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Was surprised that this latest Rambo flick is actually (in my opinion, anyway) the best of the series. Written by Art Monterastelli and Sylvester Stallone, and directed by Sylvester Stallone, the movie resurrects the John Rambo character as a loner trying (and failing) to forget his past in the jungles of Thailand. The plot revolves around Rambo reluctantly agreeing to help in an attempt to rescue religious missionaries taken captive in Burma (odd bit of inaccurate history here, as Burma has been officially known as Myanmar since 1989).
Stallone does not have a whole lot of dialogue in the movie, and what he does have, he pretty much mumbles through it all. Which, in an odd way, adds a little extra layer to the Rambo character. The guy is in his 60's, after all, and it makes sense that he's slowing down in some ways.
While the first half of the movie moves at a fairly slow pace, the second half is an explosion of ultra-violence that is probably the most intense portrayal of combat in film since Saving Private Ryan. Much better than the typical fare for the war movie fans out there, even if they're not fans of the Rambo series of films to begin with.
The production values, cinematography, stunts and special effects are much improved over the earlier series of films. Not to take away from the original First Blood film, which is a great story and a great action film, but this newest film has a more gritty, realistic feel to it that is owed in a large part to Stallone's direction and the fine camera work of cinematographer Glen MacPherson. This movie really shines in these respects on Blu-Ray Disc, by the way, which I strongly suggest over regular DVD - it's much more enjoyable.
In summary, obviously this is not an art-house film or something that gets attention at Cannes or Sundance - it is pure action movie and it follows the formula of all the films in the Rambo series, which is to say, the "Leave me alone/You've pushed me too far/Get even with all bad guys in the most violent way possible.." formula. But for escapist fun for those who enjoy action/combat or war films, one can certainly do a lot worse out there in that respect, and it's actually pretty neat that Sylvester Stallone, even at 60-something years old, can pull off this kind of muscle-bound action hero stuff (not to mention directing the movie as well) - he is in amazing shape for an old guy!
Continuing a third wave of his career, Stallone revisits another character that made him famous, and John Rambo is about as far from Rocky Balboa as one can get. While Balboa is a character that embodies hope and courage, Rambo is the grim embodiment of pessimism and hopelessness. Balboa celebrates the joy of life, while Rambo celebrates death. FIRST BLOOD never really lived up to the nihilistic astmosphere of David Morrell's book, but this 4th film in series more than surpasses anything Morrell put to paper. The bleakness begins with actual news footage of the genocide in Burma (not for the squimish - contains actual beheadings and other assorted acts of violence), where Rambo delivers and eventually must rescue a group of missionaries, and then ventures down dark avenues with badguys who are mass-murdering, war-mongering rapists and pedophiles. The amount of death and carnage is jaw-dropping, and it's hard to believe this is an R-rated movie. There were more dismemberments, beheadings, and obliterated bodyparts than in any 10 horror films I've seen recently. Under director Stallone's eye, in an attempt to keep events politically accurate, even children are repeatedly slaughtered. Even when parts 2 and 3 gave into Reagan-era eccessiveness regarding violence, it would still take all 3 previous films to equal the bloodbath of RAMBO. To his credit, Stallone fuses the story with themes of redemption that brings the character full circle after 25 years and adds even more emotional weight to this politically charaged blow-em-up. This old-school action movie, that surpasses its predecessors in shear action and violence, despite the slimest storyline of the series, is definitely not for the faint of heart, and especailly not for children.
Sly might be old but the man still got it. A lot people has seen Rocky Balboa and loved the movie, but wait until Stallone gathers all of his strength and places all of his energy into making John Rambo, the fourth Rambo film of the saga. It's definitely not an upgrade from any previous Rambo installment; it's just the next one. The dialog is very 'Stallone-esque' (lots of cheesy tag lines that sometimes hit and sometimes miss) but tolerable if you keep your expectations realistic being that it's a Stallone movie.
For Rambo lovers and non-Rambo lovers the story is simple enough. John Rambo tells the story of John leading a group of mercenaries up a river, and takes them deep into the jungles of Burma to rescue a religious group that have been taken captive after a village was burned to the ground, and the villagers were brutally murdered, one by one. I really enjoyed this flick During the movie he is referred to by his name John or as "boatman." Stallone wants to distance his character from "super soldier" from the man Rambo was in the last two movies. He is no longer a hotshot. So no wonder he is not breaking teeth when he gets insulted by the leader of the mercenaries. It does not matter anymore but once the Rambo comes out he fights so ferociously as if his soul was already burning in hell for those 20 years after we last saw him in Afghanistan. As if his desperation, anger, sadness, guilt altogether explode on the screen. It's not pretty, it's not enjoyable and there is no easy way talking about it.
The character development is pretty poor with the main character jumping into a trusting relationship w/ the female lead the instant he makes eye contact without any real explanation as to why. The chemistry between these two was virtually non-existent, but this was probably due to just poor writing more so than casting issues. This may have also been a product of the very fast pace of the film as it really jumps right into the action, but it wasn't a very long movie so they could have done it a little more justice by making it somewhat believable. I think they did a better job with this in First Blood. The team really put together a shocking and graphic representation of war with all of the 'bits and pieces.' I was smiling in amazement of how realistic everything looked and ashamed at the same time for grinning at something so violent.
Still, even with the flaws above it doesn't need a continuing sequel and I think Stallone knows that. Got to pay tribute to this man because he had portrayed one of the best Action Hero's and at the same time reminded us what an action movie is all about. John Rambo came full circle with himself as well as his character's realization for his fans. Any doubt that action movies are dead? Look no further, Stallone still got it. OHH RAAHHH!!!
