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Awesome: 32.32%
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7 reviews, 57 user ratings

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by Eugene Novikov

"A worthy, if uneven, last adventure"
3 stars

Sylvester Stallone's 11th hour attempts to resurrect his biggest money-maker franchises -- first Rocky Balboa, now RAMBO -- are not, it is now clear, cynical attempts to cash in on his brand name and legacy. The best part of watching Rambo is arriving at the realization that he is actually rescuing the characters he loves from the realm of camp and kitsch. With these new films, both of which he wrote and directed, he is trying to reverse the damage he did to Rocky and John Rambo with the terrible 1980's sequels to the iconic original films. It's a form of atonement, and it's really quite touching.

Rambo, unlike Rocky Balboa, does feel a bit insubstantial; a little like a third sequel. You'd never know from the tone, which is somber and humorless -- the movie is dead serious about what it thinks is its pitch-black view of human nature -- but the flimsy plot, straining to turn a frivolous little rescue mission into an iconic hero's journey, makes the film feel like a tempest in a teapot. Stallone clearly wants Rambo's history to do a lot of the work here, judging by the several tortured flashbacks to days when the star was not a senior citizen. It's a smart approach, and the tired, taciturn hero does lend the proceedings a lot of weight. But Rambo's last adventure can't help but feel abbreviated, all the violence (and boy is there violence) seeming out of place in a film that is ultimately neither all that serious (though it tries to be) or vast in scope. There is a dissonance between Stallone's newfound character focus and the bad-ass First Blood-style actioner he is nonetheless harkening to.

When Stallone isn't lingering on the massacring of Burmese villagers and children being speared by ruthless militiamen, he does manage to lend the film a dignified, almost stately air. Rambo is a man of few words, but he is not a monosyllabic meathead; when he talks, what he says seems calculated and spare, the words of a man who has seen it all and doesn't need to prove anything to anyone. Stallone grants Rambo the rare cinematic privilege of silence, too, and during these stretches he looks like he is carrying the world on his shoulders. You can see the old John Rambo in the sad, jaded eyes of this one.

Of course, the movie eventually explodes into an orgy of violence. When this takes the form of Rambo unleashing a world of hurt on Burmese baddies, it approaches the euphoric pinnacles of the franchise and other exemplars of the 80's one-man-against-the-world action genre -- moral ambiguity is tossed out the window and a hero dispenses simple, brutal justice. When the violence is unleashed on defenseless innocents, it's more problematic; Stallone is making an attempt to shed light on real-life atrocities going on in the world, but whether he earns the right to depict them so graphically in this context is an open question.

There's a semblance of a thesis: we can't leave the hellholes of the world to the missionaries and do-gooders; they aren't equipped to make them any better. ("Are you bringing in any guns?" "Of course not." "Then you aren't changing anything.") I'm not sure that Rambo has any better ideas over and above sending in its title character; I suppose one could read the film as advocating military intervention, but Stallone never really makes that case. The film's bottom line is that Rambo will kick all ass, which is fine, except that the slaughters of the helpless it depicts wind up leaving a bad taste.

Rambo is at its best when it considers the shell of a man its hero has become; the ways that war and violence have become a part of his being, and what that has done to him. Stallone is patient with Rambo, and sympathetic. It's a thoughtful and worthy send-off.

(Reprinted from Filmblather.com)

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16841&reviewer=419
originally posted: 01/25/08 02:03:03
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User Comments

