As I stated in an earlier post, I’m a fan of the Rambo franchise, so I took advantage of my day off on Friday (opening day) and caught the 2:40 showing at the local theater. The first thing I gotta say is that I don’t go to movies that often, so I forgot how expensive this can be (the ticket was $7, and the soda/popcorn combo was $10.50), but I have no regrets.
The movie takes place in southeast Asia, as we’re introduced to a bit of background story involving the ongoing war in Burma, followed by the revelation that John Rambo has settled down in a Thai village as a riverboat guide and snake wrangler. It was only a few minutes into the movie when the Christian missionaries/aid workers arrive and ask him to give them a ride up the river to help the Burmese. John reluctantly agrees after warning them that they’re wasting their time, and the story is off and running. ( I was kind of left with the impression that Stallone went ahead and assumed that anyone that went to see this film was familiar with John Rambo’s history, as there wasn’t a whole lot of character development going on).
Anyway, the missionaries of course get caught, and Rambo is asked to hook up with a band of mercenaries to attempt to rescue them from a Burmese military camp (a camp that is very reminiscent of the Vietnamese camp in Rambo II, incidentally). I don’t want to be a complete spoiler, so let’s just say that, in the end, Rambo saves the missionaries (well, some of them at least) and the mercs (again, some of them) and kills about a 100 or so bad guys in the process. Roll credits.
In short, this movie was thin on plot and thick on, um, Rambo. In other words, it didn’t really pretend to be anything other than it was, and for a 10-minute span at the end of the film especially, it was an absolute orgy of graphic violence. ( I’m not sure if there’s a record somewhere for individual visual deaths per minute, but I’m sure this one would rank up there) Don’t worry about shedding any tears of those on the other end of Rambo’s machine gun either, the bad guys are very bad guys. They’re good for some rape, genocide, dead pools, killing children, torture, feeding prisoners to pigs, and even a little NAMBLA action just for good measure. So, let’s be honest, for Rambo fans, this is exactly what we were paying for. No one was expecting to see something akin to Saving Private Ryan, after all. So, in that spirit, it delivered….bigtime.
Memorable quote: “Live for nothing, or die for something…your call”
Classic moment: The look of disbelief on the mercenaries faces after witnessing Rambo single-handedly taking out a handful of bad guys with his bow and arrow, having been upstaged by the “boat man”.
Something noteworthy: Unlike previous Rambo films, the movie lacked a scene involving an antagonist capturing and subsequently torturing Rambo in some cruel and inventive way.
Something I didn’t know previously: Rambo is a blacksmith. The large knife depicted in previous films was apparently abandoned, replaced by a more machete-like weapon that he was able to forge specifically for the mission.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 (throwing) stars
Update: Thanks to Sliquid for the email on these stats. I cannot be certain of the accuracy of any of this (only one person killed in the first movie?), but it is interesting nonetheless.
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