Western Animation: Rambo: The Force of Freedom
Left ro right: Colonel Trautman, John Rambo, Turbo and Kat.Rambo: The Force of Freedom
was a 65-Episode Cartoon
produced by Ruby-Spears
. The cartoon was based on the character of John Rambo
, from David Morrell's book First Blood
, and the subsequent films First Blood
and Rambo: First Blood Part II
and adapted for television by story editor/head writer Michael Chain. The series debuted on April 14, 1986 as a five part mini series, and was renewed in September as a daily cartoon. Rambo was cancelled in December of the same year.
In the cartoon, John Rambo was part of a G.I. Joe
-like team called "The Force of Freedom." They went on missions around the world battling against a paramilitary terrorist organization named S.A.V.A.G.E. (short for Specialist-Administrators of Vengeance, Anarchy and Global Extortion - although in a toy advertisement included on a VHS tape of episodes from the series, it's said to mean the Secret Army of Vengeance And Global Evil).
Fictional countries and back-stories would frequently be featured, some of them echoing historical or current events.
The cartoon was filled with hand-to-hand combat and gunfire, with accurately-illustrated guns; yet unlike the original R-rated films, there was never any sensational violence, blood or gore, since this series was intended for family viewing. Moreover, no one ever died. The only real injury on the show happened when Rambo broke his arm in a survival episode. Rambo (who was seldom called by his first name, even by Trautman) used violence as a last resort and relied on his resources and guile to outwit his opponents — a character trait not consistent with the later films (Rambo avoids deliberately killing anyone in the first movie).
Rambo: The Tropes of Freedom:
- 65-Episode Cartoon
- An Ass-Kicking Christmas: The plot of "When S.A.V.A.G.E. Stole Santa".
- A-Team Firing
- Beard of Evil: Snake Bite has one.
- Bloodless Carnage: A constant throughout the series, but a particularly notable example occurs in the pilot "First Strike". Several scenes from Rambo: First Blood Part II are re-created, but altered so Rambo dispatches his foes non-lethally. For instance, the mud camouflage scene has Rambo merely knocking out the patrolling guard rather than stabbing him like he did in First Blood Part II.
- Bulungi: "Rambo and the White Rhino" involves two fictional African nations called Namboola and Ombasi.
- Chicago: The setting of "Subterranean Holdup".
- Cyborg: Dr. Hyde (S.A.V.A.G.E.'s Mad Scientist) and his Sidekick X-Ray, thanks to an Emergency Transformation.
- Drugs Are Bad: One episode was even titled "Just Say No".
- Enter Eponymous: "Enter the Black Dragon" and "Enter the White Dragon".
- The Evil Prince: A Duke instead of Prince but it's the same idea. See below.
- Evil Uncle:
- "Reign of the Boy King": Black Duke Lucan wants to usurp the throne of Morovia from his nephew King Alexander.
- "Robot Raid": Merick wants to prevent his niece Jennifer from inheriting the family's company.
- Eyepatch of Power: Gripper has one.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: One of the very few 80's cartoons from the West to completely avert this. Everyone is carrying real guns (or weapons resembling real guns) and they all fire bullets, not lasers. Rambo himself uses his trademark M60 on numerous occasions.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: General Warhawk, who's never seen without his mirrorshades.
- Hook Hand: Instead of a hook, Gripper from S.A.V.A.G.E. has a big clamp.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Force of Freedom member White Dragon is a ninja.
- Evil Twin: His twin brother Black Dragon works for S.A.V.A.G.E. (Conveniently for the toy company, who used the same molds to make both characters and their accessories.)
- Master of Disguise: Kat.
- Mind Control: The subject (and title) of one episode.
- Never Say "Die"
- Recycled Soundtrack: The credit "Music by Jerry Goldsmith" is due to the series making heavy use of his score for Rambo: First Blood Part II (supplemented with "Additional Music by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban"). The series' opening and closing music is the film's specially composed trailer music.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: And so is Snake Bite, the swamp-dwelling S.A.V.A.G.E. member who uses snakes, rats and spiders to help him commit crimes.
- Royal Brat: Boy King Alexander before Rambo gave him a speech about earning respect.
- Sixth Ranger: Chief and T.D. Jackson for the Force of Freedom; Dr. Hyde, X-Ray and Snake Bite for S.A.V.A.G.E.
- The Squad: The Force of Freedom.
- Super Soldier: The titular villain in "Supertrooper" is a genetically-engineered example.
- Temporary Blindness: Happens to Rambo in "Blind Luck".
- Walking Shirtless Scene: With Rambo as the main character, what else would you expect?