The Rambonacci Sequence

The duty of a blogger is to take all of his or her petty, insignificant frustrations and to communicate them to his or her reader. Often, this is literally one reader. And so, I would like to communicate to my reader, a man I call Josephine, my petty, insignificant frustration with the way the Rambo film series was numbered. It’s totally on drugs!


The first movie in the series was called First Blood. It was a story about a Vietnam vet named John Rambo who, while hiding in an American forest, goes back in time in his mind to kill Vietnam. The premise was so good that they brought the guy back for a second movie.


The second movie in the series was called Rambo: First Blood Part II. This film cast Sylvester Stallone again in the role of Rambo, only this time he didn’t go back in time in his mind, he flew to Vietnam in a spaceship and killed it again. I understand why it was subtitled First Blood Part II, because it was the second movie in the First Blood series. But really it doesn’t make any sense because it’s the second First Blood, and I don’t think that you can have two First Bloods. Either something IS the First Blood or it isn’t. Maybe it would have been silly to call it Rambo: Two Bloods Tied for First Place, but then they should have dropped the whole First Blood thing entirely and just gone with Rambo.


The third movie in the series was called Rambo III. Where the hell did Rambo II go? They just fucking skipped right over it as though nobody would notice! They could have called it First Blood Part III and we probably would have gotten the message, because it was the third movie in the First Blood series. But they didn’t name it that, they named it after their main guy. I’m guessing that by the third movie they figured out how stupid it was to have three First Bloods. So instead they called it Rambo III when in fact it was Rambo II. The first Rambo was Rambo and there was no Rambo II, they just jumped to Rambo III. Not sure what this movie was about but I think I remember from the trailer that he uses an explosive bow and arrow that he stole from the Duke Boys. So by reverse-engineering my memory of the trailer, I guess he teleports to Hazzard County, Georgia because that’s where Vietnam is hiding, so that he can kill them a third time.


The fourth movie in the series, inexplicably, is called Rambo again. No numbers, no sub-titles, just plain Rambo. Dude, you can’t name a movie in a series the same name as another movie in the series. You can’t have two Wrath Of Khans or two Die Hard With A Vengeances. Okay? Anyway, I’m fucking lost. This second Rambo bears no resemblance to the original Rambo because now the character is like 60, although it’s still raining, which is really important when you’re killing Vietnam. This time though he doesn’t kill Vietnam, he kills Myanmar, or maybe it’s Burma, I always forget. So by now I’m totally confused about the film titles. It should either be Rambo V (based on the number-skipping precedent set when we jumped from Rambo to Rambo III, or on the proven history of only have odd-numbered Rambos.** Or it should have been called First Blood Part IV, or possibly even Fourth Blood Part One if they had any integrity to get the fucking numbering right. But no, not only did they skip two numerals, they SUBTRACTED two numerals. This time around John Fourth Blood is living in southeast Asia as though he’d never been fighting crime in Hazzard County. Weird, inconsistent premise, but whatever, the violence was exquisite.


Since I’ve probably lost you with all of my colorful language and editorializing, here’s the conflict in a nutshell with cold hard facts, and then some more editorializing:

    First Blood – Fine, no problems.
    Rambo: First Blood Part II – Should have been either Rambo alone or Second Blood.
    Rambo III – We skipped a number, and inexplicably dropped all that First Blood shit.
    Rambo – Again. Better titles would be Fourth Blood, or First Blood Part IV, or Rambo V on numeral-skipping precedent.

Somebody was in charge of naming these movies and that person totally fucked up. Can you imagine what would have happened if this person had been in charge of naming the Star Wars movies? It would have been a six-car pile-up clusterfuck!



[c] 2009 Russ of America
** I did some research and I know that the Rambo numbering sequence was neither based on primes nor on the Fibonacci sequence. JS has dubbed this system the Rambonacci sequence.


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  1. Ben says:

    That’s great. Love it.

    For more Rambo ranting see (he also addresses the titles near the end):

    More ranting about sequels:

    1.21 Gigawatts!:

  2. The Main Man says:

    Thanks for the compliment, fine sir.

    Thanks also for the links. His Angry Video Game Nerd character isn’t my favorite character of his. I also think these videos are a little too long for a casual viewer; He could have successfully eviscerated each game in five minutes by picking his bullet points a little better. But, I understand that he’s acting as historian for these ancient games.

    Wow, he and I hit the same nail on that Rambo numbering shit. There are no original ideas, I guess. Kinda wish I could’ve FFWd through it though.. :) I remember being in the video stores many years ago and wondering where the hell Rambo II was — I guess it took the more recent Rambo to really send me off the deep end.

    I won’t be covering Street Fighter or Megaman or Final Fantasy. He’s right, that IS a lot of bullfuck, and I think that my participation is definitely not needed.

    I forgot to mention that I enjoyed that long documentary that you forwarded on this guy. It was interesting to see him outside of the Angry Video Game Nerd costume and talking about filmmaking. Thanks for sending that.

  3. Ben says:

    Yeah, those videos in particular are a bit long. I also agree that there he still has a way to go towards producing more commercial content. All that said, I think what I like about this guy is that he shows just how far a person with determination and persistence (but maybe limited talent, experience and means) can go. Not to say he doesn’t have talent, just that this guy seems to make the most of everything he DOES have. Very inspirational to me.

    I think your observations on the Rambo Postulate of Sequel Nomenclature is funnier than his.

  4. The Main Man says:

    What was most intriguing to me (in watching his autobiographical vid) was to see him vocalize the process for video editing with ancient equipment, counting out the frames, pressing pause and record on his dual-VCR setup and praying that everything would time out. Back in the day, early high school years, I would make a new answering machine message every day. Like a poor man’s blog. If I wanted to mix music, I’d have to do what he did. Pause the cassette on the right side, cue the music on the left. Quickly press pause/record, blah blah blah. I’m so glad that technology doesn’t suck balls anymore.

    PS: Last night I was watching Tim and Eric and was brainstorming to figure out where I could get a VHS camcorder to record some old 80s looking shit. WTF is wrong with me?

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