My Review of “Rambo”!


Movie reviewers can be total snobs.

Sure I review movies on my blog often, but I never have an inflated sense of self importance about something that is just my opinion. Reviewers are paid big money for their opinion, so why do most of them have this high and mighty attitude about films?

Basically what I am getting at is how the critics savagely trashed “Rambo” last weekend. If you believed them, you would think the movie is “gross”, “savage”, “pointless”. But I’m here to offer up a different perspective.

“Rambo” is one of the most violent and unrelenting films I have ever seen. Sure the plot is thin, and some of the acting is a bit off, but guess what? The movie is called “Rambo” and for anyone expecting anything more than a mindless good time at the theater, this film is not for you. Moreover, you were never a fan of “Rambo” to begin with.

Watching “Rambo” last Friday night in a packed theater was one of the best experiences I have had at the movies.

This movie was just total fun and in line with what true fans of “First Blood”, “Rambo: First Blood Part 2”, and “Rambo 3” expect from a sequel. Evil guys acting up, Rambo finding out about it, Rambo kicking crazy amounts of ass. It’s a simple formula. And the oddly the 4th time around, “Rambo” has come close to re-creating what was special about “First Blood” with a little bit of the over the top action that made parts 2 and 3 fan favorites.

The character of John Rambo is very different from the major action hero we last saw him in “Rambo 3”. For starters he is older. And while I am on the topic of age, why is it suddenly funny to make fun of Stallone’s age? At 61 Sylvester Stallone is in better shape than most 20 something year old men. And let’s face it, he is in better shape than most of us will ever be in. The double standard is also confusing to me. Sean Connery was considered “sexy” when he was old and making films like “Entrapment”, but Stallone gets joked on? Give me a break. Stallone still has what it takes to be an ass kicking action hero.

John Rambo now lives outside of Burma (which is a war zone) wrangling cobras and living a low key jungle life. Some Christian Missionaries approach Rambo for use of his boat to transport them into Burma. They want to help the people in the war torn region by providing medicine and supplies. Bless their hearts… In all seriousness, the Missionaries are merely a plot device to get the action rolling. And I’m with that. After all I came to see Rambo destroy everything onscreen so silly people wanting to willingly enter a war zone after countless warnings was OK with me. Cause you know what is going to go down. So the sooner they got there, the faster the action would begin.

Of course we all know what goes down, and that is OK. This movie follows a formulaic pattern yet I was entertained throughout. Once the evil starts happening we all know that Rambo will eventually save the day. It’s what he does. But in this film I really like how Rambo changes it up and as a result of this (final?) adventure he is a changed man.

The action is intense and the violence is brutal. From the opening sequence we are exposed to atrocities affecting the people of Burma. The direction by Sylvester Stallone is effective and he clearly defines the bad guys in this film. There are no shades of gray. You know they are evil, fucked up, demented, and deserve to get their throats ripped out. And when these things finally go down, oddly you cheer it on. What does that say about me? Take it however you want. But the whole theater had the same reaction. Cheering, applauding, and wanting Rambo to demolish everyone.

Good times.

And he truly does destroy and demolish evil. This film has the highest body count I have ever witnessed. People are shot, stabbed, blown up, decapitated, shot to bits. This is not a film for the PG13 crowd. This time Rambo is also accompanied by a small army of mercenaries. And at first I thought they were going to be filler characters, but they eventually surprised me. They all were cool and fun to watch working alongside the more old school Rambo. The standout character was “Schoolboy” and his ridiculously accurate sniper skills. Can we get a direct to video “Schoolboy” action movie?

Another cool thing about Stallone’s direction, was how he makes the character of Rambo hold back for the beginning of the film. People are rude to him, people dont know about his history, and it’s fun anticipating when Rambo will start kicking ass. You see people being rude to him, and you know Rambo could kill these people with one fatal move at any moment, but he is laid back. This approach makes his big entrance a very crowd pleasing moment. I won’t ruin it, but it involves arrows and a landmine. It’s the stuff of action movie legend.

Stallone did a good job with restoring our love and faith in “Rocky Balboa” in 2006. And now he has done a good job in crafting (what should be) Rambo’s last hurrah. The film ends on a proper note that takes it all back full circle to “First Blood”. I personally feel that while I greatly enjoyed this film, it should end here. Stallone brought back “Rambo” and sucessfully restored his action hero legacy, now let him drift off into the sunset. But either way, if they make it, I will be down for “Rambo 5”. 

“Rambo” is a solid, gripping, brutal action film that is a welcome change of pace from the PG13 action films we have been bombarded with in the last few years. Stallone handled this project the best way anyone should have. I tip my hat off to him. At first I was a bit hesitant when I heard that he was contemplating directing and starring in a remake of “Death Wish”. But after seeing “Rambo”, if Stallone wants to brutally murder evil criminals as a crime fighting vigilante, then I am down. I have total faith in him.  

“Rambo” may have lost the box office crown last weekend to the diabolically retarded “Meet The Spartans”, but hopefully word of mouth will help carry the film to a sleeper success. And I am sure this film will make a killing overseas and on DVD. So I’m not too worried. But if this does not happen, Stallone should be happy that true fans of the series were greatly satisfied with this film.

It is the “Rambo” film that we all wanted yet would not have expected.  

So to the mainstream critics, lighten up. Not every film will be a serious Oscar contender. And while “Rambo” was not perfect or Oscar worthy, as an action film it does its job. It kicks your ass, grabs you for a ride, and leaves you wanting to see more. To me that is what every action film should accomplish.

My Rating: B+