Rambo (2008)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Connections: Rambo

In this latest Rambo installment, John Rambo has retreated to a simple life in a rural Thai village near the Burmese border, capturing snakes for local entertainers, and transporting roamers in his old PT boat. Following repeated pleas, Rambo helps ferry a group of Christian aid workers into war-torn Burma, where the local Karen villagers are regularly tortured and massacred by Major Tint's sadistic soldiers. The humanitarian mission is going well, until the village is attacked and the missionaries are kidnapped, and Rambo is once again asked to transport - but this time a group of mercenaries, assembled by the missionaries' minister on a deadly rescue mission. This time he doesn't stay behind. --IMDb
Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone
Julie Benz
Julie Benz
Matthew Marsden
Matthew Marsden
Graham McTavish
Graham McTavish
Reynaldo Gallegos
Reynaldo Gallegos
Review by bluemeanie
Added: January 28, 2008
Films like "Rambo" show the grit and determination of the human spirit better than any other. Films like "Rambo" comes along to teach society just how important the influence of one person can be in making real, unapologetic change, as long as that person is Rambo. When I first heard that yet another installment in the "Rambo" franchise was being written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, my eyes widened and a smile crept across my face. After all, I thought "Rocky Balboa" was just fantastic, and Stallone has really taken it upon himself entirely to revitalize his career. Plus, how long has it been since we've seen a straight-up, balls-to-the-wall action film that brought back such fond memories of the 1980's? If you don't go into "Rambo" expecting to find a brilliant war epic or the next Academy Award nominee, they you'll probably find it just as entertaining as I did. If you go in expecting something else, you're likely to hate every single second of it. "Rambo" is one of the bloodiest, guttiest, most violent films of the year. It tears people in half with every beat of a normal human heart. It has about as much regard for human life as Steve Jobs does for Microsoft. In fact, Rambo might kill more people in this film than either Jason Vorhees or Freddy Krueger throughout the course of their respective franchises. "Rambo" is a throwback to a time when a young Burmese child could be tossed into a roaring fire by a malicious general without the audience getting up and walking out of the theatre. Evidently, that time is, once again, now.

So, what has John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) been doing since the last picture to keep himself busy? Why, catching poisonous snakes in Asia for the locals and giving random strangers rides up and down the river in his boat. He lives a peaceful life now, but does not hesitate in giving the kind of advice that John McCain would probably whole-heatedly endorse if he weren't running for President of the United States. One day, Rambo is approached by Sarah Miller (Julie Benz), who represents a group of missionaries from the United States who want Rambo to take them into Burma so they can so whatever it is that missionaries do. The problem is that Burma is a war zone and the militia is massacring hundreds of people a day, just for the fun of it. After a few failed attempts, Rambo eventually agrees to take them. Almost instantly, his peaceful disposition is tested. After he drops them off, he soon learns they have been abducted by the Burmese militia, and with a group of hired mercenaries, Rambo must help track down the missionaries and satiate his own desires for blood and carnage. That almost sounds as strong as, "A trucker must arm wrestle for the love of his daughter". If you need any further description about a film that features a man ripping another man's throat out with his bare hands - then you probably just need to skip this picture.

If you could say that "Lions for Lambs" is the most left wing picture to come out of Hollywood in a long time, you could easily say that "Rambo" is the most right wing picture to come out in even longer. The character of John Rambo represents just about everything our current Administration thinks the United States should be. But, Rambo is a hell of a lot more entertaining and has a bit more efficiency in killing people. Send Rambo after Osama Bin Laden and he'd be dead by the end of the week. What Stallone does with "Rambo" here is, essentially, the same thing he did with his other signature character, Rocky Balboa. He shows John Rambo as an older, wiser man - a man who has tried to start a new life without the killing and the bloodshed. He shows Rambo as a man who still has what it takes to kill, but just doesn't have the same zeal for it. Rambo used to kill for very different reasons. Now, he kills out of necessity. The level of violence in the film is astonishing, but Stallone does use that to good effect, especially in painting the Burmese militia as so evil and unforgivable. So, at the end of the film, when Rambo is mowing hundreds of them down with his Super Gun, we don't really feel sympathy for them, even as we're watching them be blown to smithereens right before our very eyes. If there was one stand-out problem with the film, it's that some of the special effects - primarily the particle effects - were suspect. This was especially evident at the end of the film when Rambo disembowels someone and he rolls down a hill. I guess I would have appreciated more attention to that, but it did not distract me from the film.

