Directed By: Sylvester Stallone
Distributed By: Lionsgate
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
Hola to all of you in Webville. It is I—also known as me and sometimes, as myself—back from the Netherlands of life to bring to you another review. This time, I bring to you my review of Rambo, the fourth and last in the series of First Blood movies—and if you didn’t know First Blood was the original name of the first movie, then I hate you all. I went to see this movie as part of a personal vendetta against Sly Stallone, who unceremoniously robbed me of a viscously scathing review of his last film Rocky Balboa—which I had fully expected to destroy with my words, but ended up praising. I wanted nothing more than to rip this newest geriatric revamp to itty-bitty pieces and eat them for breakfast for your amusement. I mean, really. Reviving Rocky was one thing—Rocky was a lovable pugilist—but Rambo was little more than a psycho with a dark past. Rambo had no real personality to speak of. I was salivating with anticipation of a horrible movie and a horribly violent review to follow, because I absolutely do not believe Sly could make a creditable Rambo movie after all of this time.
So, enough about me and on to the premise of the movie. Our dear beloved John Rambo has hung up his serrated blade and high powered automatic machinegun for a quiet life on a boat in Thailand, earning his living capturing snakes for local entertainment and occasionally ferrying tourists. It’s on one of these ferrying missions that the story begins. Rambo is contracted by Sarah (Julie Benz - Angel, Dexter) and her group of Christian missionaries to take them into war-torn Burma to help the infirmed and poor.
Rambo is disenfranchised and bitter about the world and tries to refuse the missionaries, claiming that it’s stupid to try to change the world because nothing will ever change, but Sarah convinces him to help them. Of course, the village the missionaries are helping gets attacked—sorry, attack isn’t the best word for it…SLAUGHTERED!!!—by a sadistic army of Burmese soldiers and the missionaries—for some inexplicable reason—are captured. Now let me just stress how ridiculous this is because the villagers were completely F*ING SLAUHGTERED, but the missionaries were captured alive and held hostage. And if any random or demands were made for their release they were made in Burmese and I don’t speak Burmese so I’m going to assume that they were just spared because they were cuter than the villagers.
The man who sent the missionaries into Burma contracts Rambo to take a team of mercenaries in to rescue his people. Rambo decides that he has run away from his true nature for too long and joins the mercenaries. What follows is a rampage of bloody bodies, severed limbs, ripped out throats, and arrow-decorated skulls, all at the hands of our old boy John Rambo. You can pretty much guess what happens from there. Sorry if it’s a short summary of the movie, but when it comes to a pure action film like this one, summaries are irrelevant. All that really matters is the blood, guts and gore, which this film has in abundance.
Overall, I didn’t hate this film—damn you Sly!!. I didn’t love it either, but I have to acknowledge that being a pure action film, it will deliver what action films promise. If you are a fan of action films, this movie is SO for you. It has everything an action film needs: violence, violence, and more violence! What’s more, this movie doesn’t boggle you down with complicated plots, the bad guys are clearly defined as are the good guys and the goal for the good guy (Rambo) is clear—kill the bad guy. No sense confusing the audience with things like motivations of the villain or a real back-story. You all know who John Rambo is otherwise you wouldn’t have paid the ten bucks to see the movie, and the villains…so cares what their back stories are—they’re the VILLIANS and must therefore DIE!!! Sorry, got a little carried away.
On a side note: the violence of the movie at times was so extreme that it left me teetering between laughing at how exaggerated it was and wondering whether Hollywood actually got it right for once and that IS what happens to a body when a real bullet goes through it at maximum speed. But I’ll let someone else decide that one.
For what it was, the movie was very good, but it had one major flaw. It seemed to be running parallel and conflicting themes. The first is that the aforementioned “VILLIANS…must therefore DIE,” encompassing previous Rambo mantras as “In order to survive war, you must become war,” and generally affirming that violence is the answer to all conflicts and if someone hurts you, you’re job is to kill them in as many creative ways as possible. The second theme seemed to be one of peace, encompassing a ‘you can always go home,’ and ‘it’s better to try to change the world (peacefully) than to ignore its problems,’ mentality. These two themes at time worked off of each other, but more often than not I felt they contradicted one another, leaving me wondering what the writer—Stallone—was trying to say, if anything at all. Other than that, I’d gladly recommend this film to anyone who likes action films, because you’ll get a heaping boatload of that in this latest and final installment of the Rambo franchise.