice into a
small PRC-90 FIELD RADIO while Brewer lays down
SUPPRESSING FIRE with his M-16 A2.
Zen Hammer... the heat's on. We're
taking fire. Watch for my smoke.
Red and green. Northwest corner of
a big paddy.
Rambo and Brewer, carrying De Fravio, charge up and over
the dike as the ground is ripped around them.
Rambo hurls two SMOKE GRENADES down the dike wall.
Columns of red and green smoke begin roiling upward.
The dike on which they are pinned down forms part of the
enclosure for a complex of terraced RICE PADDIES which
occupy the few flat acres of this hilly terrain. The
flooded fields reflect the pre-dawn sky like plates of
Rambo slams in another clip and fires in short, controlled
burst. Brewer hands a captured AK-47 to De Fravio.
The ex-POW opens up with a vengeance.
Go for it, man. Good therapy.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - NEARBY
VARIOUS ANGLES as THREE TROOP TRUCKS slide to a halt on a
rutted jungle road, disgorging squads of NVA TROOPS.
Mortars are set up. Roughly aimed. THEY FIRE with a
ON THE DIKE
The Americans duck as a mortar round explodes in the paddy
behind them, throwing up a geyser of mud. Brewer picks up
the PRC-90 mike.
You guys comin' or what?
Through the front canopy distant wisps of red and green
smoke can be seen. The paddies rush by below in a blur.
Roger... we have you on visual. We
are coming in. How many are you?
Three. We got an American POW with
Relay to command. They have one of
INT. COMMAND SHACK - THAILAND
Kirkhill is pacing behind the main console.
Mr. Kirkhill... I have an AWACS
relay. Zen Hammer reports the
ground team has an American POW with
Kirkhill's reaction is unexpected. He whips around.
What did you say?
They've got one of ours.
TIGHT ON KIRKHILL
as a look of frustrated rage is replaced by deadly calm.
This station is now on Condition
Bravo. Harrison. Meyers. Goodell.
The puzzled techs drop their headsets and leave.
(continuing to tech)
Go to your COMINT priority
frequency. Give me the mike... Zen
Hammer, this is Coach One. This is
an Alpha-Kilo-Victor command
Roger, Coach One... go ahead.
I want you to abort the operation
Fuhrman can't believe it.
Say again, Coach One?
He presses the helmet-headphone tight to his ear, then
turns to Trautman, cupping his hand over the mike.
He wants us to abort before pick-up.
It is confirmed.
Coach One... we have them in
Doyle looks at both of them and shrugs.
I thought you liked those guys.
I do. But they ain't payin' the
Stay on your heading, Captain.
Sorry, Sir. Can't do it.
That's an order.
Trautman has his hand on the butt of his .45 when he hears
the clack of a rifle bolt over the rotor noise and turns.
Lifer has an M-16 in his lap, not exactly aimed at the
colonel, but not aimed away, either.
We ain't Uncle Sam's misguided
children no more, Colonel. We're
That's right, Sir. We don't like
this, but we are working for Mr.
You pathetic scum.
Well, if there weren't POWs before,
there are now.
EXT. RICE PADDY
Rambo half-supports De Fravio with one arm and fires his
AK with the other as they slog through the calf-deep
water. Mortar rounds explode on all sides. They watch
the UH-60 skimming in low across the paddies, blasting up
a curtain of spray.
Almost to them...
It veers in a tight bank and climbs out.
Where's he going?
Hey, Zen Hammer, where are you
Do you read, Zen Hammer? Over. Son
of a bitch! They're ditching us!
The water is shot into spray around them. A mortar shell
lands so close it knocks them down, drenching them with
slimy black mud. The radio disappears in the water.
Rising, Brewer takes a round in the thigh. Drops.
Disappears for a second... comes up gasping.
Rambo watches the UH-60 diminishing to a black dot.
He is so consumed with rage that his expression goes
slack... blank... a murderous disconnection from
And yet, in that same moment, a tremendous surge of blind
will clears his mind, a determination to survive, to get
out at whatever cost... to find whoever did this.
It is no longer just a mission. It is a very personal
piece of business.
He turns and lets his rifle drop into the water. He takes
De Fravio's and throws it away.
The fuckers left us, man... they
Brewer wallows weakly, his blood streaming out into the
De Fravio looks stunned, lost... eviscerated.
He sags to his knees.
It gets quiet.
In a ragged line, the NVA soldiers advance to the top of
the dike. Twenty. Forty. Finally almost eighty, looking
down at the Americans. Rambo slowly raises his hands.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - HILL NEARBY
OVER THE SHOULDER of Co, watching from behind a screen of
foliage as the ring of NVA troops converge on the tiny
figures of Rambo, Brewer and De Fravio.
TIGHT ON CO, her expression enigmatic. She turns and
darts away, vanishing into the forest.
INT. KIRKHILL'S TRAILER
Kirkhill is pouring scotch over ice in two glasses as the
door behind him bangs open.
Trautman's expression could slice a steak.
Have a drink.
Kirkhill offers a glass to Trautman who ignores it.
Kirkhill sets the glass down and sits at the dinette,
motioning Trautman to sit as well.
You got five hours? I'll tell you
about Secretaries of State, and
funding committees and diplomatic
Trautman slowly sits opposite him, his demeanor becoming
Take your time.
Look, Colonel... we're all adults
here. This is a war. A very quiet,
very intense war. People get
Not my people.
Kirkhill freezes, glancing down.
The muzzle of Trautman's service .45 is jammed into his
But you're right... some people do
get sacrificed. Now tell me why you
pulled the plug.
You think I'm some whacko? I like
to hurt people? I'm doing a job
here. If I knew what's right or
wrong I'd be a goddamned priest,
right? So I follow directives... I
do what I'm told. It's simple. If
your boy had done what he was told,
there wouldn't be a problem.
Don't dance me, Kirkhill. You'll be
Trautman leans on the .45 a bit and Kirkhill backs into
the seat cushion.
Look, it was a screw-up, alright?
They weren't supposed to find
anything. We thought that camp was
This mission was a scam from the
Word came down... they wanted an
answer. And they knew the answer
they wanted: no POWs. But it had
to look good. Best effort. The
whole dog-and-pony show.
Kirkhill takes a healthy pull from his scotch.
Rambo and Brewer were selected as
It was clean. Very clean... Rambo
was a decorated Vietnam vet, a
former POW himself... if he came out
and said "No POWs" the sub-committee
would buy it. He gets himself
caught he's a private citizen, a
whacko, acting on his own. If he
gets proof, it gets lost somewhere
between here and D.C. Airtight.
But no... Rambo's gotta be a hero.
Thinks he's starring in his own war
movie or something. He put me in a
corner. No choice.
"Terminate with extreme prejudice."
That's a crock. We don't say that.
Do you have any idea the shitstorm
if he'd gotten back with that guy?
If it went public? The White House
would have to act through channels.
We're talking ransom. Four billion
bucks in war reparations to Vietnam
to get the others back. That's
billion, Colonel. With a "B". For
a few guys that've had their brains
in a blender for ten years? A pain
in the ass to everybody? No way.
There's no way.
The colonel has let the pistol drop, until it is dangling,
So there never was a Phase Two
Of course not. You can't get
approval to rescue a kitten from a
tree after Tehran.
After a long silence, Trautman nods.
Kirkhill relaxes. It's going to be okay. The colonel is
one of the boys.
Trautman doesn't take the glass.
I understand your position.
I understand how a maggot like you
can just slide out of a jam on a
trail of slime. And call it --
Kirkhill slams his empty glass down. His tone becomes
You're out of your depth, Trautman.
Way out. I'm acting correctly here.
Not you. Not your gung-ho jungle
It's over. Walk away.
It's not over. You made one
Trautman clicks the safety and reholsters the .45.
EXT. PRISON CAMP - VIETNAM - DAY
D-PLUS 36 HRS
BAN KIA NA
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
TIGHT ON RAMBO
his eyes ablaze, face crusted with dried mud and sweat.
revealing him under guard, arms bound painfully tight
behind him, in the back of a troop truck.
He is seized by TWO VIET SOLDIERS and dragged forward, off
De Fravio hits the ground behind him, and Brewer, moaning
on a stretcher, is unloaded. His fatigues are matted to
the skin by dried blood from hip to knee.
Camp commander CAPTAIN VO QUOC VINH strides across the
compound. He is fairly twitching with suppressed rage at
the loss of face brought on by his useless guards.
He screams orders as the troops dismount, roughly dragging
forward the three captives.
A VIET SERGEANT turns the captives over to CHIEF GUARD
SERGEANT TRAN VAN TAY with a quick salute.
The instant Vinh stops shouting Tay begins, like a relay.
The prisoners are prodded forward.
Rambo walks beside a wide-eyed Brewer.
Are they going to torture us?
What... whattaya do?
A GUARD shoves Rambo on ahead as Brewer's carriers stop at
the door of an isolation cell.
Hope they kill you by mistake.
