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Face-Off: John Matrix vs. John Rambo

10.17.2013by: Indiana Sev
Last week's Face-Off featured the two badass characters of Black Dynamite and Machete Cortez with the former winning the battle handily. Cortez was dealt a double blow as his film MACHETE KILLS sank at the box office.

With the Schwarzenegger/Stallone prison break movie ESCAPE PLAN opening in theaters this weekend, we decided to have this week’s face-off revolve around the two legendary action stars. Since we’ve already done a face-off with these two actors, we decided the next best thing would be to pit famous characters of theirs in the battle this week.

1985 was a great year; Phil Collins, Tears for Fears and Wham! were dominating the charts, Super Mario Bros. was released and we all started buying Swatch watches. It was also the year that both RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II and COMMANDO were released. So let’s focus on that year and have Sly’s John Rambo (from the second Rambo film) battle it out with Arnie’s John Matrix. Both actors were at the top of the action game in 1985 and both these characters were one-man armies. Let the cheesy lines begin...

Difficulty Level of Mission
John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a retired Black Ops commando living the simple life with his daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano) up in a remote cabin in California. Suddenly, his old army buddies start getting murdered, his daughter gets kidnapped and he gets blackmailed.

His mission? Matrix must kill the president of Val Verde (a fictional South American country) in 11 hours of less or they kill his daughter. To make matters worse, the only person Matrix has got to help him is a reluctant stewardess (back in ’85, they were still called stewardesses so back off!). Now he’s got to get to a remote island and kill hundreds of soldiers by himself before the kidnappers find out he bailed on the plane to Val Verde. Matrix is gunning for them all armed with a complete arsenal and a very thick Austrian accent.

The South American soldiers Matrix has to battle are lightweights and his main enemy Bennett looks like a reject from the Village People. He’s facing a bunch of douchebags and although they outnumber him greatly, they barely scratch the guy. John Matrix has a lot more on the line than John Rambo does but his mission is a breeze.
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) starts off the movie in a brutal prison camp where he will spend another five years until his former commander (Richard Crenna) visits and offers him a mission that will help him eliminate his prison sentence.

His mission? Head back to the jungles of Vietnam (where he once served) for some recon work that will mainly involve snapping photos of a suspected P.O.W. camp. Once there, things get hairier when he discovers a bunch of prisoners of war and gets screwed over by some Vietnamese allies as well as some American soldiers in the extraction copter. Also, it’s 1985 so the Russians are involved and they’ve got a bone to pick with Rambo as well. Rambo does have help in the form of Co, a beautiful Vietnamese soldier who can shoot a gun and break your heart. Rambo is a true badass and has some decent help but he is up against seasoned pros on this mission so it's a real backbreaker even for him.
Feats of Strength
Lifts a phone booth over his head and flings it.

Breaks a padlock and chain with his bare hands.

Breaks glass with his bare hands.

Removes passenger seat from a car with his bare hands.

Jumps off of an airplane after it has taken off.
Cuts himself loose from the plane when he gets tangled against it after his jump.

Lifts barbed wire with his bare hands.

Withstands numerous rounds of torture by electrocution.
Quotes
1) Matrix: "Don’t break radio silence until they see me."

Cindy: "How will I know?"

Matrix: "Because all fucking hell is going to break loose."

2) (Matrix releases Sully’s leg letting him fall to his death down a ravine)

Cindy: "What happened to Sully?"

Matrix: "I let him go."

3) (Matrix has thrown a pipe through Bennett)

Matrix: "Let off some steam, Bennett."

4) Matrix: "Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?"

Sully: "That’s right, Matrix! You did!"

Matrix: "I lied."

5) Cooke: "You scared, motherfucker? Well, you should be, because this Green Beret is going to kick your big ass!"

Matrix: "I eat Green Berets for breakfast. And right now, I’m very hungry!"

6) Matrix: (after killing a man in the plane)

"Don’t disturb my friend, he’s dead tired."

1) John Rambo: :"Sir, do we get to win this time?"

2) Trautman: "Then what is it you want?"

"Rambo: I want, what they want, and every other guy who came over here and spilled his guts and gave everything he had, wants! For our country to love us as much as we love it! That's what I want!"

Trautman: "How will you live, John?"

Rambo: "Day by day."

3) Rambo: "Murdock..."

Trautman: "He's here."

Murdock: "Rambo, this is Murdock, we're glad you're alive. Where the hell are you? Give us your position and we'll come to pick you up!"

Rambo: "Murdock... I'm coming to get you!"

4) Trautman: "The war, everything that happened here may have been wrong, but dammit, don't hate your country for it!"

Rambo: "Hate? I'd die for it!"

5) Trautman: "John I want you to try and forget the war. Remember the mission. The old Vietnam's dead."

