Plot of movie/book
-John Rambo is in prison after his one man war against the small Washington town of Hope. His former CO, Col. Sam Trautman, comes to his prison with a deal. He tells Rambo that he will get a presidential pardon and thus release from prison if he embarks on a mission that involves taking pictures of American POWs still kept in Vietnam. He must take pictures, but not engage the enemy. While waiting for the rescue chopper, he is captured by enemy forces. He thankfully manages to escape from being tortured by a Russian commander thanks to his Vietnamese contact, Co Bao.
Differences between the book/movie
-Obviously, there are going to be some differences. For starters, the novelization is based on an earlier, unused screenplay by James Cameron, of Titanic and Avatar fame
-One of the differences is that during the torture scene in the movie, it only shows Rambo being shocked. Certainly nothing about him urinating on himself by mistake.
-During the scene where Rambo is being shocked by the Russian commander, it says that he urinated on himself, from the electricity coursing through his body and causing him to lose control of major bodily functions. And the Russian commander seems almost sexually stimulated by it. The novel says that the Russian commander got an erection on watching Rambo squirm from the electricity running through his body. He also manages to get a little shocked himself from the water pouring off Rambo onto the floor when Rambo manages to break free of his bonds
-When Rambo is in the slime pit, it says that he is dressed in his combat outfit of boots and cargo pants
-Co Bao, his contact agent, mentions having a son named Nguyen in Huntington Beach, California and having an economics degree from University of Saigon. She mentions having a brother as well. Her English is broken and she hopes to come back with Rambo to the US as a war bride, as she considers him "her man". They do not become intimate with each other; instead she plants a kiss on his cheek. And when she is killed by enemy gunfire, he takes her necklace, which is a small jade necklace, and puts it around his neck, along with tearing a strip of material off her dress, which was stolen to make her look like a prostitute to get her into the prison camp and wrapping it around his head
-The opening scene shows Rambo in his solitary confinement cell. A guard stands outside and says "He likes to think he's the f---ing prince of darkness" after seeing the light in his cell smashed out
-The book goes into detail about Rambo's background, such as him coming from a family with a Roman Catholic Italian father and Navajo mother, which explains his ease with using a simple bow and arrow instead of high tech weapons. Originally it was suggested that Rambo be of partial German descent, but when Sylvester Stallone was chosen to play the role, it wouldn't make sense. Sylvester Stallone does not look German. So it was decided that the character Rambo would be of partial Italian descent on his father's side. There is also a scene in the novel where Rambo was called a "rapist" by hippie protesters. It also explains that, unlike a lot of his fellow soldiers, who eagerly raped Vietnamese women during the war, Rambo lost his sexual drive after witnessing the horrors of war. Just the thought of sexual intimacy or intimacy with another person in general has him breaking out in cold sweats and a racing heartbeat. It turns out that he didn't lose his virginity until age 21 and he couldn't marry because he had been drafted. After returning from the war, the woman he planned on marrying had married someone else and had children. And it was the Vietnamese agent Co Bao that taught him how to love again and they share a passionate kiss. When she dies, he screams in rage, almost as if screaming all the rage out of his body