Rambo's guard slams his rifle butt into the American's
belly, half-doubling him over.
INT. ISOLATION CELL
The door to a tiny fetid room is opened and Brewer is
dumped off the stretcher and flung inside. He lands on
his knees and gasps in pain, clutching his leg.
The door clangs shut, leaving stifling gloom.
This ain't happening.
INT. PRISONERS' BARRACKS
De Fravio is helped back to his bunk by one of the other
prisoners. There are few moments in human experience as
devastating as the return to prison (especially this
prison). The absolute abandonment of hope.
Several of the POWs sit near him, silently offering their
support. It is evident that two of the men, B.G., are as
autistic as De Fravio, having succumbed to that withdrawn
plane long before.
JENSEN, a prisoner with one leg, settles beside De Fravio
on his bunk. Puts a spidery hand on his shoulder.
We were pulling for you, Dave. We
hoped you'd make it.
De Fravio's eyes focus. The merest spark of the old
defiant De Fravio glimmers wanly.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - DUSK
LOW ANGLE on Sgt. Tay, powerful and vicious-looking as a
rabid ferret. He raises one fist, holding a LENGTH OF
RUBBER STRAP cut from a truck tire, and smashes it down
OUT OF FRAME.
There is a SICKENING THUD against flesh.
TIGHT ON RAMBO
grimacing from the blow.
There are board red welts over both collarbones, oozing
blood in places.
showing Rambo on his knees, at the center of a bare
CONCRETE ROOM. A single window admits a shaft of red
dusk-light, like a spotlight.
Rambo sways in the spotlight, glistening with sweat,
stripped to his G.I. shorts.
In the four corners of the small room are guards with
rifles. Others crowd in the doorway, grinning and
jostling to see.
WHAM! The truncheon descends against Rambo's face.
He sprawls onto the floor face-down, nose streaming blood.
Capt. Vinh enters with a strident shout, stopping Tay
from another blow. The two officers exit at a run,
leaving Rambo on his face before the guards.
EXT. CAMP COMPOUND - DUSK
An unearthly wind and the THUNDER of several helicopter
rotors fills the camp.
Two American-made "HUEY" HELICOPTERS descend to lumpy
landings near the guard towers.
One is a UH-1D "Slick" troop carrier and the other is a
UH-1B Gunship outfitted with a pedestal-mounted MINIGUN
and M-60 door gun.
Captured from the ARVN in 1975, both ships bear the
insignia of the Republic of Vietnam.
Beyond the guard tower, and dwarfing the two Hueys, an
ENORMOUS HELICOPTER ROARS out of the setting sun.
RUNNING LIGHTS and STROBES FLASH as the massive silhouette
drops into the courtyard raising a blast of dust.
It is a SOVIET MIL MI-24 assault helicopter.
Its double blister canopies look like huge insect eyes.
The STUBWING WEAPONS PODS bristle with rockets and
It is painted with jungle camouflage and bears the red
star insignia of the SOVIET NAVAL AIR WING.
The Viet officers and guards cringe against the rotor
blast as the ship settles. The side door slides open.
DOLLY BACK, PRECEDING TWO RUSSIAN OFFICERS who tower above
the Vietnamese as they stride across the camp.
Vinh points to the concrete blockhouse and the officers
stride past him without slowing. He falls in behind them,
trying to keep up.
INT. PRISONERS' BARRACKS
Jensen turns from the window as the MIL MI-24's jet-whine
It's those Russian interrogators
Everyone looks grim.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM
Vinh sends the gawking guards scurrying with strident
yells as he follows the two Russians into the room. The
Soviets stand in front of Rambo. The shorter of the two,
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER YATI PODOVSK, has the slight build
and unremarkable features of a bank clerk, though for a
man in his forties he is in superb condition. The other,
LIEUTENANT PALYUSHIN, is another story. He is a tall
broad slab of combat muscle, his black hair cut short as a
scrub brush. Thick and functional as state sculpture, his
features cannot fill his broad, flat face.
Both wear the khaki field dress and black beret of the
Naval Spetznatz Brigada, The "Special Operations Brigada".
At Palyushin's feet, Rambo finds himself looking up at his
Soviet opposite number, the BLACK BERET.
Put him in the chair.
Palyushin hauls Rambo onto a wooden stool against the
wall. Podovsk sits next to him on a small metal desk.
It is almost dark and the only light is from a single bare
(Viet to Vinh)
Thank you, Captain Vinh. Leave one
Vinh exits with Tay and the other three Viets.
Podovsk adjusts his wire-rim glasses and considers Rambo.
He turns Rambo's bloodied face gently, examining the
These people are so... vulgar in
their approach. I am Lieutenant
Commander Podovsk. I do not know
who you are. Will you tell me?
Podovsk's English is lightly accented but clear and
articulate. He has a nasal condition, however. Rambo
No? Not even your name?
This is a poor beginning for an
intimate relationship. By tomorrow
or the next day you will tell me
things you would not tell a lover.
Podovsk notices the long criss-crossed scars on Rambo's
chest and back.
I see you are no stranger to pain.
Then of course you must know how
senseless it is to resist in the
long run. Is it possible you have
been among my Vietnamese comrades
Podovsk catches something as Rambo breaks his gaze,
Yes. I think that must be it.
Where were you held? Hanoi? Son
Tay? I apologize. I'm getting
ahead. Sometimes I get too eager.
My comrade and I, in our capacity as
advisors, have been sent from our
center at Cam Ranh Bay to discover
from you certain things... for
example: whether you are working
directly for the American
government... Who your contacts
were... and on and on. Quite a
list. Will you tell me these things
Rambo gazes at a point in space.
Of course you won't. But, as a
moral man, I felt compelled to ask.
He stands with a shrug of finality and gestures to his
This is Lieutenant Palyushin. To
him you are a piece of meat.
(in Russian to
on Palyushin walking forward.
EXT. CAMP - MAIN GATE - NIGHT
The guard in the sentry box glances up from a newspaper at
the SOUND of an approaching MOTORBIKE. A YOUNG WOMAN
wearing an ao-dai and coolie hat rides up on a HONDA
SCOOTER and stops by the shack.
OVER THE GIRL'S SHOULDER
as she steps up to the guards box and coos something to
the sentry. He grins to see a new face among the whores
from the village, and one so pretty... great luck.
REVERSE ON GIRL
revealing that she is Co, as she dickers price through the
sentry box window. He unlatches the gate.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM
An IRON BED FRAME has been brought in and leaned
vertically against the wall opposite the door.
Rambo has been tied to the frame spread-eagle by lengths
of COAT HANGER WIRE around his ankles, neck and forearms
at the elbows.
Palyushin is setting up a box-like PIECE OF EQUIPMENT on
the small desk. There are wires running from the bedframe
and from a METAL PLATE about the size of a paperback book
taped to Rambo's belly.
Palyushin clamps the other ends of the cables to terminal
posts on the box, which has a large RHEOSTAT knob and
several switches and dials.
I was sent here because of my
command of your language. It will
be frustrating if we cannot have a
nice chat. Very frustrating.
Palyushin nods and douses Rambo with a BUCKET OF WATER.
Palyushin, without ceremony, twists the knob.
Rambo convulses with an explosive muscle contraction.
Slams against the springs. His veins swell as if to
EXT. CAMP COURTYARD
The lights of the camp dim, flickering, under the current
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM
Rambo slams convulsively against the electric grid formed
by the steel bed. His teeth are clenched as if he has
INT. PRISONERS' BARRACKS
The lights come up to normal brightness.
De Fravio closes his eyes, sharing a ghost of the pain.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM
Rambo hangs from his bonds, heaving and shivering.
Podovsk turns to him conversationally, as if he were an
acquaintance at work rather than a man being tortured.
Oh, yes. Here is something you
might be interested in.
He draws a folded piece of paper from his pocket. Opens
A transcript of the conversation
between your helicopter pilot and
his commander, intercepted and
unscrambled by our overworked
Mmm. "Zen Hammer... Slam Dunk."
Colorful names. Here we are: "Ah,
Coach One... we have them in sight."
And the reply: "Abort immediately.
Return to base camp."
He graciously shows Rambo the printout.
It seems they intentionally
abandoned you on direct orders.
There are the people you protect
with your silence? With your pain?
He snaps his fingers and Palyushin cranks the knob.
The lights dim.
Rambo fights the scream unleashed within him with every
fiber of his being. Straining like a demon, every muscle
sharply defined and rock hard.
But you must scream. You must.
There is no shame.
It bursts out, a roar that frays his vocal cords.
EXT. CAMP COURTYARD
Co, moving stealthily in the shadow of a wall, pauses at
the SOUND of the scream. Notes its direction.
INT. ISOLATION CELL
In the darkness Brewer rages against the inhuman
screaming, pounding the wall.
INT. INTERROGATION CELL
Rambo hangs so limply that he might be dead. Podovsk
moves in to check as Rambo's head begins to rise.
TIGHT ON RAMBO
as he looks up. His eyes seem like diamond drills.