RAMBO (2008) should be mandatory viewing for all citizens in the United States ?
Why do I say this ?
We as a society have had it so good for so long that too many of our people take our quality of life for granted today and thus sit back with apathy as warning signs pop up in front of us everyday that the America we loved and respected and was once great.... is eroding away from within every day.
It's depressing to see this once great nation rot from within like the Roman Empire did before us.
Along these lines, too many American citizens today know almost nothing about the world beyond AMERICAN IDOL and GREYS ANATOMY TV shows.
No lie....... when my wife and I were leaving the theatre after seeing RAMBO (2008) a group of 30-something adults were walking in front of us.....
They commented to each other.....
"Is Burma a real country or did they make that up for the movie ?"
YIKES.... we let people like this actually vote !
Many people focus only on the violence in this film and perhaps miss the larger symbolism that Stallone often interjects into his films.
Rambo, like many of us in our late 40s and older see people in power making the same mistakes, people becoming less thoughtful and considerate of others and basically see the damage caused by open door immigration and unchecked urban growth.
It all seems to prove the old adage to be more true than ever........
"Its a shame man's moral and social development fails to keep pace with his technological advances".
RAMBO reminds us of the type of integrity and determination and self-analysis real heroes and leaders go thru in life.
Unfortunately we see little of these noble characteristics in either cinema or real-life anymore.
The fact that a 61 year old action hero can outshine and ourperform today's modern "heroes" like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt on the screen is also a parrallel commentary on where our society is today.
We don't have many John Waynes, Charles Bronsons, Clint Eastwoods, or Stallones in our society today.
Instead we have limp "dish-rags" and decadent morals and wimpbaits who like to cry, whine, gripe and complain about things but never want to step up and actually fix or solve any problems.
Where have all the leaders gone ?
We certainly don't have any running for President in 2008 for example.
I bought this movie just to have the complete set and I was curious to see how they would pull this off. My favorite Rambo was First Blood. The next two were not particularly memorable. Now this one has potential if you like action. The action is quite brutal,resembling Saving Private Ryan. But hey, they are bad guys. Stallone does a good job acting the part of John Rambo, the way we might think he would be 20 years after Viet Nam. He has a soft heart for a missionary, gets in trouble and then blasts his way out. A lot of bad guys pay the price. What a ride. The Special Features are very interesting. The plot of this movie takes place in Burma and the movie mirrors some of the conditions in that country. Filmed in Thailand.
Rambo is a new movie that was released by Sly as he revisits the second of his franchise characters.
This movie finds a small intro that is very violent about troubles in Burma. It is basically newsreel type quality. This sets the stage for the bad guys in the movie.
The story finds Rambo capturing cobra's and other snakes (NOT RATTLESNAKES!) in the jungle. He is recruited by missionaries to take them up the river to Burma.
Eventually the missionaries are captured and Rambo takes a group of mercenaries that have been hired to rescue the missionaries up to Burma.
It is at this point that we get past the quiet brooding Rambo and we see the action that we remember from Rambo. There is the arrow attacks, the big guns, personal attacks with a machete/knife.
The main difference between the other Rambo movies and this one is the level of violence. Blood is flying, guts are spilling, limbs are flying, and the odd head ends up on a stick. It is very violent and lots of bullets are fired. Be careful with this movie with younger children.
When governments fail to act on behalf of captive missionaries, ex-Green Beret John James Rambo sets aside his peaceful existence along the Salween River in a war-torn region of Thailand to take action. Although he's still haunted by violent memories of his time as a U.S. soldier during the Vietnam War, Rambo can hardly turn his back on the aid workers who so desperately need his help.
Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Ken Howard
If you like exploding heads and flying body parts, this is the movie for you. I was shocked by the level and relentless nature of the violence, but I was also pleasantly surprised that the film was actually pretty good!
It's got a wafer thin plot, just enough to get John Rambo into the mission, and just enough character to make you want someone to survive. But, this movie isn't about Oscar-worthy performances or clever plotting. It's about a man named John Rambo and a rag-tag (is there any other kind?) group of mercenaries that travel into the jungles of Burma and kick some booty. Along the way, there is a lot, repeat, a lot of violence dished out by all sides and plenty of innocents get in and get in a bad way.
The film doesn't pretend to be something it's not and what it is succeeds.
If you like Rambo, you'll love this. If you didn't, cover your eyes.
You know what you're getting from Stallone in the Rambo films - intense carnage and bloodshed, but this film takes it to new levels, only interrupted by a subplot of rescuing captured missionaries. The film states this takes place in Burma. Burma has been the Union of Myanmar since 1989! Perhaps this point was either shrewd or foolish estimating the intelligence of its intended audience. Stallone has made the cold, brooding mercenary into an art form, bordering on parody. At 91 minutes, you might find it too long or too short based on your view of cathartic violence. I believe the body count was higher than the number of movie goers in the seats. Worth a look for what it is!
While this is an excellent movie, the Blu-Ray version leaves me lacking. I have the Oppo bd-83 and a Sony XBR 52. I've seen several smoke your shorts visuals with Blu-Ray, but this is NOT one of them. The picture isn't any sharper than DVD. Plus the the format leaves black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. Even the smallest zoom seems to distort the picture. Very dissapointed with the visuals. The surround is ok, but not great.
Bottom line here: Don't waste your money on Blu-Ray here. Buy the DVD instead.