Published Jan 25, 2008Its been 20 years since we last saw John Rambo single-handedly fighting the forces of communism in Afghanistan. A lot has changed in those 20 years (and, sadly, a lot has not), but Rambo's ability to wage war on bad guys has not diminished, despite the fact that he now qualifies for senior citizen discounts.
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has retired to a peaceful life in a Thai fishing village downriver from war torn Burma. When a group of well-meaning missionaries delivering aid to victims of the ongoing Burmese civil war are taken hostage, Rambo comes out of retirement to rescue the peace-workers and bring his own brand of justice to the evil warlord terrorising the land.
Rambo is one of the most violent action movies ever made, though it has more in common with the original First Blood than the cartoon-ish mega-violence of the sequels. Stallone, who also directed, effectively uses the bloody ultra-violence to create a damning examination of war, one made all the more disturbing by the comic book simplicity of the story. By contrasting the vicarious thrills of an action movie with images of the brutal physical damage caused by modern military hardware, Stallone leaves viewers with a lingering discomfort thats unlike the empathetic horror generated by more "serious war films.
The savage scenes of torture, rape and genocide are shot in the adrenaline-rush style of a typical action film but the sequences are infused with a strange sense of reality that will stick in your head long after the excitement wears off. If it werent for the cheesy dialogue, one-dimensional characters and cliché storyline, this film would be the best action movie made in years. Even with all its issues, Rambo is still a must see for every action movie fan.
This Rambo is in no way a glorification of violence, and though fans will be highly entertained, they will leave the theatre a little uncomfortable with the fact that they enjoyed themselves. (Maple)