There is such determination born of rage in his expression
that Podovsk stops. Takes a step back.
Snaps his fingers.
Rambo convulses and begins to scream. Podovsk nods to his
INSERT - PALYUSHIN'S HAND
cuts off the current. But the scream CONTINUES. GETS
BACK TO SCENE
The Lieutenant looks up, puzzled.
Rambo is going berserk. His body is an out-of-control
machine, lashing and tearing at the frame. The scream
breaks and becomes a FEROCIOUS HOWL.
The Viet guard steps forward, alarmed and unnerved.
His rifle is raised, warding off evil.
Podovsk motions him back and steps closer himself.
The bedframe begins to twist, creaking and warping under
Rambo's frenzied assault.
TIGHT CUTS - RAPID SUCCESSION
A weld. Springs pop.
Podovsk takes a reflexive step forward.
Rambo's hand shoots out, free suddenly, like a grappling
Palyushin hits the CURRENT.
Rambo jerks Podovsk into a headlock, a death embrace.
Podovsk screams. Convulses.
The Russian lashes about, convulsing in the current.
The lieutenant cuts the power.
Rambo snatches Podovsk's MAKAROV PISTOL from his holster.
Aims it at his temple before Palyushin can reach for his.
The Black Beret eases his hand away from his holster.
ON THE GUARD
Frozen. A FIGURE slips through the door behind him. Co
cuts his throat in one motion with a BUSH KNIFE.
She covers Palyushin with the guard's AK-47 as she circles
to Rambo who is still enmeshed in metal wreckage.
Rambo smashes the Makarov into Podovsk's temple twice,
then holds Palyushin transfixed by his pistol sights as Co
works quickly at his bonds. There are superficial cuts on
his forearms, ankles and neck from the wire.
Rambo SCREAMS hideously and with cold premeditation to
mask the sound of her work. The effect is bizarre,
We get out. Split up. They not
Rambo steps from the wreckage and advances on the hulking
Black Beret, pistol ready.
Again he screams, almost a war cry now, and smashes his
fist into the Russian's face with the force of his entire
body behind it. The big man's head ricochets off the wall
into a second piledriver punch.
Palyushin goes down.
Podovsk groans and stirs until Rambo twists the knob.
Despite a bad connection, Podovsk jerks spasmodically
under the collapsed metal frame, lying in the puddle of
Before Co can use the knife on Palyushin, Capt. Vinh
enters, his expression agape. He turns and bolts.
Vinh dashes out, SHOUTING MANIACALLY. Behind him Rambo
hurtles through the door, a blur, and smashes Vinh against
the concrete wall.
Vaulting over the crumpled camp commander without slowing,
Rambo hits the outside door at a full run. Just as Sgt.
Tay is opening it from outside.
Tay's AK flies from his hands as he tumbles back.
Rambo spins into him with a FLYING ROUNDHOUSE KICK which
pitches him onto his back, an inert heap.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM
The transformer box shorts out under the continuous load,
frying with a bright FLASH.
The lights of the camp go out completely.
With Co close behind him, Rambo runs toward the compound
A SHOUT FROM NEARBY. A RUNNING GUARD and Co open up with
their assault rifles simultaneously.
The guard dives for cover.
Rambo lifts the wire for Co to wiggle under. She
reciprocates for him as the TOWER GUARD spins his long-
unused PK MACHINE GUN and opens fire.
Co fires from the shoulder.
The tower guard flinches at the unexpected return fire.
Dives. His shots go wild. Co's AK empties. She drops
Rambo and Co make it into the forest, running full out.
MORE AKs OPEN UP behind them. Both TOWER PKs.
EXT. RAIN FOREST
HANDHELD PRECEDING RAMBO at a dead run as he crashes
through foliage. The forest is an insane blur.
TRACERS WHIP BY, ruler-straight lines of red light...
BARK EXPLODES from tree trunks around them. Leaves are
ripped into green confetti.
They angle away from the blind firing. Stop at a GAME
You are amazing.
Co is furious at his dawdling.
(pointing down trail)
Di di mau! Go! Go!
She spins and sprints away along the trail, disappearing
in a moment. Rambo hesitates an instant, then runs the
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM
Palyushin, his nose and mouth streaming blood, claws his
way up the desk and reels across the dark room to Podovsk.
He hurls the metal frame off his superior, who groans
A guard holds Sgt. Tay's shoulders as he retches.
Palyushin strides out of the interrogation blockhouse and
jerks the sergeant to his feet by his collar. He points
to the forest.
He releases the Viet sergeant and briskly walks toward the
MIL MI-24. Tay weakly calls orders B.G., rounding up his
The RUSSIAN PILOT is waiting dutifully near his machine as
Palyushin approaches. The Black Beret makes a circular
hand signal... WIND HER UP.
EXT. RAIN FOREST
Rambo at a dead run zig-zags along the dark game trail.
The path steepens and he claws at exposed roots...
climbing as much as running. Behind him is the rising
sound of rotors.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - NEAR CAMP
Using HAND LIGHTS to follow his footprints, Tay's SQUAD OF
SIX GUARDS jogs into the jungle. Behind them, through the
trees, the massive assault helicopter and its escort of
Hueys rise into the night.
The three choppers switch on their HIGH INTENSITY
SEARCHLIGHTS as they thunder overhead.
Shafts of light pierce the jungle. Sweeping. Searching.
Rambo is climbing rapidly, using roots as handholds to
ascend the steep trail.
The WHUMP-WHUMP of the helicopters approaches, the glare
of light flickering behind him.
Rambo moves into a densely woven thicket. Freezes,
watching. Moves on.
EXT. FOREST - NEARBY
The guards are ascending the trail like hounds.
EXT. FOREST - TRAIL
Rambo crashes through foliage as a SEARCHLIGHT SWEEPS
It races over him, backlighting him as he dives off the
The searchlight flicks past him. Snaps back.
TRACERS rip down through the trees.
RED SLASHES OF DEATH.
Rambo tumbles, rolls, comes up running. He tears through
the jungle in a frenzy.
The foliage is alive with blasting air.
He dives over the edge of a muddy ravine, dropping through
tangled vines. Catching, clawing, dropping.
He runs on.
They can't target him.
He hits a solid trail and sprints, really covering ground.
The shaft of light scans back and forth behind him.
Then farther away. They've lost him. For the moment.
ANGLE ABOVE JUNGLE CANOPY
as the choppers circle, seemingly dueling with lances of
EXT. TRAIL - NEARBY
Rambo, moving rapidly, but more carefully, glides among
the trees. He stops at the BANK OF A TINY STREAM, setting
down knife and pistol. Scooping stinking BLACK MUD from
the stream bed, he begins to slather it over his pale skin
with quick, sure strokes. Arms. Legs. Body...
TIGHT ON RAMBO'S FACE
eyes closed, as he smears the goo thoroughly over every
exposed area. His eyes open. It is a neolithic, feral
visage that turns away into the foliage.
ON THE GUARDS
moving forward cautiously. Unfamiliar with tracking, and
little else really except bullying weak prisoners, they
crash around clumsily, falling and cursing in the dense
CLOSE ON RAMBO
moving in absolute silence nearby. He freezes.
Fifteen meters away is a SMALL WILD PIG, asleep under a
knot of vines. Rambo fires the makarov, hitting the earth
near the pig. It squeals and leaps up.
wave their AKs, looking for the source of the shot. They
hear something crashing through the undergrowth to the
right. Movement in dense brush. They open fire.
The CRASH OF SUSTAINED FIRE is deafening. They blast
blindly away, lighting up the forest.
Their attention is so focused, the din so loud, they do
not notice a dark figure moving up behind them.
Rambo snatches the wayward last guard into a thicket,
knife buried to the hilt, hand over his mouth.
Tay shouts repeatedly to cease firing and the others
They move away, advancing on their "target."
Tay gingerly parts woven branches, revealing the pig,
riddled with hundreds of 7.62mm rounds. He turns to the
The other guards look around, puzzled.
A shadow in shadows. He slips the clip from the AK-47 he
has liberated, but finds it almost empty. Sets it down
Tay spreads his men out to sweep the area in an arc.
The guards advance, stricken with a growing unease.
EXT. RAIN FOREST
LOW ANGLE through the trees as the Soviet assault
helicopter passes overhead, its searchlight sweeping.
The canopy of foliage lashes violently as the rotor wash
blasts through it. Monkeys SHRIEK and leap about.
ON RAMBO - FOREGROUND
as the godlike shaft of light moves through the brush
behind him. Searching. Passing within a meter of him.
He moves quickly off.
The disk of hideously bright light passes over two guards,
blinding them. One trips and goes down. The other, the
outermost man of the sweep, waits for him to rise. And
Vuoc? You alright?
The guard moves cautiously to his friend's last position.
Ahead face-down in a shallow stream, is the BODY OF VUOC,
his blood running away with the water.
Approaching the body warily, the guard plays his
flashlight around him in a full circle. Nothing.
