Ken's Review: Rambo - A Final Farewell to an Old Friend
by Ken Evans
January 25, 2008
Is there anything that you thought would never be continued, even though you desperately wanted it to? When it comes to television shows and movies there are a few series that I always wanted to see carried out a bit more. Shows like Arrested Development and Firefly were shut down prematurely. However, when it comes to movies the last few years have been like a dream come true. All the series that I wanted to see continued either have been or are in the process of being made. Rocky Balboa and Live Free of Die Hard were both exceptional and it was great to see those characters brought back to life. Wednesday night another character was brought back to life and another one of my dreams was realized. John Rambo has been reborn and is as tough and insane as I remember.
Rambo takes us to the border of Burma where the longest civil war in the world is underway. A group of missionaries are looking to travel up river into Burma where there is a small village in need of medicine. It just so happens that John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) lives right outside the border and owns a boat. Although reluctant at first Rambo gives in and agrees to take them. They run into a bit of resistance but eventually they make it to the drop off point and Rambo heads back home. Within a few days the village the missionaries are at is attacked and they are taken prisoner. The pastor of their church hires Rambo and some mercenaries to go in and rescue the captives. All goes well until the Burmese military realize they are missing.
Nothing could have stopped me from seeing Rambo. He is the prime example of the action star I grew up with. In my eyes you can't do much better than First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part II. A Vietnam Vet Green Beret who knows only two things, war and killing. In First Blood we see a man that had become such an instrument of war that he could no longer function in society. This is my favorite of the Rambo films because we get to see Rambo using all his survival skills and holding back his wrath just enough that he doesn't actually kill anyone. Rambo is much different than First Blood and reminds me much more of First Blood Part II instead.
In Rambo he brings back the mental state he had in First Blood while exhibiting the ferociousness from First Blood Part II. If he has learned anything from his life it's that the only thing that brings change in a place like Burma, Vietnam or Afghanistan is war. That is exactly what we get, a one man war between Rambo and the Burmese military. So extreme is the death that it is probably the most violent movie that I have ever seen. But when it comes to Rambo I expected nothing less. This is exactly the finale for the series that I always wanted. We needed to see John Rambo getting one last chance to exhibit his skills in war before saying goodbye to his fans.
Be warned that the violence is completely out of control, but not unrealistic. The deaths of the Burmese go from getting limbs chopped off to exploding. They didn't take any measures to try and hide any of the detail either. You get to see all the blood and limbs flying through the air. Along with the grenades and machete we get to see a sniper with a .50 caliber sniper rifle taking the top of people's heads off. They show you what a grenade will do to a human body. We finally get the action exactly as it would be. Even the beginning of the movie starts off with real footage of what Burmese soldiers do to the inhabitants there. I'll be honest that after seeing how they treat the Burmese citizens it's hard not to cheer when Rambo goes to town on the military.
Rambo gave the feeling that Stallone watched a show about the Burmese civil war and it pissed him off. So much so that this film is how he takes out his anger. Send Rambo into Burma to clean it up. I can understand that feeling and this film portrays it perfectly. I only wonder why he didn't send Rambo into Iraq to take out the terrorists.
I have to applaud Sylvester Stallone for giving us closure to his iconic characters. To be honest, Rocky V and Rambo III just didn't cut it. Even beyond that, the fact that Stallone was able to play these roles again at his age is amazing. As much as you might not want to see a 61 year old man boxing and running around a jungle killing, he does an exceptional job. I can't imagine how horrible it would be for the studio to try and resurrect these characters with out Stallone in the roles.
If you are a Rambo fan like me then this is a must see. If you love action films this will make you happy and take you back to the original action flicks that are, in my opinion, still the best. However, if you didn't like the previous Rambo movies then stay away. You will hate Rambo immensely. This is just a closure to the series and a look back to the way action films used to be made. I loved it but definitely not everyone will. Check it out if you're already a fan, otherwise be warned.