There is probably no character less beloved in SF that Sylvester Stallone’s inarticulate, raging PTSD case, John Rambo. In the 1980s, when Stallone and Rambo were ascendant in the popular culture, “Rambo” was a slang term for a newbie acting like a bozo full of false motivation. Having your lane grader call out “Hey, Rambo,” to you in Phase I of the SFQC was, at best, an indicator that you were on the bubble, and at worst, an omen of imminent dismissal. Any oversized, gaudy and chintzy sheath knife was called a “Rambo Knife,” and considered a marker of acute or chronic newbitude. This was a disease cured only by experience and a gradual assimilation into the culture, as the unwritten laws (like “do not carry a Rambo Knife,” for one glaring example).
The gradation among many knives was subtle and changed over time. A Gerber Mark II was OK, especially if it was an old and weathered one. But a Fairbairn-Sykes knife was not OK, even if your great-uncle Nigel had carried it on the Lofoten Islands raid. A Randall 14 was big and shiny, but given its build quality and place in SF history, was a marker of excellent judgment; a nice, subdued K-Bar or Glock knife was a marker of a keen sense of value and practicality; a Rambo Knife was a marker of too little wit to see the difference between promotion and product.
The Rambo Knife was, indeed, the absolute nadir of the knifemaker’s art, as far as SF soldiers were concerned, except during the brief and laughable production run of the made-for-Hollywood Buckmaster. The SEALs had something to do with that.
So it’s a surprise to use to see the horrible knives are not only still in production (proving once again Barnum’s Law), but have two separate entities fighting over the rights to them:
A judge won’t cut down a lawsuit over replica knives from the Rambo films. The dispute is between Hollywood Collectibles, the licensor, and Master Cutlery, the manufacturer. The licensing deal expired two years ago, but the Rambo knives are allegedly still being produced. Almost like the films.
It’s the last item on this catchall legal report at the Hollywood Reporter.
The lawsuit is available in Scribd at the link, or as a .pdf here (227004096-Rambo-Knives.pdf). There are several amusing things in the suit, even after you’ve run out of the laughs generated by the very idea of teams of lawyers fighting over bad knives from bad movies.
For example, the plaintiff, a licensing outfit and sports-memorabilis called “Hollywood Collectibles,” is located roughly 3000 miles from Hollywood. (Movie magic, that). The defendant is called “Master Cutlery.” “Master?” They’re joking, right? They make Rambo Knives for Christ’s sake. Not just with the fake signature of Sylvester Stallone, who is at least a real person (in a limited edition of — hoot! — 10,000), but also a machete with the fake signature of John J. Rambo , who is a fake person created by novelist David Morell (whose fake signature is not available, alas for completists). The fake Rambo machets also has a fake signature burned into the sheath, and they are also making only 10,000 of these. (They seem to retail for a $20-30 premium over the ones without the fake signature. People pay over $100 for one of these cheesy things).
If your taste in tasteless doesn’t run to Rambo, and your worry more about the undead than the unauthentic, Master (heh) Cutlery can also find you a Genuine Walking Dead Fake Samurai Sword. No signature, though. (Walkers can’t read).
If you haven’t gone all the way round the bend yet, consider that the John Rambo signature machete comes complete with Certificate of Authenticity for this fake person’s fake signature.
And part of the complaint was dismissed because the owners of the rights, a company named NuImage and Lion’s Gate Films, only sold Hollywood-3000-miles-from-Home a nonexclusive right. But in the end, the court left enough claims stand that the suit continues — in Florida.