DETAIL ON MUDBANK
Featureless matted vines and mud. Suddenly A PAIR OF EYES
ON THE GUARD
kneeling over Vuoc in the F.G. Behind him there is silent
movement among the gnarled roots and vines in a muddy
Blending flawlessly with the mudbank, Rambo's mud-
encrusted figure has been in PLAIN VIEW, YET CONCEALED,
until he opened his eyes and moved. He emerges
noiselessly and moves up behind the guard, looming above
INT./ EXT. MIL MI-24
Palyushin mans the forward cockpit, the WEAPONS BAY.
His hands clutch the handles of a machine gun as he scans
the jungle below. The pilot directs the searchlight as he
Palyushin touches his nose gingerly. It is clearly
broken, becoming a thickened, purplish mass.
EXT. RAIN FOREST
Realizing they are without their flankers, the two CENTER
GUARDS call out and move toward their last positions.
They stand together at the top of the mudbank, gaping at
the two bodies sprawled below.
ANGLE ON TAY
isolated, calling for his men to sound off. He hears a
distant shout, then a quick burst of gunfire.
Bui? Phong? Than?
There is no answer.
INT. MIL MI-24
Palyushin points at something on the ground.
The pilot banks, arcing around his searchlight's target.
EXT. RAIN FOREST
Tay moves forward hypnotically, as if transfixed.
The celestial shaft of the searchlight burns down ahead.
He approaches. Like a vision he sees the BODIES OF HIS
MEN sprawled in the quivering disk of light. One has been
stripped of his clothing. He stares around, terrified,
staggers back, lip quivering.
Tay drops his rifle and runs back through the jungle.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - RIDGE
Rambo climbs steadily. The mud, dissolving in sweat, runs
in streaks off his body. He has stopped to slip on the
FATIGUE PANTS he took from one of the guards. The pants
come to mid-calf but the material will protect against
brambles and insects.
He has also acquired an AK-47 with EXTRA MAGAZINES.
His pockets bulge with SOVIET-MADE GRENADES.
Rambo moves on into the mountains.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - DIRT ROAD
Tay stumbles out of the underbrush into a pool of light.
The headlight of a VIET ARMY TROOP TRANSPORT.
A squad of men runs past him into the jungle, fanning out.
Another truck arrives.
The search is on in force.
INT./ EXT. FLIGHT CENTER - NAKON PHANOM AFB - DAWN
An F-4 PHANTOM JET taxis amid MOVING GROUND EQUIPMENT
under the floodlights as the sky slowly lightens.
D-PLUS 53 HRS
NAKON PHANOM, THAILAND
PAN OFF THE FLIGHTLINE onto Trautman gazing out the window
of a small office. He looks haggard. Soul-weary.
With the receiver cradled at his ear he is waiting for a
call to connect.
Bob, hi. Did you get my telex?
Yeah, I know what time it is
there... do you know what time it is
here? Look, is there anything you
can do up the line? You owe me one.
I'm calling it in.
Yes, this time.
I know you're a general and I'm only
So that's it, huh? Back off. Come
home... that's it?
(pause, then frostily)
He slams the receiver into its cradle, and sits,
pondering. He is about to make a somewhat bizarre
decision for a full colonel.
Trautman opens the door and the young corporal in the
office beyond turns in his chair.
Get me a "Loach," I'm going back out
to Ban Bung Kla.
INT. ISOLATION CELL
BLACK SCREEN. There is a SCRAPING SOUND and light appears
as a CEMENT BLOCK is removed at floor level. De Fravio's
face appears in the rectangular hole.
Hey, Brewer. You okay?
Brewer crawls stiffly to the opening, squinting at the
I could use a beer.
EXT. GUARD BARRACKS - CELL
The cement-block wall of the cells adjoins the raised
wooden barracks. De Fravio and Jensen have belly-crawled
beneath the building to the cell, where they have long
used a loosened block to communicate with prisoners in
Your buddy made it out last night.
The place went apeshit.
Really? How come he didn't take me?
Maybe because you're shot in the
Oh, yeah. Listen, how long do they
keep you in this disease hole?
Who knows? I was in there for a
month once. De Fravio did three
How do you keep from coming unglued?
Concentrate on a problem. Like, I
built my dream house in my head,
brick by brick. Board by board. If
something really takes a day, I
thought about it for a whole day.
I built a shopping mall.
Guards. See ya.
They slide the block into place and Brewer sits in front
of it, COUGHING TO HIDE THE SCRAPE as the door is opened
by two guards.
Morning light blasts in, blinding him, as one guard hauls
him roughly to his feet, despite his wounded leg.
Watch it. Don't fuck with me, man!
(jerks a thumb at
I'm dinky dau!
The guards guffaw and drag him off.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - MORNING
A line of Viet soldiers moves through the shimmering
CAMERA BOOMS UP
as they move past, revealing others beyond, and the tops
of parked trucks.
The MOVE ENDS ON RAMBO, watching from the branches of a
tree as they move by only a few meters below. The
choppers search methodically nearby.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM
Brewer is trussed tightly, his elbows tied together and
drawn up painfully by a cord attached to a ceiling
Palyushin looms in front of him, holding the truck-tire
Podovsk, looking the worse for wear with a bandage
covering half his face, sits on the stool. The gaze of
his exposed eye is malevolent.
I think you know where he is going.
Is there a rendezvous point? Some
guerrilla contract? A transmitter
No way. If I say anything... that's
The interrogator scowls, briefly perplexed.
I cannot be responsible for the
safety of the prisoners if he is not
captured. This government now
considers the existence of POWs an
embarrassment. An unmarked grave in
the jungle may be their solution. I
am only an advisor.
Advise my dick, you Siberian
Palyushin explodes with a brutal blow to Brewer's ribs,
which doubles him over in agony. He struggles to regain
his breath, dragging at the air like a terminal emphysema
patient. Brewer slowly raises his head.
Ke-rist. Whattaya trying to do,
man, tickle me?
Palyushin snarls and smashes the truncheon down even
EXT. RAIN FOREST - DAY
Rambo runs crouching along a shallow gully, trying to duck
around the end of the advancing line of Viet troops.
He emerges from dense foliage onto a DIRT-TRACK SIDEROAD
only to see a FLANKING SQUAD of about ten men jogging
toward him. They shout and hit the deck, opening fire, as
he dives on into the underbrush.
Rambo runs, zig-zagging radically as small-arms fire laces
the woods around him. He crashes through foliage,
LONG LENS WHIP-PANNING with Rambo as he charges down a
long slope, the trees a green blur. He crosses his arms
over his face and batters through the brush with blind
Rambo bursts out of the dense tangle, dragging streamers
of vines, and finds himself in an EXPLOSION OF SQUAWKING
He is in the muddy door-yard of a rural HOOTCH, part of a
SMALL HAMLET, of about a dozen buildings.
Pigs scatter, grunting their surprise, as Rambo sprints
across the yard. Over a low rail fence. Between the
Soldiers charge down the slope behind him.
Rambo emerges onto the main "street" at a dead run,
tearing a swath through the everyday village activities.
The Viet peasants scatter as the fierce American charges
through their midst. A giant by their standards to begin
with, Rambo is now a mud-caked nightmare, trailing vines
and brambles... his face a mask of dark streaks topped by
He crashes into a panic-stricken young man on a bicycle,
spilling them both. Rolls. Comes up running.
Rambo changes course to intersect with an ANCIENT TRUCK
which is accelerating away, headed out of the village.
The truck, rusted and mud-caked into a brownish lump on
wheels, is hauling a load of CHICKENS in a WIRE MESH CAGE
on the flat bed.
Rambo leaps onto the running board of the cab and points
his pistol through the window at the terrified OLD MAN
Rambo clings tightly as the truck rattles and bounces over
the rutted road, which shortly emerges from a stand of
trees to run along a field of ELEPHANT GRASS.
Rambo sees soldiers converging on the road through the
trees on the other side. Behind him, more emerge from the
village and open fire.
A bullet shatters the filthy windshield and the old driver
loses control. The truck veers into a ditch, slews,
hurling up a sheet of water and flops ignominiously on its
Rambo lands clear. The old man begins to sob helplessly.
The chickens scatter in all directions.
CLOSE ON RAMBO, freeing a RUSTED GAS CAN from the twisted
wreck of the truck bed.
WIDE from behind the soldiers as they pour AK-47 bursts
into the truck 50 meters away. A figure dashes from the
now-burning vehicle into the field of tall grass,
EXT. ROAD - EDGE OF GRASS
Two troop trucks are deploying soldiers as a group of
OFFICERS stands near the chicken truck. Sgt. Tay climbs
down from a six-by cab. Directing operations is Capt.
Vinh. His face is bruised and abraded, and one arm is on
Vinh motions Tay impatiently toward where he stands at the
edge of the elephant grass, and Tay wades into it, joining
him. Beyond them the coarse grass becomes an impenetrable
wall almost EIGHT FEET HIGH.
