Posted on 1/28/08 06:37 PM
Art Monterastelli & Sylvester Stallone
David Morrell (character)
Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden and Graham McTavish
I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to the theater to see Rambo. Sure, it's been 20 years since the last movie came out, which I would've been 6 at the time, and it'd be kind of cool to get my first Rambo theatrical experience. But I have to travel nearly 30 miles for a decent theater that shows decent movies. Add the mostly negative reviews I was thinking this was rental-worthy. Today, I said "the heck with it" and decided to give it a chance.
John Rambo now lives in Thailand but missionaries convince him to take them to what is considered hell-on-earth, Burma. After returning from the trip he finds out that the missionaries have gone missing and escorts a group of hardened mercanaries to locate and rescue the group.
I had an idea what was happening when I was going into this. I've posted the rough trailer Stallone was using to sell the movie and there was a good idea of the extreme amount of realistic violence that was going to take place and I didn't expect it to pass by the MPAA... but it did. Not that I mind, it's quite the spectacle on the big screen.
I can see a lot of people having trouble sitting through this. Sure, it's a big dumb action movie that you can turn your brain off for and toss some popcorn in your mouth but it doesn't really work that way for me. The First Blood sequels were parodied quite often for scenes such as choppers and hundreds of soldier shooting at him and not hitting him but he's able to hit them with pin-point accuracy... but this isn't your Papa's Rambo. Much of the violence is extremely disturbing especially watching people explode like water-balloons, children getting thrown into fire and entire villages being raped. The violence so realistic that it makes everything else I've seen in a movie look like an old wild west show... on the radio!
So with all of that said the movie exceeded my expectations. Gone is the polished style of Rambo: First Blood Part 2 and Rambo 3, it's now gritty and down-and-dirty film-making. This is a hardcore guerilla warfare film that you'll either hate or love... and I loved it. The plot may be simple, the acting may not be top-notch and has much more action than any sort of character development but it works. I was really getting into this movie. The protagonists are such ruthless, despicable piles of dog-shit that you'll get all giddy when Rambo shows them what's up. Also, Rambo isn't running around like the shirtless, oiled-up young lad that he used to be, he's an old man and plays it as that.
Rambo isn't a Stallone one-man show. He works with a group of mercenaries bad-asses that have individual personalities which reminded me of the Colonial Marines from Aliens... which is alway a great thing. I have to hand it to Stallone, he's come a long way since Staying Alive as a director. I'm not sure if he is a puppeteer with my emotions or just simply exploiting them... but at least he made me feel something. It's the type of movie you want to erupt in an applause as the credits role, not because it's fine art, but it's movie that lives up to First Blood and surpasses the sequels.
Rambo is a movie that critics, in my opinion, were wrong about. I'm not sure why... I guess since they feel obligated to hate it? Maybe it was too ugly and violent which I can get and why I've hated movies in the past. Maybe they took offense because shallow action movie was trying to bring attention to the atrocities taking place in Burma but instead felt exploitive. I can see that as well but it's a hardcore action flick that takes no prisoners and still has heart and I felt so immersed with this film I couldn't possibly give it a negative review. It's one-of-a-kind type of movie in this day-in-age and will satisfy your nostalgia fix until a certain archaeologist makes his way back into theaters this summer.