British Columbia

Rambo likeness, captured by chainsaw carver, erected in Hope, B.C.

Anyone driving between the Lower Mainland and B.C.’s Interior will travel through Hope, B.C., where a new statue of a local icon has just been put on display.

Edmonton carver commissioned to carve iconic leading man from Hollywood blockbuster filmed in small B.C. town

Rambo: First Blood, which hit theatres in 1982, was filmed in the small town of Hope, B.C., something the town has never forgotten. (Ryan Villiers)

Rambo has returned to Hope, B.C.

The iconic character, portrayed on the big screen by actor Sylvester Stallone in 1982, has been commemorated in the town the movie was shot in, as a giant, wooden carving. 

Edmonton chainsaw carver Ryan Villiers was approached by a town councillor after a local carving competition, asking if he could create something to memorialize Hope's big screen moment that would be prominently displayed in the town. 

He agreed, and this spring a large piece of western red cedar from Hope was delivered to his garage in Edmonton. 

From there, he got to work. 

"I googled hundreds of pictures on my phone, tons of them, and printed out lots of pictures of different angles and heights and all that stuff," he said. 

The carver who tackled a life-size Rambo carving said he used hundreds of images of the character and actor Sylvester Stallone to get the angles on the piece just right. (Ryan Villiers)

He said he used his chainsaw, and a number of other tools for the fine details. 

The finished product stands about two metres high with the base, and Rambo's body is to scale at about 1.8 metres.

Villiers said he used his body, minus the muscles, as a template for ensuring the proportions were correct.

Though he's no stranger to carving important and recognizable pieces, such as a Humboldt Broncos sculpture, Don Cherry and Norm from the beloved sitcom Cheers,  he felt major pressure to make the carving look just right.

"Doing a carving is one thing, but then you're trying to do a carving that the whole, entire world virtually knows what the face is supposed to look like," Villiers said.

"That was stressful."

This wood carving of Rambo, the title character from the film Rambo: First Blood, was created in Edmonton by carver Ryan Villier's garage. (Ryan Villiers)

Since the piece went up on Aug. 14, he the town has been abuzz about its new artwork, and fans of the Rambo series have started making plans to see it.

Stallone himself even posted about the work on Instagram. 

"It's way bigger than what I ever could have imagined," Villiers said. 

With files from Pamela McCall


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?