Rambo Review

Jungle? Check. Bad guys getting their heads blown off left and right? Check. Rambo's red headband over that forever sweating cinder block of a noggin? Abso-checking-lutely. In fact, there's a good chance that the writers of this movie, Art Monterastelli and Sylvester Stallone, used a checklist very similar to that one when they cranked out the story. First, we need to set up the big, bad, ridiculously jacked and probably juiced up John Rambo, (Stallone), as a loner in the jungle in Thailand who has told the Western World and most of society to take a hike. He doesn't need anyone, and no one needs him...or do they?

The next part of the story will involve someone needing him, and, more to the point, requesting him as an escort through dangerous territory, which in this case is a church group from the United States looking to spread peace, love and medicine to some terrorized innocent people in Burma. Rambo will refuse on the basis that it is suicide. They will go anyway, and they will get captured, allowing a crack team of mercenaries to be assembled to attempt the impossible and save them from a grisly fate. Rest assured, these things happen, and from there the rest of the movie (blood/guts/shooting/violence/explosions) fills in the spaces like some kind of pointless-action-movie coloring book.

But you know what? Those kinds of coloring books have a special kind of merit to them if they're drawn well. It's doubtful anyone who sees this movie will want to shake the writers' hands and congratulate them on a complex story filled with intriguing character arcs. They will, however, want to thank them for a wild ride through a jungle complete with well-executed action sequences, some great cinematography, and a body count that might make your stomach turn. A few sources on the Internet say the count is 236. How anyone would count it is beyond me, especially seeing as the final climactic sequence is nothing but a barrage of dismembered limbs, kabooms, and blood. It's the scene in which Rambo wields one of those huge .50 caliber machine guns that looks like it'd best be used to hunt down and kill a T-Rex.

It's not a flawless action masterpiece, however. It's hardly a new trend, but it's a fast-growing one: to add in “bloody” shots and exit wounds after the filming using computers. It probably saves on time and money during production, and the effects are so fast and fleeting that it's difficult to spot, unless you watch this on blu-Ray as I did. My TV isn't as hi-def as I'd like it to be, but even so, watching someone get shot in the knee and a flurry of red pixels erupt out of the wound, it just doesn't look right.

But, despite that distracting detail, the movie has a lot going for it that you won't see in others in its genre. The realism portrayed when a village of innocents is bombed to Hell by mortars is pretty gruesome. One might say that it goes over the top when the Burmese soldiers are throwing toddlers into burning huts, but this is what goes down in some parts of the world. It's not as if you needed some Hollywood movie to tell you that, but the shades of realism this movie has might be enough for some to feel odd if ever they refer to it as a simple “popcorn movie.”

The title says it all: Rambo. What you see is what you get; if you aren't a Rambo fan and you watch this film you will probably not like it. Some of its themes of real aggression and terrorism might strike a note in your brain but unless you are up for watching people getting blown away, and Sylvester Stallone saying macho things like “killin' is as easy as breathin'” then you should not watch it. However, if you are a fan of this genre then you know what Sylvester Stallone is capable of behind the camera. This is no exception.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

Apart from a “More from Lionsgate” section, there is a very extensive production diary called “Rambo: To Hell and Back” which gives good info on the arduous filmmaking process they had to endure to bring this movie to life in a jungle.

"Rambo" is on sale July 27, 2010 and is rated R. Action. Directed by Sylvester Stallone. Written by Art Monterastelli, Sylvester Stallone. Starring Graham McTavish, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden, Rey Gallegos, Sylvester Stallone.

Ryan Katona

I grew up in the Midwest and couldn't be prouder of it. There wasn't a whole lot to do though, and since not being athletic was one of my favorite pastimes, watching movies became a hobby. The hobby turned into a career pursuit, which led me to the east coast. I'm now excited that I get to share my two cents on movies.


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