Movie Review: Rambo

Year Released: 2008
Directed by: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz,
Production Company: Rogue Marble

Remember that scene in UHF where Weird Al shot something like, 100 guys standing on the hill with his big M60? The 2008 Rambo kinda reminds me of that; namely because he has a great big .50 calibre machine gun he uses to mow down the enemy. Of course, UHF didn’t have bad guys being decapitated or limbs blown off from bullets; leave that to our boy Rambo.

As you know (hopefully you’ll know this) Rambo is the fourth instalment of the Rambo series. Basically it’s an exercise in maniless, masculinity and defined the 80’s action hero as the rough and tumble ex-military type. Unlike the first series however, there’s much more gratuitous violence and blood than the first three COMBINED. Stallone might not be as muscular and slim; these days he’s trying to stave off the grandpa fat and thankfully doesn’t take off his shirt, he’s bit larger and little chunkier but even more deadly as he hacks and shoots his way through Burmese soldiers.

This time around Rambo, who hasn’t returned to the United States in 25 years, lives a solitary life in Thailand where he hunts poisonous snakes and blacksmiths random metal objects. For anyone still paying attention: Rambo is the fucking balls, the iron chef of he-man toughness. He hunts poisonous snakes. Seriously. Some missionaries show up hoping to help the war torn Burma, and since they’re armed with Bibles and medicine, and have a single white female (Julie Benz), Rambo is adverse to the idea at first then warms up. Probably to further along the story. The missionaries get to their destination, but shortly after arriving the village is massacred by the Burmese army and the surviving missionaries are taken hostage.

At this point it’s up to Richard Crena’s replacement (Ken Howard) to hire some annoying commandos and with Rambo’s help, get their people back and shoot the ever-loving-shit out of the Burmese. Let’s put it this way; he does both.

The character of Rambo has always been a part of my childhood; he was this untouchable killing machine that didn’t have mercy, was invisible to the enemy and feared by his own people. On top of that, he was resourceful, smart and suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome; and back in the 80’s that was cool. This time around, he’s a little slower and director Stallone’s solution was to up have him kill people in the most graphically violent way possible. To make up for the last 25 years, Rambo still uses his crossbow; albeit for fishing and gaming, but it was still pretty cool to see, and he didn’t have his giant multipurpose blade either: he traded it in for a custom made giant machete. And I think that’s the symbolism Stallone was trying to accomplish in this film to set it apart from the last three – he’s gotten older, wiser, and rather than using a sleek blade, the broad metal of the machete inflicts maximum damage with maximum noise. As opposed to trying to sneak up on people, and at 61 that’s probably harder to accomplish.

If you’re looking for blood and guts, look no further than Rambo, I’m sure there’s enough here to start its own franchise. Stallone can prove he can bring new life into old shoes with Rocky and he’s done pretty well with Rambo. Next up, either a sequel to Demolition Man, or a Tango and Cash remake with Stallone and Seann William Scott. Man, Tango and Cash was awesome.

7 out of 10

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