As for Sylvester Stallone, he just knows how to play this character. John Rambo and Rocky Balboa are two people he knows like the back of his hand, and I never had any doubt that he could jump right back into the character. Stallone is silent, but deadly, in this film and he shows why he is so deserving of the comeback he has initiated himself. The rest of the cast you've probably never heard of before. Julie Benz is actually pretty bad in her role as the abducted white girl. Her acting style is better left unattempted. Matthew Marsden is decent enough eye candy in a supporting role as one of the mercenaries. And, character actor Ken Howard has a brief cameo as a preacher who hires Rambo to help get his missionaries back. But, a film like "Rambo" does not rely on the actors who speak so much as the countless other actors who get shot in the face, burned alive, strangled, decapitated or beaten to death with a bare hand. Those are the actors you remember. At the end of the film, when Rambo is standing on the hillside, looking down over the carnage he has created, I kept thinking - "Is someone going to sneak up and shoot or stab him?" The more and more I thought about that, the quicker I realized - "Of course not. He's Rambo." The final shot of the film is a nice one, and it sums up the franchise quite effectively. But, damn, what a long road.

This film doesn't so much teach that one person can't make a difference - what it teaches is that one person can't make a different unless he's Rambo. In the volleyball game of life, if I'm one of the team captains - the first person I am choosing is John Rambo. He is the ultimate American, and even more so in this day and age. He represents the soldier mentality like no other. And, I know there are going to be people offended by that statement, but I don't care. If the United States Army could have every soldier be like John Rambo, they would in a heartbeat. I don't blame them. He would be able to get things done that no other soldier could. That's because he's fiction. Regular soldiers cannot do what Rambo can do because they aren't fiction. So, why then have them trying to do what Rambo could do? Doesn't make sense to me. "Rambo" is just a satisfying picture because it feels like it turned out just the way it should have. Sylvester Stallone is back on the rise and I, for one, am pleased by this. Too long have we waited without the trucker fighting for the love of his daughter, or the frozen law enforcement agent dethawed to track down Wesley Snipes, or the deaf sheriff fighting the mafia for control of his town. America needs "Rambo".

Review by Ginose
Added: January 27, 2008
Rambo? Hells yeah. These movies are as old and as monumental as any action/war movie should ever be. Just the image of Stallone running shirtless through the woods, guns and knives glaring in the light that barely parts through the thick foliage has been burned into any action-fan's retinas. So, the question is, what adrenaline pumped piece of action-movie heaven are we in store for today?

Unfortunately, one with a shirt.

Burma is the zone of the longest standing civil war in history, and (of course) someone ALWAYS has to go down there and try to help the victims of the war. Well, a small group from a Christian organization attempts to solicit the services of one John Rambo to drive them up to Burma on his boat (which is presently resting happily in Thailand). Refusing their offer quite solidly, he is soon persuaded that this is something worth the simple risks it entails. Not soon after delivering the group to the small village in the war-torn country, it is attacked. The soldiers quickly seize the entire Christian-aid group and imprison them.

Soon after, the head of the church's pays a visit to John, asking him to lead a small group of mercenaries to the area where he made his recent drop-off, as they haven't heard from them in ten days. Feeling that old blood-of-war beginning to boil again, Rambo accepts the mission and begins sharpening his blades once more.

That's pretty much it. Yeah, not a whole lot goes on in this more, plot-wise. No complex character-development, twist-plots, life-changing moments. But, honestly, if you were looking for any of that, then why the hell were you at a Rambo movie?

The story was just simplistic enough to make this an amazing movie, honestly. You really can't compare a movie like "Rambo" to anything but its predecessors (and maybe and odd Schwarzenegger from here or there) and it certainly surpasses them by a significant margin. It follows the same formula as they did and, somehow, managed to succeed where the last two had failed while adding even more and more senseless violence and explosions than any of the three.

I will give nothing to the acting, as (weak, it was) it was almost a moot point. The more relied far more on its intense scenes of graphic (in excess) violence and dubious amounts of action. But mostly violence.