Rambo: "Sir I'm alive, it's still alive, ain't it?"

6) Rambo: "You know there's more men out there and you know where they are. Find 'em. Or I'll find you."
Personality
He’s got none. Schwarzenegger was still early in his acting career so Matrix’ personality is about as colorful as a Jim Jarmusch flick. We learn nothing about his past or present and we can barely tell he’s worried about his daughter. The only thing we do discover is that he thinks Boy George has a silly name.
We learn more about Rambo's character and what makes him tick in a short boat ride in Vietnam with Co than we learn about John Matrix in all of COMMANDO. We care for this guy because all he wants to do is serve his country and live a normal life and he keeps getting screwed over left, right and center. He emits emotion from his face, his body language and in the way he speaks to others. John Rambo may not be the most charismatic guy in the world but he‘s nice and likeable as hell which makes it very easy to root for him.
Action threads
For most of the movie Matrix is seen wearing a green shirt and looking pretty plain. Things get nutty at the tail end of the flick when he sports a tight speedo and then puts the war paint and gear on and starts really looking like a commando!
Red bandana, long 80s hair, shirtless and covered with mud from head to toe.
Hottest help
Matrix gets help from Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong) who is more cute than hot but she can fly a plane so she scores a few points for that. She loses those points right away though because of her haircut. At the end of the movie it seems like they end up together but there isn’t much of a connection between them during the movie.
Rambo ‘s help in the jungles of Vietnam is Co (Julia Nickson), a gorgeous and sexy Asian soldier whose shooting skills are just as good as our hero’s. These two lovebirds even find time to kiss while on the run from the bad guys. They connect on so many levels and it just makes you feel glad that something good is finally happening to Rambo...until she gets riddled with bullets.
John Rambo
I loved growing up with both of these movies but John Rambo is just the better character on so many levels. He’s the underdog who gets no respect and dishes out payback again and again to those who deserve it. The name and character of Rambo have become iconic and although John Matrix is one of Arnold’s coolest characters from the 80s, on a head-to-head battle with John Rambo, he gets blown away.

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

7:56PM on 10/17/2013

JJR vs. JM - Face-Off

Enjoyed both movies. Both characters are cool. Both have cheesiness to them but who cares that is part of the coolness. I think Rambo has more heart, evident in all four movies. Many scenes demonstrate that, in part 2, the scenes with the POWs are crazy, especially when they leave him on the hill, that's sad. Maybe its just me but its a bit of a tear jerker. Anyway :) good Face-Off.
Enjoyed both movies. Both characters are cool. Both have cheesiness to them but who cares that is part of the coolness. I think Rambo has more heart, evident in all four movies. Many scenes demonstrate that, in part 2, the scenes with the POWs are crazy, especially when they leave him on the hill, that's sad. Maybe its just me but its a bit of a tear jerker. Anyway :) good Face-Off.
Your Reply:



4:06PM on 10/17/2013
both are classic characters, true Matrix might have damaged Rambo, but Rambo is definitely the better and cooler character of the two.
both are classic characters, true Matrix might have damaged Rambo, but Rambo is definitely the better and cooler character of the two.
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+1
12:28PM on 10/17/2013

whateva

Matrix would trash Rambo any day!
Matrix would trash Rambo any day!
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12:02PM on 10/17/2013
Sure Rambo is the better movie but Commando has the better quotes. The dead tired quote is one of the best quotes in movie history.
Sure Rambo is the better movie but Commando has the better quotes. The dead tired quote is one of the best quotes in movie history.
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9:36AM on 10/17/2013

"Out here, I'm the law"

John Rambo for sure
John Rambo for sure
Your Reply:



9:35AM on 10/17/2013
Sure Rambo wins. Easily.

But c'mon. Give Dutch the win for quotes!
Sure Rambo wins. Easily.

But c'mon. Give Dutch the win for quotes!
Your Reply:



9:36AM on 10/17/2013
Oops. Matrix not Dutch. Still can't edit on smart phones I see...
Oops. Matrix not Dutch. Still can't edit on smart phones I see...
9:24AM on 10/17/2013

RAMBO

I love Commando, it's classic Arnold but character-wise Rambo definitely wins and First Blood 2 is a better film. I could watch any Rambo movie even if my hair was on fire.
And holy crap was Julia Nickson epically hot and sexy. That's still a gut-wrenching (literally) scene when she gets killed. That would have been a huge turning point in Rambo's life. They escape Vietnam, become a couple and Rambo does his best to return to a normal life with Co by his side. Then again we wouldn't get
I love Commando, it's classic Arnold but character-wise Rambo definitely wins and First Blood 2 is a better film. I could watch any Rambo movie even if my hair was on fire.
And holy crap was Julia Nickson epically hot and sexy. That's still a gut-wrenching (literally) scene when she gets killed. That would have been a huge turning point in Rambo's life. They escape Vietnam, become a couple and Rambo does his best to return to a normal life with Co by his side. Then again we wouldn't get Rambo III and IV and I love those too.
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9:12AM on 10/17/2013

