“What do you mean “one” of the most violent movies of all time? It “is” the most violent movie of all time!” -Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone has created some of the best loved characters ever to grace the cinema screen. Characters we all know and love to bits. Everyone loved Rocky, why? Because he had heart. Everyone loved Rambo, why? Because he kicks anyone’s ass for America! The old idea of America.
“Rambo? Rambo makes James Bond look like Mickey Mouse!” – Basho’s stepdad 1985.
I grew up with Rambo and Rambo II and have seen them all many times. My parents never minded me watching the violence because Rambo only kills ‘baddies’. Well, he’s back and he has one more set of ‘baddies’ to kill. After the excellent remake of this other classic Rocky, Stallone knows what his audience is going to want. Firstly Rambo must look like he’s 20 foot tall. Here he still does, the thick size of his neck having not atrophied at all in the intervening years.
Secondly, Rambo must be on his own. Sure Rambo here has help from some mercenaries and their ex-SAS leader (who has the same Londoner accent as me btw) but he must kill all the character baddies one on one.
Thirdly, Rambo must be tortured by his violent past. It doesn’t matter that he isn’t a Christian, but it does matter that he is trying to repent for what he was and indeed still is.
“Y’know what you are, what you’re made of. War is in your blood. When you’re pushed, killing’s as easy as breathing”
Finally, Rambo must carve up an army using an array of heavy caliber weapons.
All of these things are brought together with a very large dose of nostalgia; the font used in the opening credits, the mud, the theme song, the big fucking knife and even his mega bow and arrow set make a come back. Also making a come back and the main focus of the film is the over the top action and people being seriously owned by Rambo. Without a doubt this is the most bloody film I have ever seen. More bloody than Hamburger Hill, more bloody than any other Rambo, more bloody even than A Better Tomorrow II (where Chow Yun Fat shoots 86 people in a 100 minute film).
This film has a very serious gore level to say the least. You have been warned.
So what about the story? Forget it. There isn’t one and there isn’t any deep philosophising beyond trying to work out what Rambo is thinking under that intractable gaze of his. The entire IMDB entry says:
In Thailand, John Rambo joins a group of mercenaries to venture into war-torn Burma, and rescue a group of Christian aid workers who were kidnapped by the ruthless local infantry unit. IMDB
This is not a remake of Rambo I, this is a remake of Rambo II. So recommending it depends on that distinction. If you loved Rambo I’s soul, its performances by Richard Crenna, David Caruso and especially Brian Dennehy and found the action was a backdrop to that, then this is not the Rambo for you. However, if your memories of Rambo are of him shooting that bow, blowing shit up and kicking Steven Berkoff in the nadgers then this is your Rambo all right. With a cherry on top. After this I wonder what will be next. Cobra could be remade as new. Rumours also exist of a Rambo V, which would be strange to say the least. I personally am loving these recent 80’s nostalgia movies, like Rocky and now Rambo, they remind me of watching Rambo as a kid on Sundays eating my Sunday dinner and yelling encouragement as he dished out punishment. They played to your sense of right and wrong and never asked you to question that. Its kind of liberating to see movies like that again. I kind of felt a little like Anton Ego in Ratatouille, when he takes the first bite of the dish the rat has prepared for him. It flashes him back to his childhood, as did this film for me, and that is always a good thing to cherish.
So, I personally loved it, I feel that the look was amazing and crisp as hell. I don’t mind gore, nor do I mind a short story:
I give it an 8 out of 10.