Did I talk about the gore yet? Well, oh yeah, there's a shit-load (I refuse to use a more polite adjective, as it would just not explain exactly how gory this was compared to the others) and all of it is just amazing. Some of the moments in this film seemed violent and unethical just for the sake of being so. I mean, they'd established how horrible the war-torn country was in the beginning, they really didn't have to keep pushing the audience to feel even more and more disgusted.

Wow, though, am I glad they did. That's probably what made this selection feel so unique and intense. You can ignore the wafer-thin plot, the pointless scenes and the corny lines and just focus further on how terrible these people are and exactly how much more relieving it will be when out hero slices them to ribbons.

As long as you can ignore a few pointless scenes and try to remember that this is a pointless movie, then you should have VERY little to no complaints about this one. Just the good fun it was supposed to be.

All things considered, this is a sequel not to be missed. A pleasure to look at, hear, and (above all) just enjoy as the mindless violence it was intended to be. If you're a fan of action, gore or just Rambo then prepared to be blown away.

Nirrad #1: Nirrad - added 01/27/2008, 12:07 PM
I have never walked out of a theater so satisfied. I had extremely high expectations for this movie, and it surpassed them. This movie was just awesome, and in my opinion, the best of the series. The crowed seemed to love it as well and whenever Rambo came to save the day and kill some people in brutal ways, the crowed would go "Ohhhh, Oooo" then applaud. Then after the final scene people were clapping. Last time I saw that was Independence Day back in 1996 or whenever it was. Awesome, awesome movie, I would love to see what the Unrated version has to offer.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 01/27/2008, 01:05 PM
What he said.
Luminaire #3: Luminaire - added 01/27/2008, 10:10 PM
I have to agree that i was satisfied, but i think even after all the great violent action, they could of added a little more to the story line, like one single antagonist. and the group he ushers up the river just frustrated me and annoyed me. def. a worthy sequel and very satisfying.
grain of sand #4: grain of sand - added 01/29/2008, 06:56 PM
Got to see this and it was exactly what I expected, loved what they did with it and thought all the violence was totally necessary ;)
I would also looove to see what an unrated version in the future would give us!
Chad #5: Chad - added 06/01/2008, 03:49 AM
Bad-fucking-ass. 9/10.
Crispy #6: Crispy - added 06/17/2008, 10:52 PM
Violence was a bit overly hokey in spots, especially that sniper rifle, but still one hell of a fun ride. 9/10
M√∂rderwolf777 #7: Mörderwolf777 - added 06/19/2008, 10:04 PM
actually the damage done by that sniper rifle was very realistic. look up the size of a 50. bmg shell. thats what it fires
Crispy #8: Crispy - added 06/19/2008, 10:14 PM
And if it hits you in the head it's not going vaporize your head and send the body flying back ten feet. I don't care how big a bullet it fires, it's still gonna follow the laws of physics.
Nirrad #9: Nirrad - added 06/19/2008, 10:19 PM
On the special features, one of the people involved in the special effects got a phone call complimenting them on how realistic the damage was.
Nirrad #10: Nirrad - added 06/19/2008, 10:22 PM
Oh, forgot to mention, the guy who called is in the army, or one of those, and specializes in weaponry.
Crispy #11: Crispy - added 06/19/2008, 10:40 PM
He may have been talking about the mines, the Browning, or hell, maybe even select scenes with the sniper rifle, but some of those scenes were just completely impossible.
Nirrad #12: Nirrad - added 06/19/2008, 10:49 PM
Oh, I suppose. Damn entertaining though.
Crispy #13: Crispy - added 06/19/2008, 10:51 PM
Haha, sure ain't getting an argument there.
Zombieboy #14: Zombieboy - added 12/30/2008, 12:00 PM
Hazard to say that this is the best of them!
Rest Easy Soul #15: Rest Easy Soul - added 07/25/2010, 10:57 AM
I like this one better than part 2 and a heck of a lot better than part 3. It's not as good as First Blood but it's almost as epic. Gory action packed goodness.
Lucid Dreams #16: Lucid Dreams - added 08/24/2010, 12:20 AM
That mine scene was crazy. 9/10
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