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Rambo III (1988)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Movie Connections:
Rambo
> First Blood (1982)
> Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
> Rambo III (1988)
> Rambo (2008)
Genres:
Action, Action Thriller, War Adventure
Director:
Peter MacDonald Peter MacDonald
Starring:
Sylvester Stallone Sylvester Stallone
Richard Crenna Richard Crenna
Marc de Jonge Marc de Jonge
Kurtwood Smith Kurtwood Smith
Spyros Fokas Spyros Fokas
User Lists:
> Top 10 Slashers

5.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: August 29, 2007
With a budget of just over $63 million dollars, Rambo III was the most expensive film ever made as of the day it hit theaters. According to the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records, it was also the most violent movie ever made at the time, with an impressive 221 acts of violence and over 108 deaths to be witnessed during the running time. Think about those two achievements for a second: the most expensive film ever made which also happens to be the most violent movie ever made. Combine all of that with the fact that this is another Rambo movie, a series that had thus far been excellent in both content and fan reception, and you've got a sure-fire winner on your hands. So, what the hell went wrong? Let's get to that after the obligatory synopsis.

It's been a few years since the events of First Blood Part II, and John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is now spending his time back and forth between stick-fighting in Bangkok and helping Buddhist monks rebuild a village. It doesn't take too terribly long before his old friend Col. Trautman (Richard Crenna) shows up with another mission for our badass hero, and this time, it involves helping Afghanistan freedom fighters defend their country against the evil Russian military. Rambo turns down the assignment in favor of continuing to help the monks, so Trautman takes off and we're left without a storyline. But wait! Trautman soon finds himself kidnapped by those wily Russians, so Rambo decides to suit up once again and go in with guns blazing to rescue his one true friend. With the help of those Afghanistan rebels, it's up to Rambo to save his friend, free a bunch of hostages, protect the nearby Afghani village, and kick a whole lot of Russian ass. God, I love the eighties.

Much of the blame for this one can be placed on the lackluster script... or should I say the lack of a script. While it's true that there's a lot of stuff going on here, it's done in such a straightforward way with little to no character connection to help things out, and in the end, we're simply left with a bunch of explosions and shootouts. Rambo has to go here, and he blows stuff up along the way. Rambo has to go there, and he blows stuff up along the way. Rambo has to go take a shit, and he blows stuff up along the way. That's the formula for the entire film, and while I understand that eighties action flicks aren't exactly known for deep storylines, it's still a bit disappointing after seeing how well the first two films turned out. Perhaps I could have overlooked that had the actual action sequences been more entertaining, but alas, that wasn't the case.

You see, there are a lot of explosions here, and I do mean a lot of explosions; however, that's about the extent of the action sequences. Rambo shoots his gun and blows up a tank, then he shoots a building and blows it up, and then he shoots a truck and blows it up. Granted, there are a lot of enemy kills mixed in with all of this, but it's of the "twenty guys come after Rambo and he mows them all down with a spray of bullets" variety with little else thrown in to liven it up. The final action sequence of the film breaks away from these trends and turns out to be pretty damned entertaining, but by then, it's a simple case of "too little, too late."

Also, I can't really hold this against the film, but time really hasn't been kind to the storyline contained within. Rambo helps the Afghanistan rebels, who just so happen to be the good guys. When he hints that he'll be back to help them some more in the next movie and when one looks at the current situation between the United States and Afghanistan, well... it certainly makes for some interesting television. Of course, maybe it all makes sense; after all, the first two films had Rambo growing increasingly resentful towards the US military, so maybe having him team up with the Taliban to annihilate our armed forces in the upcoming sequel is the only logical way to go.

All kidding aside, there's a reason that this movie bombed during its initial theatrical run: it's simply not on par with the rest of the Rambo films, nor is it even one of the better action movies of the eighties. There's a lot of eye candy, but - save for that final sequence - there's simply no soul involved and it's just the same cookie-cutter jumble of explosions and shoot-outs that we've seen in countless other films. 4/10.
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Nirrad #1: Nirrad - added 11/16/2007, 05:08 PM
I found this one to be the best of the series. First Blood was a big disappointment for me, it was kinda boring and I didn't like that fact that John Rambo felt like a bad guy (at least to me he did). I want to see action, and this movie gave me that. I think it's by far the best of the series thus far, then part 2, then the first one. I don't get why people don't like this one, I didn't find one boring part and it's not just go here, blow stuff go there blow stuff up up as people claim it is. That to me seems like some fad going around about Rambo movies. There isn't really any action within the first 40 minutes.

Just my 2 cents. Far better than First Blood.......can't wait for the new one.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 06/17/2008, 08:24 PM
Solid 'meh' here. 4/10 sounds about right.
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