It may no longer occupy the top spot on the box-office charts, but "Rambo: First Blood Part 2" is still getting plenty of attention these days. Lots of that attention is from overseas, where the film has broken records in many of the theaters where it's opened and where it may wind up grossing over $150 million -- or nearly as much as it figures to make in North America.
Further afield, "Rambo" got a far different reaction: a distribution deal actor/director Sylvester Stallone may well wish had been outlawed. Two days after "Rambo" opened in the United States, pirate videocassettes were reportedly available in Singapore and Malaysia. Since then, similar cassettes have turned up in Taiwan, the Middle East, Britain and parts of Europe. And, of course, Hollywood. There pirate cassettes of big movies routinely make the rounds about the time the films are released, but are generally restricted to underground aficionados rather than stores, so nobody makes much of a fuss . . .
You won't find any bootleg cassettes in the People's Republic of China; in fact, "Rambo's" predecessor, "First Blood," hasn't been released in that country yet. But that film is on the verge of a Chinese opening, and it already has supporters on the staff of the Peking Evening News. The paper called "First Blood" "a serious film with healthy content, profound social significance and a high degree of artistic material," and went so far as to dub it "an outstanding work in recent American cinema." They also opined that it criticizes the United States' involvement in Vietnam. Wait until they see the sequel . . .
There's been lots of talk lately about a possible revival of "Two Jakes," the "Chinatown" sequel that was under way when problems between director/writer Robert Towne and producer/actor Robert Evans sidelined things. The latest scenario has Evans dropping out, Towne staying in the director's chair and new producer Dino De Laurentiis reimbursing Paramount for some of the money already spent on the aborted project. If that happens, Evans' friend Jack Nicholson reportedly wouldn't be involved; the script has been read by Harrison Ford, who supposedly likes it but hasn't been involved in serious negotiations yet. Without Nicholson and Evans, the film would also sever its ties to "Chinatown" and become a simple detective film . . .
Harrison Ford, meanwhile, will definitely be starring in "Mosquito," a film version of Paul Theroux's novel "The Mosquito Coast," to be directed by "Witness" director Peter Weir. When "Mosquito" first got under way, the project was widely rumored to be a likely vehicle for, of all people, Jack Nicholson . . .
Superagent Irving (Swifty) Lazar has sold the film rights to Larry McMurtry's western "Lonesome Dove" to Motown, for a price that tops the fee McMurtry received for "Terms of Endearment." For his trouble, Lazar gets to be coproducer (with Motown president Suzanne DePasse) of the $25 million film . . .
Roy Scheider, Frank Langella, Harvey Keitel and others are all working for scale plus profit points on the film version of "The Men's Club," Leonard Michael's gritty novel about an all-night men's party that turns revealing and a little bloody. Peter Medak is directing the movie, which is being made for a cut-rate $2.5 million because the material's too sensitive for bigger financiers . . . And Sissy Spacek is looking to do a similar low-budget labor-of-love adaptation of Marsha Norman's play " 'night, Mother." Spacek's most recent film, "Marie," has been picking up a good number of raves during its first round of preview screenings . . . Which is more than you can say for the Sting/Jennifer Beals update of the Frankenstein legend, "The Bride." The film drew a big crowd at its chief Hollywood screening last week, but many of those in attendance came to see if it was as terrible as everyone said. The consensus: Despite Sting's newly sculpted nose, it's that terrible.