Movies that inspired Metal Gear Part II-First Blood/Rambo series

The first blood/Rambo series was a series of action films starring Sylvester Stallone, giving him another iconic character to add to his resume (although “Rambo” unlike Rocky, was based on a novel). The series deals with a Vietnam vet, who after a standoff in a small Oregon town with the police after cruel treatment from them-is later pardoned and deployed to the battlefield again, and even though he’s retired in the third and fourth films, he is forced back to action to save his former commanding officer, and later, a group of missionaries in the final film. As Hideo Kojima is a big fan of 80’s action movies, there’s naturally a lot of similarities-although while the Rambo films are set across a historical backdrop, Metal Gear kind of is more sci-fi oriented with clones, super soldiers, and of course, the titular nuclear giant robot.

Like Rambo, Big Boss and Solid Snake wear bandannas, although this is probably also a reference to the film The Deer Hunter as well, in which Christopher Walken sported a bandanna as well. The bandanna doesn’t show up until the first “Metal Gear Solid”-arguably the original the series-although Snake wearing a bandanna-and pretty much resembling Stallone-goes back to the 80’s Konami manga “Gamebook” which isn’t part of the series canon at all….

The origin of at least Big Boss’s bandanna in the game is explained somewhat-it’s originally worn by Big boss’s mentor, The Joy/The Boss:

and is torn off by Snake during their suspension bridge fight. He later wears it as a sort of tribute to her throughout the rest of the game.

He later gets rid of the bandanna after he chooses a different, darker path than that of the Boss at the end of “Peace Walker”, and is seen without in Metal Gear Solid V (Although there are optional bandannas for Venom Snake).

A big example of this is also Colonel Campbell, Solid Snake’s friend and main commanding officer (and one who is impersonated in MGS2) in Metal Gear 2 and the first Metal Gear Solid (He later appears in 4 as well, although as more of a supporting commander). Campbell’s original likeness is no doubt based on actor Richard Crenna, who is Rambo’s commanding officer Colonel Trautman in the films.


Like Trautman in Rambo III calling Rambo back to help in Afghanistan, Campbell calls a reluctant and retired Solid Snake back into the field (Although Campbell is considerably  more forceful; and it takes Trautman’s capture to bring Rambo around).

Metal Gear Solid 3 and First Blood: Rambo II likewise use jungle settings, although the one in III is near the Russian border while the Rambo one is set in the somewhat more tropical vietnam.

Both Metal Gear Solid V and Rambo III are largely sent in 80’s Afghanistan, and both initially involve the capture of the main character’s friend-in Rambo, it’s Trautman, in Metal Gear Solid, it’s Big Boss’s second in command. There’s even similar shots!




Although both are rescued eventually, Kaz is much worse for wear, having lost limbs…

Whereas Traughtman’s right back in action:

Once Miller returns however, he adopts an outfit not too dissimilar from Trautman’s First Blood look (with the exception of sunglasses of course!)

Like with the Snakes, Rambo is often alone, without much support and needs to do stealthy infiltration. He also has no medical backup, so he has to do some painful self-surgery from time-to-time.

This is actually a health-restoring gameplay feature of the third game, although other examples of healing appear in the other games, such as the use of rations and a sort of spray used in Metal Gear Solid V, this game has the most intricate ‘cure’ system.

Although it’s not really an influence or anything, both Rambo and Snake have dealt with the real thing a few times-Rambo catching a snake, and here’s the Big Boss Snake…uh…eating one. Nothing big here, just thought I’d just toss that in.

Both first Blood II: Rambo and Metal Gear Solid have a similar semi-villain; a beauracrat who takes control of the operation from our sympathetic colonel and then pretty much leaves the hero for dead. In Rambo, It’s Murdock, although he initially pretends to be sympathetic to Rambo by making up his own background (Rambo doesn’t buy it, of course)

In Metal Gear it’s Jim Houseman, who wants to destroy the Shadow Moses installation Snake’s infiltrated to cover up the involvement of Metal Gear REX and bury the Snakes himself, who he says an embarrassment from the 1970’s. Murdock is let off with a warning by Rambo at the end of the film; Houseman is relieved of command and Campbell reinstated.


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