Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Me Mini Movie Reviews: John Rambo (aka, Rambo 4)

So, after a successful comeback with Rocky 6, Stallone went back to the well and did another Rambo flick too. I wasn't sure about that, but then I saw the first trailer for Rambo and I was sold. Then the other month I watched Rocky 6 for the first time (yeah, I know, I'm way behind the movie curve) and loved it. So I was more than pumped for a Rambo Return. Would it deliver?

Oh yeah, it did. Set in Burma (where real life atrocities are taking place), it finds Rambo living apart from the world and not too keen on helping out anyone or anything. He's been screwed over too many times, seen too much, and just wants to be left alone. He's a man whose lost his faith in humanity and everything else, and Stallone portrays Rambo's world weariness perfectly. Then into his secluded life walks some American missionaries on a trek upriver to bring medical help and supplies to those in need and they want him and his boat to take them there. Understandably, he tells them to go home. Where they want to go is a war zone. But he reluctantly winds up convinced and out they go. Trouble ensues, and snowballs, leading Rambo to have to face his inner demons and decide if there's anything left thats worth fighting for. Take a wild guess what happens next.

Sure, as some other reviews pointed out, the dialogue isn't the best, but I thought it was good and appropriate to the characters, if a little stilted. Rambo preferred silence, which was great in some moments, but when he did speak he made his point clear. Julie Benz (of Angel fame!) was the key contributor to Rambo's tumult, and came off pretty well. The other missionary leader had some awkward lines, but overall the acting was serviceable, and you don't watch a Rambo movie for the acting chops.

You watch it for the action, and holy smokes did Stallone (who also wrote & directed) deliver. This was some of the most brutally violent war time action I've ever seen. It starts with the army's horrible acts against the people, and then when Rambo turns up and lets loose against the oppressors it's taken to another level. Both sides let loose without mercy, and the carnage is staggering. It is outright war, and it isn't pretty. And yet through that action that people expect in a Rambo movie, there was a grimness to it of the madness of survival and war. How far will a person go when pushed? Why does Rambo leave his solitude to do what he does? And in the end, did it make a difference?

I'm not sure he quite made it, but you could tell Stallone was aiming for something higher here than a run of the mill action flick. And while the incredibly well done action was impressive, the quieter moments and questions raised were more so. I really liked that the after battle moments and then the final scene all played out without any dialogue at all. It was said with looks and what was done spoke for itself.

In the end, Stallone did something surprising here by taking the reins of his two most famous characters himself, returning to their stories years later, and coming up with a perfect last story for both. I really liked both Rocky 6 and Rambo 4, and how both were given a great closing chapter.

Verdict: Recommended, but not if you're squeamish of blood.

Comments on "Me Mini Movie Reviews: John Rambo (aka, Rambo 4)"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (February 26, 2008 5:30 PM) : 

Thanks for the review. Unfortunately I missed this one. I hope it will be as good on DVD.

- originallru


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (February 27, 2008 2:01 AM) : 

Hopefully the DVD will have good extras. There's gotta be lots of stories on how they made this.


Anonymous The Dude said ... (February 27, 2008 2:02 AM) : 

this is a test


Blogger KEANAN BRAND said ... (February 27, 2008 12:40 PM) : 

I've read a small number of reviews for both of the recent Stallone films, neither of which I've seen, and am considering this one. I'm rarely able to make it to the theatre, though, so most of the time I have to wait for DVD.


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