Brittany Runs a Marathon
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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The legend of Rambo has gotten a bit out-of-hand over the last 35 years. Because of the cultural reputation and the obnoxiously bombastic sequels, he's often seen as the manliest of men, an archetype of the sweaty, bulging action stars of the 80s and 90s. It's a strange transformation, given where this character started. Sure, First Blood has its share of bad-to-the-bone bloody action. However, I think we forget that the movie ends with our hero breaking down on the floor of a police station, decrying the horrors of Vietnam and our treatment of those soldiers as they return home. We forget that this first Rambo is a well-directed, deeply soulful and honest post-war study that's as caring as it is thrilling.
Stallone's career has largely been defined by two characters: Rambo and Rocky, with the latter being the one he is most praised for and serves as proof he can do more than just throw a punch and shoot a machine gun. However, his turn as migrant war veteran John Rambo is as subtle and heartbreakingly unhinged as you could want. Sure, you get the marquee moments of Rambo rigging R-rated-Kevin-McAlister type traps in the woods, but mostly you're watching a broken man learning how to live in a broken country, neither of whom recognize one another anymore.
It's a powerful statement on the psychological effects of war, made even more powerful because of it's seeming unlikely placement in a movie that promises (and often delivers on) macho action violence. First Blood is a thoughtful and gripping little adventure tale, that's easily the 2nd best 80s Christmas action movie; Mr. McClain is a tough guy to bring down.
Never realized as a kid that these movies are really just about the Szalinski marital issues.
It was a cool, confident 80's-style throwback, whose strong visuals and rare timbre made it a standout among the lame high-concept, overly dark excuses for terror we normally get. My enjoyment led to reading the novel, and I'm glad I did. Not only because it's great, but because I think I would be emotionally lost by Chapter Two otherwise. While it certainly hasn't lost any of the boldness of the first film, much of the actual storytelling skill and tonal control has been lost under an effort to shove 6+ hrs of story into 3. What we're left with is ultimately not a very "good" movie, but one with enough sincerity and fantastic individual moments that it's sloppiness can almost be overlooked.
We find The Losers all grown up, returning to Derry when their clown-friend begins wreaking havoc again. Despite perfect physical casting, the chemistry among these grown up performers comes nowhere near the endearing heights of the younger cast. When the kids return, it serves as a cheap but effective reminder of why we love these characters. The gentle naivete and fear of a young outcast teen proves to be paramount to the success of the horror, so this sequel seems to choose to either move away from scares altogether, or it falters.
Instead its strengths lie in individual scenes and unique themes. The Losers must relive their traumatic pasts, which not only provides the best 45 minutes of the movie, but beautifully and tenderly speaks to the effect childhood has on identity and engrained fear. It's a brave movie, even if kind of a "bad" one, which is a combo I prefer to safe (boring) "good" movies.
I really can't figure out what Zombie's point is with these. By showing us Myers' past, he seems to be trying to make him more empathetic and understandable…except his Michael is by far the most brutally violent and mean-spirited of the entire franchise. The first Zombie outing is bad, but this one is oppressive, utterly joyless, and seems to completely misunderstand what we want from this franchise.
I prefer Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.