Sunday, January 27, 2008


Film: Rambo (2008)
Dir: Sylvester Stallone
Rating: **** out of 5 stars

Rambo is not destined for Oscar gold or critical praise, but that won't stop it from being one of my favorite movies of this year. It is like a textbook example on how to make one fantastic fucking action movie. I'd call it a guilty pleasure, except that I feel no sense of guilt for loving it. It is not for everybody, but for a gore whore like me, this is pure, unfiltered awesome.

John Rambo is living a quiet life in the Burma jungle, wrangling cobras for a living (a job for a true badass). A group of missionaries asks him to escort them into a warzone so they can help the villagers, who are being marauded by an oppressive government militia. At first he refuses to get involved, for their own safety, but eventually he relucantly agrees. So of course the stupid missionaries get kidnapped by cruel Burmese soldiers, and it's up to Rambo to rescue them. Just to make things even more badass, he gets help from a team of highly-trained mercenaries.

Rambo includes actual footage of war-ravaged villages, as Stallone was clearly trying to shock his audience with real world horror. Even the staged acts of violence in the film are pretty horrifying. So the film evokes that same feeling you get watching Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List, except Rambo gives us the ending we only wish would happen in real life - a badass motherfucker showing up and completely wrecking the bad guys. The villains in this are SO evil that it makes the revenge that much sweeter. Perhaps the moral relevance is lost in all the gratuitous kills, but it is so damn satisfying on a visceral level.

There are slow parts where the story dominates, but they are always punctuated with some great moment of Rambo ripping someone's throat out or obliterating someone with a 50-cal machine gun. The last ten minutes or so are just about the most fun I've had watching a movie in some time. It is an absolute massacre of bad guys in so many colorful ways. I was very impressed with the visual FX - with the exception of one or two bad CGI shots, the gore is phenomenol. Very brutal and very realistic.

I'm sure I sound like a complete sicko for enjoying the carnage so much, but put this movie on in a room full of people and watch the wild reactions it will elicit. The violence is so, so extreme and so, so satisying because the bad guys are absolute assholes. I've seen enough depressing films about the victims of genocide - it's about damn time we saw the murdering dickheads getting their asses handed to them. And who better to do it than Rambo?


DJ said...

awesome glowing review, of a balls to the wall gore fest.

Sean D said...

Wow, you really like violence! haha

You liked the movie a lot more than I did, but I did think it was pretty good too. It was a breath of fresh with today's action films mostly being watered down crap or pointless shit blowing up. It was a great return to the action genre that died in the mid-90's.

It's also good to see Stallone still has the drive and industry pull to make movies like this. I'm completely on board for The Expendables and the next Rambo.