9/21/17 morris campbell rambo movies are macho fantasy bullshit 1 stars
7/06/15 D. the R. Good action flick - don't read too much into it, but we'll miss ya, John! 4 stars
1/21/12 Kyle Excellent Gorefest 5 stars
3/21/11 Richard79 Sly empties his first round into peurile teen trash like Die Hard 4.0 5 stars
3/10/11 sunny day Beats out Rocky Balboa, because this isn't a stupid retread of its own first installment. 4 stars
8/15/10 bored mom Look on the bright side. He's finally honest about killing bad guys for himself here. 4 stars
8/14/10 R.W. Welch Standard rescue mission stuff for the most part, but well enough done. 3 stars
8/10/10 Chad Dillon Cooper A Hollywood cupcake for the masses. 1 stars
5/15/10 Tim The best of the Rambo films - thrilling yet relevant and philosophical, despite flaws. 4 stars
8/24/09 Jack Sommersby Nothing great, but it undeniably delivers the goods. Stallone, again, is superb. 3 stars
5/30/09 Stevo A Film to make you angry. In many ways. 4 stars
4/28/09 Dr.Lao Wooden, over the hill steroid addict says "pacifism is stupid!" 2 stars
3/08/09 alice sucks No woman gets raped in Rambo, you idiot! 5 stars
10/07/08 Shaun Wallner Intense Action!! 5 stars
7/30/08 Alice Terrible!Guess you have to be a male to enjoy watching women getting raped.CRAP! 1 stars
6/30/08 mike Limbs being blown off and other brutality non stop. Good stuff 4 stars
4/25/08 mr.mike Agree with Brandy - it was....OK 3 stars
4/09/08 Brandy Didn't really care for it that much. 3 stars
3/26/08 Tim Surprisingly good, it's also relevant. Holds together pretty well. A rousing film. 4 stars
3/22/08 shaun 0065 its great to see him back again too long out great 5 stars
3/16/08 Dinesh Typical Rambo Movie with unwanted blood stream , but worth watching it 4 stars
3/04/08 matthew Short as hell, 76 minutes + credits, but damn did it entertain 4 stars
3/03/08 vaj master this is the greatest cinematic epxperience evar 5 stars
3/02/08 ladavies This was the first Rambo movie I've seen, loved it. Will probably see another. 4 stars
3/02/08 ben dover wow fucking amazing violence 5 stars
3/01/08 Theresa Wagner great action movie, you gotta love stallone 4 stars
2/21/08 Anthony Feor Poinless sequel that Stallone somehow pulls off 3 stars
2/14/08 Kai Lunkeit Genius action movie featuring tons of stunning action set pieces!!! 5 stars
2/04/08 FILM REVIEWER EXCELLENT action film 5 stars
2/04/08 a guy Don't know what movies other critics saw, this was a thrill to see. 5 stars
2/02/08 DrCruel Absolutely brilliant. Sly is a genius. 5 stars
2/01/08 Michael S Milne Sly got w/SOF to decide to set it in Burma- surpasses all Rambo flicks but 1st Blood. 5 stars
2/01/08 eric Stallone does it again,awesome movie,nice ending just like Rocky Balboa. 5 stars
1/31/08 Dan I dare the reviewer of this film to try and re-invent the wheel. See if you can do better. 5 stars
1/31/08 Bob Dog Laura Kyle's Rambo review casts doubt on the entire eFilmCritic site 2 stars
1/31/08 Nitin Excellent comeback!! 5 stars
1/30/08 rob nothing special 3 stars
1/30/08 Lloyd I loved it! It was more than just an action movie. Rambo walks proudly into the sunset! 5 stars
1/29/08 Ming Typical Rambo movie, It delives all the actions and excitments. I love it 4 stars
1/29/08 Ray Truly Awsome! Truly! Stallone is my hero. He does what he does and I love it. 5 stars
1/28/08 Darkknight21c This is how action movies should be done. Look and learn Hollywood 5 stars
1/28/08 Schreck Wow! Absolutely one of the best, most awesome movies I have seen in a long time! 5 stars
1/28/08 Mitch Instead of just plain Rambo this should have been called "Rambo: Bloodshed and Brutality 4" 5 stars
1/28/08 Specialist4hire I haven't felt exhilirated in a movie for a long time. Rambo delivers!!! 5 stars
1/27/08 Michael Galazzo I was skeptical going in, but RAMBO delivers; its a 93 minute adrenaline rush!!! 5 stars
1/27/08 Jay I had little expectations that this film would do the previous films justice. I was wrong. 5 stars
1/27/08 Bnorm That shit was insane...50 cal at point blank will ruin anyone's day especailly those clowns 5 stars
1/27/08 Mick Yes, the bad guys in this are scum in real life(not sterotypes) 5 stars
1/27/08 Reptilia Ramob will WTFPWN you! 5 stars
1/27/08 Mike Absolutely the best Rambo movie ever! 5 stars
1/26/08 the hangman loved it,the best movie of the year so far,truly satisfying 5 stars
1/26/08 Brian Mckay Much to my surprise - BEST RAMBO EVER. More bloody and satisfying than the last 3 combined! 5 stars
1/26/08 Jeffrey Gardner This is going to end up being a great advertisement for supplemental testosterone 4 stars
1/26/08 Shawn An incredible action film. Goriest movie quite possibly ever. 5 stars
1/25/08 Roland Gagne Best action sequence I've ever seen in any movie. Unbelievable! 5 stars
1/25/08 action movie fan one of the greatest action movies ever! RAMBO RULES 5 stars
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  25-Jan-2008 (R)
  DVD: 27-May-2008



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