Wrong match-up

It should have been Dutch facing off against Rambo.
It should have been Dutch facing off against Rambo.
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7:14PM on 10/17/2013
I think this is one of two Face-Offs that work great. The other obvious one is the one you mentioned Dutch vs Rambo. These are three cool characters: John J. Rambo, John Matrix, & Alan "Dutch" Schaefer. I agree that another Arnie / Sly Face-Off is warranted, like you stated: John J. Rambo vs Alan "Dutch" Schaefer would be bomb.
I think this is one of two Face-Offs that work great. The other obvious one is the one you mentioned Dutch vs Rambo. These are three cool characters: John J. Rambo, John Matrix, & Alan "Dutch" Schaefer. I agree that another Arnie / Sly Face-Off is warranted, like you stated: John J. Rambo vs Alan "Dutch" Schaefer would be bomb.
10:38AM on 10/17/2013
John Rambo would have been 'Skinned alive"
John Rambo would have been 'Skinned alive"
8:40AM on 10/17/2013
Arnold at his very worst is better than Stallone at his best.
Arnold at his very worst is better than Stallone at his best.
Your Reply:



12:21PM on 10/17/2013
What Vienna Said
What Vienna Said
10:41AM on 10/17/2013
Silence bitch.
Silence bitch.
7:57AM on 10/17/2013
Damned right it's John Rambo.
Damned right it's John Rambo.
Your Reply:



7:47AM on 10/17/2013
I'm just glad it wasn't another tie.
I'm just glad it wasn't another tie.
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+19
6:49AM on 10/17/2013
Matrix eats Green Berets for breakfast...Rambo was a Green Beret...Matrix wins!
Matrix eats Green Berets for breakfast...Rambo was a Green Beret...Matrix wins!
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6:03AM on 10/17/2013

Quotes

John Matrix wins on quotes, hands down. No contest.
John Matrix wins on quotes, hands down. No contest.
Your Reply:



5:54AM on 10/17/2013
Commando didnt have sequels to compare against. If it was gonna be a fair contest it should have been commando compared with Rambo first blood. Rambo was only up against silly police officers hiding out in the woods. I think mission difficulty would have been a lot different. You cant put up a competition and then decide on a film that sways it towards your preference.
Commando didnt have sequels to compare against. If it was gonna be a fair contest it should have been commando compared with Rambo first blood. Rambo was only up against silly police officers hiding out in the woods. I think mission difficulty would have been a lot different. You cant put up a competition and then decide on a film that sways it towards your preference.
Your Reply:



+4
5:42AM on 10/17/2013
I recall enjoying Commando far more than First Blood Part 2 (if it had been First Blood, perhaps, I'd give a different answer...but then First Blood was a different movie...a far more realistic one in terms of those two). Commando had a great theme song...that I still enjoy today :o) I'd give it to Commando. That said, Rambo is a really, really great character that had a very fitting ending in his last movie. Bought a tear to the eye...well it didn't...but...it could have.
I recall enjoying Commando far more than First Blood Part 2 (if it had been First Blood, perhaps, I'd give a different answer...but then First Blood was a different movie...a far more realistic one in terms of those two). Commando had a great theme song...that I still enjoy today :o) I'd give it to Commando. That said, Rambo is a really, really great character that had a very fitting ending in his last movie. Bought a tear to the eye...well it didn't...but...it could have.
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4:30AM on 10/17/2013
I'm giving it to Rambo, he's had more of a chance to sink into the public consciousness with sequels and the cartoon (as mentioned by Netforce) and has become more of an icon as a result. I guess John Matrix does deserve a sequel though; apparently one of the questions Alyssa Milano gets asked most often to this day is if she'll do a Commando 2.
I'm giving it to Rambo, he's had more of a chance to sink into the public consciousness with sequels and the cartoon (as mentioned by Netforce) and has become more of an icon as a result. I guess John Matrix does deserve a sequel though; apparently one of the questions Alyssa Milano gets asked most often to this day is if she'll do a Commando 2.
Your Reply:



4:21AM on 10/17/2013
John Rambo. Another plus side for John Rambo is he has his own cartoon!
John Rambo. Another plus side for John Rambo is he has his own cartoon!
Your Reply:



3:33AM on 10/17/2013
John Matrix quotes are way better...
John Matrix quotes are way better...
Your Reply:



+4
3:00AM on 10/17/2013
John Rambo, Hands Down no Contest!
John Rambo, Hands Down no Contest!
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