Vinh snorts in disgust at Tay and points at some trampled
stalks. There is a bright smear of blood, and beyond,
another. Vinh cuffs his sergeant.
You see? Not a demon. A man. Now,
we find where he's crawled to die.
Tay indicates that the others should go ahead of him, to
have that honor.
A line of THIRTY REGULARS moves into the grass. Only the
RADIO ANTENNAS of the squad leaders are visible above the
waving stalks. The helicopters arc in from the distant
EXT. ELEPHANT GRASS
POV, HANDHELD, MOVING SLOWLY THROUGH THE GRASS. The point
man parts the stalks ahead. It is a quiet, eerie world,
with only the SWISH OF THE GRASS and the occasional SOUND-
OFF CALLS of the troopers. There is a clear trail of
blood smeared on the grass, indicating a serious wound.
VARIOUS CLOSEUPS of the regulars as they advance, each man
realizing how utterly isolated he really is, in his own
island of space in the green sea. It is hot. Some of the
soldiers have their fatigues unbuttoned, sleeves rolled
up. Sweat pours off them.
POV, HANDHELD, following the trail of blood. The grass is
parted ahead and a small clearing comes into view.
Slowly moving up on SOMETHING LYING IN THE GRASS.
TWO CHICKENS, THEIR THROATS CUT, are lying beside the gas
can, which is upright with its cap off. A bizarre little
shrine. There is no sign of Rambo.
REVERSE on the squad leader, puzzled, wary.
INSERT - RAMBO'S HAND strikes a match, igniting a wet
trail of SPILLED GAS with a WHOOSH.
The squad leader looks up, seeing the river of fire
snaking toward him through the waving stalks.
He turns, panicked. Crashes into the men behind him.
Shrieks at them to move. They trample over each other to
run as the trail of fire reaches the can.
Tay sees a tremendous fireball erupt ahead. Hears
SCREAMING. He freezes in his tracks as the nightmare
begins again. Shrieking, a man runs toward him, ON FIRE,
Vinh shouts futilely into a radio. Firing blindly,
several troopers open up.
From the trucks it is apparent that the grass is burning
on its own, in a long line where the "fuse" was laid out
and in a widening circle around the explosion site.
EXT. IN THE GRASS
Black smoke rolls through the grass, and troopers stumble
about, coughing as the wind carries it toward them.
The choppers have moved in close overhead and their rotor-
wash fans the fire, adding to the confusion.
FAST HANDHELD PRECEDING RAMBO
as he snakes rapidly through the stalks. He stops. Hurls
a grenade. Runs on, navigating by instinct in the dense
is knocked down as a grenade detonates near him.
A trooper helps him up, sees a figure running nearby...
fires. Hitting one of their own.
More grenades. Random firing. The din is incredible, the
A VIET SOLDIER, reels through the grass. Obviously a
recent conscript, the soldier is probably only 18 years
old, and like all Vietnamese, looks even younger. He is
He stumbles over the body of another trooper. As he
rises, a shape slashes through the grass right in front of
He has never seen an American, but it looks as monstrous
as the descriptions.
He raises his AK but Rambo is quicker, kicking it out of
his hands. The kid flops on his butt and finds himself
staring up Rambo's rifle barrel. He closes his eyes and
pops into his mouth his BUDDHIST PRAYER MEDALLION, hanging
from a chain around his neck. He bites down and waits for
When he opens his eyes there is nothing in front of him
Nearby, Vinh leads the retreat as his men fall back, dim
shapes rushing blindly through the murk.
He staggers, coughing, out of the stand of grass to see
Tay, sitting dazed nearby. Tay gives him an evil smirk.
Barking orders like a maniac, Vinh calls for MORTARS to be
set up. Five mortars are positioned. Elevation set.
Mortar bombs poised above the launch tubes. The
helicopters clear off.
When the last wounded man is dragged clear, Vinh signals
for a sighting round.
It EXPLODES beyond the wall of flame. The mortars open
The field explodes seconds later with the first salvo.
Earth and shredded grass are hurled skyward. A second
salvo lands. A third. And on and on, pulverizing the
EXT. TREELINE - NEARBY
Rambo watches, fascinated by the tremendous destruction
unleashed on innocent acreage nearby.
He slips slowly into the woods, glancing back frequently
at his trail. He stops occasionally to replace a
disturbed twig or leaf, or to rearrange branches when he
passes through. Total "sterilization."
The mortars thud on distantly as he creeps away.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM
FULL SHOT as Palyushin delivers a crippling blow to
Brewer's ribs. Brewer cries out hoarsely and slumps.
CLOSE ON BREWER as his head slowly rises to look at the
This your first day?
Podovsk catches his assistant's hand before he swings.
You think you can provoke us into
beating you unconscious? We are not
I've had it with you, ratface.
Don't piss me off!
Podovsk takes the "fan belt" from Palyushin and smashes it
across Brewer's face. Again. Brewer scream hideously.
CLOSE ON BREWER
We see only the top of his head. We don't want him to
rise up, but he does, agonizingly. Blood streams over the
area where his eye is already swelling shut.
Don't say anything, Brewer.
Aaargh. God damn that... was...
Do it again, you fuck!
Come on... I love it! You hear
me... I LOVE IT!
Podovsk looms before us, swinging in slow motion, INTO THE
LENS. The scene FADES OUT.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - DAY
Under overcast sky Rambo emerges at a steep-walled ravine.
There is a swaying SUSPENSION BRIDGE of rope and woven
vines crossing to the jungled slope beyond.
Looming at the top of that slope is the ruin of the Wat on
its plateau, wreathed in streamers of blowing mist.
Not far away is the waterfall, pouring itself into the
Rambo stops at the far side of the bridge, examining the
He starts pulling grenades out of his pockets.
EXT. PRISON CAMP - DAY
Palyushin crosses the compound to the Huey gunship which
has just touched down. The other Huey hovers above the
The big Russian appreciatively pats the MINIGUN bolted in
the main door as he climbs in.
Palyushin enters the cockpit, motioning for the VIETNAMESE
PILOT to take off as he slips a headset over his black
The ship rises, and the two Hueys bank across the jungle.
INT. MOTC - THAILAND
D-PLUS 58 HRS
The telecom tech turns as Kirkhill enters.
(handing him a sheaf
More AWACS intercepts. The Russian
takes time to translate.
Kirkhill scans a long PRINTOUT TRANSCRIPT.
He's giving them a run for their
money. Says here they've got two
Hueys from Danang. I didn't know
those dinks had Hueys.
Half their air force is our stuff.
Sir, there's something else... a
TRANSAT relay. Just came through.
He snatches the sheet from the tech.
E.C.U. - PRINTOUT SHEET
KIRKHILL/I'M COMING FOR YOU/RAMBO
stares at the sheet for a long time.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - NEAR WAT - DAY
Rambo finishes dismantling the TRANSAT unit. He sets the
pieces back into the hole of the CACHE he and Brewer
buried before their run through the jungle.
He begins shoveling earth back into the hole.
A beautiful PURPLE MOTH-ORCHID drops onto the ground by
his hand. He freezes.
You not so hard to catch, dinky dau
Rambo looks up along the tumbled stone wall. Sitting near
the top in shadow, perched on a tree limb, is Co, beaming
like a Cheshire cat.
Christ. How'd you get here?
Took bus, most of way. I knew you
would come here.
He helps her down the last few feet, and stands looking at
And how'd you sneak up like that?
Carefully. Don't want to get shot
by you. Bad karma. Anyway, you
You think you are... (she uses a
In-vul-nerabo. But you get ass
kicked without me.
Rambo has to laugh.
Yeah. We're a pretty good team.
Co looks him over carefully. She touches his forehead.
You look like hell. Wounds
infected. Come up to the ruins, I
have medical kit.
Rambo lets her lead him to the path up the hill.
EXT. RUINS OF WAT
The stone Buddhas look on complacently as Co attends to
Rambo's minor wounds. During the ensuing conversation she
cleans, applies salve and bandages the wire-lacerations
and the numerous slashes from brambles and saw-edged
You try get across Laos? Get to
Yeah. Got some business there.
What are you gonna do?
Go United States. See Nguyen.
Maybe teach economics. Buy
Cadillac. Watch "Dynasty."
How you going to get there? You
can't trust the spooks to pull you
out. They'll use you up and throw
I know. I go with you.
I couldn't get you in.
Co stops her work and replies very quietly.
Yes you can.
Co's gaze holds his and her Cheshire grin flickers.
Rambo realizes she is serious. The silence drags when he
realizes how good that sounds to him at this moment. And
how small a price that is to repay her.
Okay. Done. You got it.
She seems a bit shocked, then smiles impishly.
You too easy.
Co's hands have been all over him but only now does he
become aware of them on his shoulders.
She draws her face up to his but Rambo pulls back from the
kiss. Co looks puzzled as he slowly disengages from her
You don't feel love, Rambo?
He leans back against the wall.
