As a way of promoting the upcoming DVD release of this past January's Rambo, several theaters across the U.S. will have a one-time showing of 1982's First Blood at 7:30 p.m. on May 15, complete with the original ending in which the Vietnam vet dies.
That's how David Morrell 1972 source novel ended, but the book also made John Rambo a much more murderous and dangerous anti-hero. On his website, Morrell posted his thoughts on the last Rambo film, which he felt was the first movie in the series that was "spot-on in terms of how I imagined the character: Angry, burned out and filled with self-disgust because Rambo hates what he is and yet knows it's the only thing he does well."
The "Rambo dies" ending (actually, he commits suicide, unlike the book, in which he was shot by the cops) was filmed and shown in test screenings, but audiences didn't like the downbeat finale and the character was allowed to live.
The footage has long been available on DVD, but it will be fun to see First Blood on the big screen again, with the original finale incorporated into the film. Participating theaters in South Florida are: Southland, Palace, South Beach and Kendall Village in Miami-Dade; Cypress Creek, Oakwood, Westfork and Sawgrass in Broward.