The first time I saw Rambo: First Blood Part II, it was on a Contec KT-8135, 14-inch television. When the credits rolled, I sat there in wide-eyed amazement at the guns, the explosions, and Sylvester Stallone’s luxuriant perm.
Then I turned to my cat, Mr. Cobretti, and was stunned to discover that he’d fallen asleep.
This, in a nutshell, sums up the inherent problem with cats: they’re simply not capable of understanding or appreciating the power of Rambo: First Blood Part II.
Let’s face it, Stallone’s 1982 sequel is a male fantasy picture, a soul-rousing action piece designed to wash away the self-doubt of the more introspective First Blood.
But the sight of John Rambo tooling up and heading back to Vietnam to win the war singlehanded means nothing to your average domesticated feline.
While Rambo’s gunning down wave after wave of communists, your cat’s probably licking its rear end. This is because First Blood Part II is an inherently human construct: it’s about one man taking on an entire army and winning. Cats sense that they are irrelevant to this fantasy, and it doesn’t even bother them.
To a cat, the events in the Rambo sequel are just a series of weird, pink, and green shapes swirling around on the screen. When Rambo asks his mentor Colonel Trautman, “Do we get to win this time?” a cat has no concept of the power behind those words. Felines don’t even recognize them as words; for them, they’re just a kind of woozy, slurred collection of sounds, like sand pouring into a litter tray.
First Blood Part II and the hackle-raising sounds of gunfire have no effect. The cat just stares, uncomprehendingly into the middle distance. When Rambo’s horribly tortured by the evil Lt. Podovsky, Mr. Cobretti starts batting a loose bit of lint on the sofa. As Rambo’s love interest Co is tragically gunned down, the wretched feline just walks over to the living room door and starts trying to operate the handle.
Sometimes, I think Mr. Cobretti resents me for watching First Blood Part II over and over again, on a loop, often for days at a time. I think he resents me for naming him after Sly’s character in his 1986 masterpiece, Cobra. I think he resents me for my outcries, my whoops of joy, and my spontaneous nudity.
Sometimes I think Mr. Cobretti is plotting against me, planning to destroy my treasured First Blood Part II VHS tape, which I brought from John Menzies in 1987.
What would Rambo: First Blood Part II look like if it were told by a cat? Maybe something like this:
The Autobots must stop a colossal planet consuming robot who goes after the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. At the same time, they must defend themselves against an all-out attack from the Decepticons.
No, wait – that’s the synopsis from Transformers: The Movie.
If First Blood Part II were written by a cat, it would probably just be about choking on moths or getting stuck behind the back of a fridge or something. And who would want to watch that movie?
Certainly not me. No, I’m sticking to the one, true First Blood Part II, the one George Pan Cosmotos pretended to direct, but was actually directed by Sylvester Stallone. Cosmotos was probably just out back, eating yogurt. George Pan Cosmotos was not capable of understanding First Blood Part II.
Mr. Cobretti, meanwhile, will just sit and sleep and occasionally eat the food I put out for him. The only time he perks up is when Goodfellas appears on Channel 5. Then he’ll sit, riveted, watching the screen intently.
Goodfellas, in that tiny mind of his, is maybe a clever summary of how stupid, violent, and vain humans are.
Sometimes, I think Mr. Cobretti likes Goodfellas more than he likes me.
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Editor’s Note: Also if you want to read something really asinine and bizarre, check out Kyle Smith’s “Women are Not Capable of Understanding Goodfellas” for a point of reference.