Why you don't feel love? Not
(her tone becomes
Dead inside, maybe? You make
yourself dead already so they can't
kill you? In-vulnerabo? Bullshit!
She advances on him until her face is close to his, her
words finding their mark.
I have enough death already.
Husband. Mother. Father.
Brothers. Death everywhere.
She points into the undergrowth nearby, to a ghostly
blossom growing there among the tangled vines.
You see? A flower like that need
good soil to grow. Many time under
earth is bones of animal... or
person. Killed in jungle. Make
soil rich. Grows most beautiful
flower. You call orchid. Many
deaths in jungle. Vietnamese, V.C.,
American. Many beautiful flowers.
Rambo studies her intently. An emotional moment for him.
He takes her flawless face in his hands, draws her closer.
Suddenly his head snaps around. A distant THUDDING of
COPTER ROTORS becomes audible, growing slowly louder.
Rambo leaps up, sprinting to a crumbled parapet.
Below, in the valley, the two Hueys are slowly scanning,
like angry insects.
EXT. SUSPENSION BRIDGE
A COLUMN of VIET SOLDIERS jogs across the swaying bridge.
ANGLE PAST AN OBJECT IN F.G.
as the lead man approaches, almost across the bridge. The
object is a CLUSTER OF GRENADES lashed to a tree to which
one of the main support cables of the bridge is attached.
A FINE WIRE runs down to the bridge walkway.
PING. The wire pulls a pin.
EXT. WAT RUINS
Rambo whips around as an explosion rips through the
The bridge begins to collapse, dumping half the soldiers
into the ravine as one side drops. The others run back.
The second cable tears away. The bridge swings down,
spilling the remaining men.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - TREETOP LEVEL
The two Hueys bank steeply and ROAR straight TOWARD
CAMERA, passing overhead.
EXT. RAIN FOREST - NEAR WAT
Rambo and Co head into a trail which leads down the
backside of the plateau. Rushing toward them is a PLATOON
of VIET REGULARS.
Rambo opens fire, scattering them off the trail.
He and Co make it back to the Wat as return fire rips
through the jungle.
Rambo throws two grenades down the hill and sprints with
Co deeper into the maze of the ruined monastery.
The soldiers fall back as the grenades detonate ahead of
INT./ EXT. HUEY ONE
Palyushin speaks into his helmet radio.
Get your men back. I'm beginning an
The Huey THUNDERS toward the ruins, banking in an arc to
aim the "minigun."
Rambo sees the Huey coming in on a high arcing trajectory
and knows he's in trouble. Dragging Co, he dives under a
section of wall which has collapsed like a lean-to.
INT./ EXT. HUEY ONE
Palyushin's thumb depresses the FIRE CONTROL SWITCH.
An AWESOME ROAR fills the sky. A COLUMN OF ORANGE FIRE
blasts from the minigun as its gatling-gun barrels rotate
in a blur.
One of the most ferocious anti-personnel weapons used in
the Vietnam war, the GENERAL ELECTRIC M-134 Minigun fires
six thousand 7.62mm rounds per minute. Since every fifth
round is a tracer, the impression is of a solid shaft of
fire sustained between ship to ground.
The SOUND is not that of a machine gun but rather a SOLID
HELD NOTE OF THUNDER, like a god belching.
One of its nicknames was "Puff the Magic Dragon."
The effect on the ground is unbelievable. Trees are blown
to kindling. The foliage is pulverized, and blown upward
The tracers hit the ground like an orange curtain
stripping the stones of growth, blasting up a cloud of
In their crevice, Rambo and Co huddle, covering their
A fusillade of chips and splinters whips around them.
Suddenly, the thunder cuts off.
Rambo rolls out. Fires well-aimed bursts at the
INT. HUEY ONE
Palyushin hears rounds whacking the underside of the ship.
He calmly orders the pilot to turn back.
EXT. RUINS - CREVICE
Rambo crouches in the opening, watching the ship bank.
What was that?
Minigun. Come on. Let's move.
He's coming in on our open side.
They sprint across the courtyard as the minigun ROARS
again. The CURTAIN OF DEVASTATION sweeps toward them as
they run. They make it behind one of the Buddhas, just as
the hail of death passes across it.
The rounds blast a layer of weathered stone off the serene
Behind Rambo the second Huey pops above the trees, firing
with a conventional door gun, an M-60.
Rambo fires back.
Tracers flash around him. He reloads. FIRES.
CO CRIES OUT. She is SLAMMED AGAINST THE WALL.
The second Huey banks away. Rambo crouches beside Co's
INT. HUEY ONE
Palyushin turns to the pilot.
Return to staging area. We have to
Rambo cradles Co, whose blouse is drenched with blood.
It runs over his hands as he holds her helplessly.
She is as white as the jungle orchid. Her eyes focus
slowly on Rambo.
Rambo is rocking her, willing the life to stay in her, his
John. My name is John.
It doesn't hurt. Why doesn't it
INT. HUEY ONE
Palyushin coordinates the air operation.
Air Two, circle in a holding
Air Three, are you in position?
INT./ EXT. MIL MI-24
In the spacious MAIN COCKPIT which overlooks the lower
WEAPONS BAY blister, PODOVSK is seated with the Russian
Ready, Air Command.
Begin your run.
The pilot turns to Podovsk.
How many are down there?
The pilot looks at him strangely. The massive assault
helicopter noses down and thunders forward across the
VERY CLOSE ON RAMBO, rocking gently.
... you're gonna love it there.
It'll be great. We can do what we
want... you and me... go to the
beach... with Nguyen... watch him
ridin' his surfboard...
Co's eyes are glazed, half-open. She is gone.
Rambo sobs. Somehow this one tragedy renders all the
He kisses her mouth fiercely. Trying to make her live, to
infuse her cooling flesh with some of his vast will.
INT. MIL MI-24
500 meters. Final approach.
Rambo lays Co with infinite gentleness in the lap of the
stone Buddha. In the lap is one slightly cupped hand,
palm upward, stripped of foliage by the minigun.
Co lies in the palm, barely filling it.
Single sniping rounds WHACK occasionally near Rambo.
He is oblivious.
Rambo removes the tiny BUDDHIST PRAYER MEDALLION from
around her neck and puts it on. Straightens her clothing.
Looks up at the broad stone countenance.
Its expression is, as always, enigmatic.
He turns as the assault chopper approaches, running dead
TWO LONG METAL CYLINDERS detach from the stub wings and
drop, beginning their characteristic TUMBLING.
He spins and runs, leaving his rifle.
EXT. RAIN FOREST
Rambo slashes through the trees like a madman, running
with everything he has.
Behind him the NAPALM CANISTERS hit the ground at the edge
of the ruins.
An ENORMOUS FIREBALL blossoms through the jungle.
The canisters' inertia carries them forward, SPEWING
TWENTY-METER-LONG ARCS OF FLAME. The inferno engulfs the
Buddhas and rolls forward through the trees, silhouetting
the tiny running figure of Rambo.
Just as the firestorm reaches him he dives at a dead run
off an embankment. Into a rushing MOUNTAIN STREAM about
five meters wide.
Rambo dives to the bottom as a sun-bright CANOPY OF FIRE
rushes across the surface with a muffled ROAR.
The stream is only about two meters deep and is swiftly
flowing. The napalm on the surface lights the bottom
orange despite the daylight. He seems suspended in a
MOVING WITH RAMBO'S figure we dive at giddy speed over the
tortuous streambed like some weird amusement park ride.
Rambo tumbles over and between smooth boulders.
He strains to hold his breath as the fire diminishes
Then it is gone. He is clear.
Suddenly the rocks END, dropping away.
EXT. RAVINE - WATERFALL
Rambo tumbles clear of the falling water as he drops down
the face of the CATARACT seen earlier.
He hits the surface of the pool with a tremendous SPLASH.
ANGLE ON WATER
boiling with turbulence as he surfaces, gasping.
He weakly sculls at the surface as the current carries him
Above, on the escarpment, a FIRE-STORM rages, lighting up
The Buddha is at the heart of the holocaust, reminiscent
of a self-immolating monk. Co's pyre is magnificent.
EXT. BRACKISH ESTUARY
The pool at the base of the cataract empties into
swampland near the Ca River.
Rambo lets the increasingly torpid flow carry him until he
catches sight of a familiar object: The abandoned sampan
of the river bandits, still moored among the huge tree
EXT. SWAMP - SAMPAN
Rambo clambers aboard and goes into the cabin.
Still in its wooden locker is the RPG-7 ROCKET GRENADE
LAUNCHER and a rack of ROCKETS in a carrying pack.
With rapid movements Rambo dons the pack and picks up the
launcher. Moves to the stern. Pulls hard on the starter
rope of the filthy outboard.
Across the estuary one of the Hueys is moving over the
trees, getting closer. The motor starts on the third
INT./ EXT. HUEY TWO
The VIET PILOT banks, motioning to his door gunner. Below
them is the sampan, chugging across the estuary.
The pilot descends as the gunner opens fire. The .30
caliber slugs riddle the sampan, sending splinters flying.
