Analysis

First Blood

A simple, yet coherent dramatic argument

A Complete Story

In First Blood (Rambo), the Dramatic Argument is Reaction (Rambo) vs Proaction (Sheriff).

The Dramatic Argument of First Blood

The film argues that it can be considered virtuous to react with violence when provoked IF it gets others to become aware that something wasn't handled right (Vietnam).

Virtuous are those who make people conscious of something by counterattacking someone

In the Objective Story Plot, Rambo argues Reaction--only fighting when provoked.

Conversely, in the Plot the Sheriff is all about taking the initiative, getting rid of problems before they happen. This is Proaction.

Reaction vs. Proaction is the argument.

Because the story is one of virtue, where the Plot must fail, the Main Character Throughline (Character) needs to be driven by Proaction. Rambo's personal issue is that NO ONE proactively helped out Vietnam vets (his friends and him included).

The beginning scene is a Main Character scene--no one contacted him about his friend's death...because no one cares.

That's a personal Problem of Proaction (a lack of Proaction, no one reached out to him and it hurts).

In the end, Character switches with Plot such that Rambo drops the Reaction element out of the Objective Story Plot conversation (stops fighting back), so he can be overly emotional and reactive when explaining how it all matters to him! (his final speech).

This is why he is captured.

If he had continued Reaction, then I'm pretty sure everyone in Hope would be dead and he would have escaped...but that would've been a completely different story (and therefore, a complete different argument).

And that's how a virtuous argument plays out.