Rambo Review

Jan 25, 2008 | 4:37am EST

Since his last adventure (nearly 20 years ago for those keeping score at home) John Rambo’s been chilling out minding his own business and catching snakes (!) in Thailand. He is persuaded however to ferry a group of American missionaries to war-torn Burma--this despite his repeated admonitions to them to “Go home.” When the missionaries are predictably captured by the Burmese military--every soldier a sadistic slimeball--Rambo is persuaded to then ferry a group of mercenaries into Burma to rescue the missionaries. This he does with a minimum of subtlety and a maximum of bloodshed. That’s the story of Rambo take it or leave it. It’s basically an excuse for the 60-year-old Stallone to go on a rampage. Then again what else would you expect from a movie like this? Rambo rips a guy’s throat out with his bare hands which is about as dramatic as the film ever gets dramatically speaking. It’s Stallone doing his thing--but we know that going in don’t we? Julie Benz is the prettiest of the captive missionaries and it was she who talked Rambo into bringing her to Burma in the first place so there’s the slightest hint of attraction between them. Otherwise characterization is nil. The actors on hand are merely functionaries of the simplistic storyline. Many are blown apart by the film’s end anyway while others are merely roughed up. No one including the audience emerges unscathed. This is the first Rambo film directed by Stallone and to a large extent it’s by-the-numbers filmmaking. The formula’s already established. At its best which isn’t terribly often the film acts as a pure blunt catharsis for the viewer. If you’re wound up or in a grumpy mood just sit back and watch Stallone decimate everyone and everything in his path. You may hate yourself in the morning but there you are. Rambo is dumb but it’s never dull.

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