It EXPLODES, its incredible hoard of junk hurled flaming
into the swamp.
The Huey lowers farther, rotorwash whipping the water into
The Viets scan the debris, spotting a FLOATING BODY.
ANGLE AT WATER LEVEL
as the corpse rolls slowly over. It is Kinh, the crazy
EXT. MARSH - NEARBY
WATER LEVEL. The Huey, hovering 40 meters away, begins to
turn toward us.
SOMETHING RISES from the surface scum in CLOSE F.G. among
the gnarled tree roots.
A HULKING FIGURE dripping water and mud and strands of
The launcher tube across his shoulder.
REVERSE - CLOSE ON RAMBO
as he wipes filthy water out of his eyes and returns to
the SCOPE-SIGHT, blinking, taking his time.
The Huey's M-60 opens up, walking a parade of waterspouts
toward him across the water.
With a tremendous BACKBLAST the rocket leaps out, a fiery
arrow, and strikes the Huey square in the canopy.
FLASH! CRACK! The Huey drops into the swamp, its rotors
twisting up and flying off. The FUEL TANKS EXPLODE.
Rambo pivots, reloading. He takes aim and fires again.
The rocket roars into the rain forest, the blast sending
approaching soldiers scattering.
He reloads. Fires again, flinching away from the rocket
exhaust. His expression is grim, his movements
He pivots again. Fires.
Rounds start hitting around him. He holds position.
Beyond the trees, off the river road, the troop trucks are
parked. Nearby is a REFUELING TRUCK for the helicopters.
Rambo's rocket makes a direct hit.
A FIREBALL BLASTS UP AND OUT, seeming to fill the jungle.
INT. HUEY ONE
Palyushin sees the smoke rising from the carnage ahead as
he returns with the minigun reloaded.
He motions the pilot to hover over the partially submerged
wreckage of the other Huey.
WHIP PANNING with Rambo as he sprints along the horizontal
trunk of a fallen tree.
He vaults off the end.
Catches a skid of the hovering Huey with one hand.
Palyushin's door gunner swings his sling-mounted "free 60"
around to bear. Too late.
Rambo's hand shoots up, catches him, pulls him out.
The pilot feels the weight shift and looks back, seeing
Rambo on the skid. He "pulls pitch" hard.
The Huey climbs, arcing radically.
Rambo slips, dangles.
He crashes through the upper branches of a tree as the
Huey climbs, banking in a tight arc.
The rain forest rolls beneath his dangling legs.
He heaves himself up.
Palyushin lurches out of his seat.
He spins in time to see a filthy, bloody and very intense-
looking Rambo clambering in the gun door.
He rushes Rambo with a kick but Rambo ducks and swings the
M-60 door gun on its mount, blocking the Russian.
The two lock eyes and square off, crouching in the low
The pilot turns around and gapes in amazement, allowing
the craft to sideslip.
Palyushin lunges as the Huey pitches wildly.
Rambo blocks in a sweeping SHAO-LIN CHUN ROUNDHOUSE,
ending in a fierce hammer punch to Palyushin's face.
They trade blows and blocks furiously, finally grappling
They crash together into the wall by the minigun AMMO
CANISTER. The Huey yaws and recovers. Open space roars
outside as they strain near the doors, trying desperately
to maintain footing on the pitching floor.
Palyushin goes half out the door but clings tenaciously,
surging back inside.
He hammers into Rambo, slamming him mercilessly back.
A vicious kick drops Rambo. The Black Beret grabs his
hair and HURLS HIM TWO-HANDED TOWARD THE DOOR.
Rambo desperately catches the handles of the door gun,
stopping his plunge into space. His weight swings the gun
around in its sling, pointing it into the ship.
Completely outside the helicopter, Rambo hangs from the
handle with one hand. Pulls the bolt with the other.
And drills a long burst into Palyushin at point blank
range, blasting him out the far door in an explosive spray
The pilot turns, terrified, as Rambo advances on him.
Rambo eases up beside him, slipping his hand onto the
Reaching across he opens the pilot's door. And FLINGS HIM
A figure tumbles from the low-flying Huey and splashes
into the estuary. The Huey dips and bucks, then rights
itself and flies off as the pilot surfaces, gasping.
INT. MOTC - THAILAND
Kirkhill looks like he hasn't slept in days as he stirs
his ten thousandth cup of machine coffee.
Well, have they got him yet?
The tech rereads the COMINT transcript.
Um... actually, no. It looks like
he shot down one of their
... and then he, uh... took the
He... took it.
Kirkhill sinks slowly into a chair.
EXT. PRISON CAMP - VIETNAM - AFTERNOON
Sgt. Tay is sitting on the steps of the guard barracks,
looking a bit like a lost soul.
The sound of a rotor gets louder.
A shadow falls upon him. He looks up squinting.
A shape, an outline... in the glare of the sun.
Tay has a moment of apprehension.
EXT. RAMBO'S HUEY
Rambo unleashes the minigun. The left guard tower
VANISHES IN A CLOUD OF FALLING SPLINTERS as thunder rolls
across the valley.
The Huey pivots nimbly. The minigun roars again.
An orange lightning bolt vaporizes the right tower.
VARIOUS ANGLES IN CAMP
as the thunder fades.
Tay starts to run.
The prisoners dive for cover.
Three off-duty guards in the guards barracks go for their
They don't make it.
FROM RAMBO'S POV
The guards barracks seems to disintegrate as the minigun
sweeps across it... a SHOCK WAVE OF DESTRUCTION behind
which only flying kindling remains.
He pivots a last time and annihilates the sentry post with
a one-second burst. Three guards have managed to take
cover behind a truck by the main gate. They begin firing.
LOW ANGLE ON THE HUEY, a roaring silhouette in the
metallic mist. The minigun speaks.
The truck is ripped open like aluminum foil, shrapnel
flying. The guards CEASE TO EXIST.
A spray of red mist and tattered scraps of uniforms
settles to the ground.
It is all over in seconds.
The Huey settles to earth in the center of the compound.
Tay, crouching, squints against the rotor blast.
Wild-eyed, Capt. Vinh steps from his partially collapsed
office and raises his side-arm pistol.
Tay snatches it from him with a terrified cry and an
expression which says: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND?
The Sgt. flings the pistol away and turns toward the
Out of the boiling, blasting dust and smoke a FIGURE
To Tay, Rambo is Death incarnate.
He is encrusted with dried mud, dried blood, streaked with
rivulets of sweat. His eyes burn.
Rambo has detached the door gun from its sling and, with
the feed belt over one shoulder, carries it like a rifle.
He motions with the muzzle. Tay and Vinh flop forward,
face to the earth, hands laced behind their heads.
Rambo moves past them, eyeing the wreckage of the camp
INT. ISOLATION CELL
The door is kicked open and Rambo is there, silhouetted.
Brewer is a sorry mess, but alive. He raises his head,
Gawd, you look awful.
(trying to rise)
Hold your pantyhose. Here, gimme a
Rambo helps Brewer, who is nearly crippled with pain, to
his feet, and supports him as they exit.
EXT. CAMP COURTYARD
The seven prisoners are helping one another into the
copter as Rambo and Brewer hobble up.
Can you handle the door gun?
Tay and Vinh are still face-down and De Fravio covers them
with an AK-47, found in the rubble.
Smoke swirls in the idling rotor wash as the barracks
begins to burn.
Am I dreaming this? This is not
I oughta grease you pricks, but I've
known you too long.
Let's go, De Fravio. Move it!
When De Fravio is aboard, crammed in with the others in
the main bay, Rambo remounts the M-60 and jumps into the
He brings up the RPMs.
The TURBINE WHINE INCREASES.
Brewer, crouched behind Rambo, yells forward.
We got company. You better pull
some pitch, buddy.
Behind them, diving out of the sun's glare, is Podovsk's
massive assault helicopter.
Rambo pops the Huey off the ground and runs hard at the
The MIL MI-24 NOSEGUN begins firing and the ground erupts
behind the Huey, fountains of earth chasing it as it
At full climb the laden Huey barely clears the trees and
Rambo Immediately banks tight to get out of the nosegun's
field of fire.
The Soviet chopper tightens its arc, but swings wide, and
Rambo spirals back.
Brewer swings the door gun and gets off a long burst as
the ground reels dizzyingly below and the horizon tilts.
Brewer! You know what that thing's
It's a Soviet MIL MI-24. Probably
has 12.7mm nose cannon, heat-seeking
rockets and wire guided missiles,
Rambo noses the Huey down, building speed. Tail high, it
shoots across the treetops, its NOSE RADIO ANTENNA ripping
through the uppermost foliage.
THE SOVIET COPTER
rolls on its side in a tight turn, despite its bulk.
Twice the size and power of the Huey, and faster at the
top end, the high-performance assault ship is a formidable
opponent. But Rambo pits skill against technology, using
the agility of his craft as his primary strategy.
past the dodging Huey as the Soviet ship falls in behind,
who flinches as trees rush by seemingly inches away at 120
MPH. The POWs are flung against the bulkheads as the Huey
plummets and swerves.
