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Dead and deader

January 20, 2008|John Mueller | John Mueller holds the Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies at Ohio State University. Among his books are "The Remnants of War" and "Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them."

When the newest "Rambo" movie opens later this week, there's going to be a lot of death and dying. So I got myself an early copy, watched it several times through, stopping and starting along the way, to try to quantify exactly who was being killed and how. My goal was to update a chart I had done several years ago on the earlier "Rambo" movies.

The body count below includes only people who visibly fall inert after being bombed; garroted; blasted; stabbed; strangled; blown up by mines, artillery, grenades or other explosives; shot by bullets, artillery or arrows; incinerated by fires or flame throwers; bludgeoned; stomped or beaten; disemboweled or beheaded; or pushed or tossed off precipices or out of aircraft. It also includes people who had their necks snapped. In a couple of scenes, the action moved very quickly, and bodies became hard to distinguish (such as when a whole bunch of people were mowed down by machine-gun fire), but in most cases, the death toll was clear.

In addition, there were many instances in which Rambo blew up occupied tanks, helicopters, cars, trucks, trail passages, guard towers or other buildings. Fatalities from these episodes were not included in the body count unless the people inside were clearly shown to die by, for example, bolting into the open from their erstwhile place of refuge, clutching various body parts and collapsing to the ground.

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Number of bad guys killed by Rambo with his shirt on

I: "First Blood" (1982): 1

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 12

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 33

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 83

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Number of bad guys killed by Rambo with his shirt off

I: "First Blood" (1982): 0

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 46

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 45

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 0

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Number of bad guys killed by Rambo no matter how attired

I: "First Blood" (1982): 1

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 58

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 78

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 83

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Number of bad guys killed by accomplices of Rambo acting on their own

I: "First Blood" (1982): 0

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 10

III: "Rambo III"(1988): 17

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 40

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Number of good guys killed by bad guys

I: "First Blood" (1982): 0

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 1

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 37

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 113

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Total number of people killed

I: "First Blood" (1982): 1

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 69

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 132

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 236

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Number of people killed per minute

I: "First Blood" (1982): 0.01

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 0.72

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 1.30

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 2.59

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Time at which the first person is killed (mins:secs)

I: "First Blood" (1982): 29:31

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 33:34

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 41:9

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 3:22

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Number of people killed per minute from that point until the end of the film (not including the ending credits)

I: "First Blood" (1982): 0.02

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 1.18

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 2.39

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 3.04

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Sequences in which Rambo is shot at without significant result

I: "First Blood" (1982): 12

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 24

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 38

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 2

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Number of sequences in which good guys are tortured by bad guys

I: "First Blood" (1982): 2

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 5

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 7

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 3

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Number of sex scenes

I: "First Blood" (1982): 0

II: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985): 0

III: "Rambo III" (1988): 0

IV: "Rambo" (2008): 0

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