The film opens with Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) returning to Thailand to recruit Vietnam Vet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone). After seeing his skills at Thai stick fighting, Trautman visits the construction site of a Buddhist temple that Rambo is helping to build. He asks him to join him on a mission in Afghanistan. The mission is meant to supply weapons, including FIM-92 Stinger missiles to Afghan rebels, the Mujahideen, who are fighting Russians in the Soviet-Afghan War. Despite showing photos of civilians under threat from the Russians, Rambo refuses and Trautman goes on his own.
While in Afghanistan, Trautman's troops are ambushed by Russian soldiers at night when they are passing through the mountains. He is imprisoned at a Soviet base and is interrogated by Col. Zaysen (Marc de Jonge) and his henchman Kourov (Randy Raney). When Rambo learns of this through an embassy field officer named Robert Griggs (Kurtwood Smith), he convinces the man to take him through an unofficial operation and Griggs warns Rambo that the US government will deny any actions if Rambo is caught or killed. He flies to Peshawar, Pakistan where he meets with a local weapons supplier named Mousa Ghanin (Sasson Gabai), who agrees to take him to Khost, a village deep in the desert and after some persuasion, close to the Soviet base. the Mujahideen, led by Masoud (Spiros Focas) are hesitant to help Rambo, but then they are surely not going to help him when their village is attacked by Soviet soldiers and helicopters after one of the assistants in Mousa's shop alerted Soviet soldiers of Rambo's presence. Rambo's only help is Mousa and a young boy named Hamid (Doudi Shoua), they make their way to the Soviet base and he starts his plan to free Trautman. The first attempt results in Hamid getting shot in the leg and Rambo getting wood fragments in his side. They escape and he tends to Hamid's wounds, making sure Mousa and Hamid are safe then he tends to his own wounds.
The next day, Rambo returns to the base, just in time to rescue Trautman from being tortured with a flamethrower. He rescues several prisoners, stealing an Mil Mi-24 helicopter and escapes from the base. Unfortunately, it's damaged as it leaves and it crashes, forcing him and Trautman to escape on foot. After a fight in a cave, where Rambo and Trautman dispatch several Russian commandos, including Kourov, they are confronted by enemy tanks, headed by Zaysen. He wants them to drop their weapons, and comply to his orders saying they can't escape. Just as they are about to be overpowered by the Russian Army, the Mujahideen, warriors, led by Hamid and Mousa, ride onto the field with hundreds more in a cavalry charge, overpowering the Russians. Rambo and Trautman are injured, while Rambo manages to kill Zaysen with a well placed Molotov Cocktail given to him by a man on a horse. When all is over, they bid farewell to their Mujahideen soldiers and leave to go home.
Did You Know?
-In this movie, you can see the necklace that Co (Julia Nickson) was wearing in Rambo: First Blood pt. II that he go after she died