I think I'm gonna be sick.
INT. SOVIET COPTER - COCKPIT AND WEAPONS BAY
The pilot turns to Podovsk.
They're approaching the border.
Should we notify the Laotian Air
No. We'll take them ourselves.
Inside the COMPUTERIZED WEAPONS BAY the GUNNER hunches
over his TRACKING SCREEN. Rambo's Huey is a shimmering
blob weaving behind a targeting reticle.
The RANGING RADAR emits a rhythmic PINGING which INCREASES
EXT. SOVIET COPTER
TWO AIR-TO-AIR ROCKETS flash from support pylons on the
stub wings and roar toward the Huey two hundred meters
ANGLE ON HUEY
as the rockets skim past, missing only barely, to explode
in the jungle.
OVER RAMBO'S SHOULDER
through the front canopy, as the Huey flies through the
Rambo sees what he needs, a narrow river, a tributary of
the Ca, slicing through the rain forest.
The Soviet juggernaut is gaining as Rambo dives his
gunship "onto the deck," tearing down through an opening
in the trees and skimming over the surface of the river.
The Soviet craft can't follow.
The enormous trees form a canyon, the walls of which
overhang the river. Rambo is actually zig-zagging beneath
the jungle canopy in places. They flash in and out of
The landing skids throw up spurts of muddy water as the
Huey banks. Two more rockets arrow toward them. One
explodes in a tree above. The other flashes past. Hits
the river ahead. They fly through a wall of spray.
Brewer gives his REBEL YELL.
Hell. This is just like fucking
Star Wars, man!
Brewer grins, realizing. Slaps him on the shoulder.
You're gonna love it.
How much we got left in that
Brewer opens the enormous ammunition canister.
Pretty low. Couple of seconds
Rambo is plugged into some insane second sight, knowing
the curves before they curve. He flies with absolute
INT. SOVIET COCKPIT
The pilot is sweating, trying to stay on Rambo's Huey.
We're in Laos, Sir.
I know that!
Fire all your rockets. Take him
INT./ EXT. HUEY
As the forest explodes around them. The chopper is
buffeted. The forward canopy is shattered by shrapnel.
Rambo is hit in the shoulder and chest.
His left arm broken above the elbow.
One of the prisoners is moaning, holding his bloody
Rambo pulls up on the collective, sending blinding pain
through his arm. The Huey shoots up out of the jungle,
spinning as it pops up.
It slips sideways through the air, seemingly going out of
Then it arcs back, ROARING RIGHT AT THE CAMERA.
INT. SOVIET COCKPIT
Podovsk watches Rambo's turn, realizing he has stood to
We've got him.
The pilot stares apprehensively as the Huey comes at them.
In the weapons bay, the tone of the ranging-radar rises to
a shriek. The gunner tenses to fire.
Rambo throws the gunship sideways and climbs in one
motion... bringing the minigun to bear.
He is a samurai and the Huey his sword.
TIGHT ON RAMBO
facing the Soviet leviathan, clear-eyed, in the Void Way,
as they say.
It will be a battle of one stroke. He waits. Feeling his
breathing. Feeling the ship like an extension of himself.
The minigun BLAST FORTH ITS STREAM OF FIRE.
watching. A shadow passes over him.
as the Soviet ship thunders over them and flies on.
The barrels of the minigun continue to rotate, dry-
firing... empty. Clicking like an air-ratchet.
ANGLE ON SOVIET COPTER
showing the riddled, glassless cockpit... the slumped
as the MIL MI-24 slowly brodies sideways and drops,
gracefully, into the rain forest.
It shears through trees, breaking up, and EXPLODES
Rambo is tensed, like a thousand volts are flowing through
him. Slowly, he relaxes. He knows they have made it.
The thrill of victory, the agony of
Rambo banks the Huey, ascending toward the mountain pass
and, beyond, Thailand.
EXT. STAGING AREA - THAILAND - DAY
Lifer lounges in the gun door of the "Blackhawk" as the
ship sits at ready, turbine idling.
Getting ready to go somewhere?
Lifer turns to see Trautman step around the fuselage of
Hey, Colonel. You're not cleared to
be on this base anymore.
CLOSE ON TRAUTMAN
EXT. LAOS - NEAR MEKONG RIVER - DUSK
D-PLUS 60 HRS
The battered Huey lumbers and dips over the terrain,
barely in control.
INT./ EXT. HUEY
Rambo seems drained of color, sunken into the seat, flying
Several of the prisoners are asleep. The wounded man's
forehead has been bandaged.
Brewer is holding court.
... and there's this guy with a
black helmet and cape, right, and
he's got this sword... except it's
not a sword, it's light...
There's the Mekong.
They look forward as a broad river appears beyond a ridge-
line less than a kilometer ahead. The Thai border. A
cheer goes up. A home run.
seeing something as they approach the river.
EXT. MEKONG - TREELINE
The BLACK SIKORSKY rises slowly above the trees directly
C.U. RAMBO, he blinks, trying to clear his vision which
has become light and shimmery.
The hovering ship looks like the Archangel of Death.
It seems like a vision. He flies straight toward it.
Kirkhill has cleared the operations center. He is alone.
When the unidentified helicopter has
crossed the river into Thailand,
shoot it down with air-to-air
rockets. Then proceed to the crash
site and fire your remaining rockets
into the wreckage. Is this
understood, Zen Hammer?
Ah, Sir... I'm experiencing a little
What are you talking about? Why?
Well, uh... I've got something in my
INT./ EXT. SIKORSKY
What Doyle has in his ear is the muzzle of Colonel
Behind them on the deck of the gun bay Lifer is out cold.
A tarpaulin among a stack of ammo cases where Trautman
had been hidden is thrown back. Doyle knows better than
to mess with him.
Trautman switches off the radio as Kirkhill shouts
INT./ EXT. HUEY
As he approaches the black Sikorsky Rambo sees Trautman
with a rifle to Doyle's head.
He nods as they pass.
INT./ EXT. SIKORSKY
Rambo's Huey passes by them, crossing into Thailand.
Escort them on in.
Rambo's Huey, followed by the Sikorsky, descends toward
the landing field. As the techs and other camp personnel
stand watching, Kirkhill raises a pair of powerful field
KIRKHILL'S POV - TELEPHOTO
The image of the Huey seems to waver insubstantially
through the long lens. It looks like a death ship, the
Flying Dutchman with a crew of corpses and a demon at the
helm, coming in out of the dusk sky.
He slowly lowers the glasses.
Face ashen, Kirkhill backs into the command center and
closes the door.
The Huey sheers sideways across the staging area.
Its skids clip the top of the MOTC, shearing off
It hits the ground. Bounces.
Slews around, scraping hideously.
The Sikorsky settles behind it.
The two choppers whine-down. Standing beside the cockpit,
Trautman gets on the Sikorsky's loudspeaker.
All base personnel. Prepare medical
facilities to receive American POWs.
A cheer is raised among the ground contingent as they
sliding painfully out of the flight seat. Brewer gawks at
the pool of blood collected in the hollow of Rambo's seat.
Rambo goes to the gun door. Takes De Fravio's AK-47.
DOLLYING WITH RAMBO as he limps toward the MOTC with
relentless determination. The well-wishing ground
personnel fall back, letting him pass.
Trautman, B.G., sees him and strides forward to intercept.
OVER RAMBO'S SHOULDER
DOLLYING, as he approaches the command center.
Kirkhill's aide, in dark glasses, moves forward to
Rambo motions him aside with the AK.
Goes to the door. It is locked.
The lock is shattered by a LONG BLAST from Rambo's AK.
The door is kicked open. Rambo stands silhouetted.
He looks like what we never saw in "The Monkey's Paw."
He moves into the humming command center, among the
mission control electronics, reeking of the jungle, blood
as Rambo walks to Kirkhill, looming. Stopping.
Kirkhill quails as Rambo grasps him by the collar and
flings him backward into a chair.
He raises the AK. Muzzle to Kirkhill's forehead.
Pulls the trigger.
The weapon CLICKS, EMPTY.
HOLD ON KIRKHILL, trembling.
Rambo steps unsteadily out into the waning light.
He takes a deep, slow breath. Starts to walk. He salutes
as he passes Trautman but says nothing.
In the B.G. they are carrying the POWs in stretchers or
pushing them in wheelchairs toward the MEDICAL TRAILER.
Rambo watches Brewer posing with his arms around Jensen
and another POW for the grunt we saw earlier. His pocket
Instamatic is clicking away.
Cover of Time Magazine, baby!
Rambo walks away... alone.
DE FRAVIO (O.S.)
Rambo turns. De Fravio, propped up on one elbow on his
stretcher as he is carried past, gives him a broad,
You did good, buddy. Real good!
Rambo stands blinking for a second. He raises his hand in
a big "thumbs up" and allows himself to grin.
CUT TO BLACK