Movie Review for Rambo (2008)

Click Poster to Purchase

Review #606 of 365
Movie Review of Rambo (2008) [R] 93 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $6.00
Where Viewed: Metropolitan Metrolux 14, Loveland, CO
When Seen: 17 January 2008
Time: 4:45 pm
DVD Release Date: 27 May 2008 (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official WebsiteFilm's Trailer

Soundtrack: Download now from Brian Tyler - Rambo (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - or - order the CD below

Directed by: Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa)
Screenplay by: Art Monterastelli (Buried Alive) • Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa) based on character by David Morrell

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa) • Julie Benz ("Dexter") • Matthew Marsden (Resident Evil: Extinction) • Graham McTavish ("Cane") • Reynaldo Gallegos (Spider-Man 3) • Jake La Botz (One Night with You) • Tim Kang ("The Unit") • Maung Maung Khin (debut) • Paul Schulze (Zodiac) • Cameron Pearson (Cosmic Coffee ) • Thomas Peterson (debut) • Tony Skarberg (debut) • James With (Robo Warriors)

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
Click to see photos from the Premiere of Rambo
Click to read the spoiler points for Rambo
When rumors regarding another Rocky film which turned out to beRocky Balboa began circulating, almost instantly rumors for a fourth Rambo popped up as well. Though probably most people doubted the latter rumor until the mysterious Rambo poster began appearing in theaters. Almost exactly a year apart in release, Rocky Balboa turned out to be the better of the two films, and this installment of Rambo ranks among the worst films of Sylvester Stallone's career. Why was another Rambo necessary? And why this particular idea—a group of missionaries convince John Rambo to take them upriver from Thailand to Burma aka Myanmar, a country sandwiched between India and China at its north and India and Thailand at its south, where they hope to deliver medical supplies and aid to the downtrodden people presently being slaughtered by a malevolent military colonel and defended loosely by Kaaren Rebels? The bottom line answers to both questions are probably a realistic…Why not or no reason just because it's about time.

Fans of films that really have no point except that a heroic action figure with a tragic past and a keen awareness that the one thing he's truly good at is killing manages to take on entire armies nearly single-handedly and come out on top with wicked (meant in the Boston usage) violence and maelstroms of mayhem should find this film to be their new touchstone. Those who were somehow hoping that the present state of world affairs and a wiser more seasoned Stallone with total creative control over this Rambo film as writer, director, and Rambo may have wished for something mind-blowingly miraculous—something that would literally change their lives and restore order in the universe as if Stallone would be able to tap into an ethereal source of truth and deliver a film that would not disappoint Rambo fans but might also illuminate darkness along the way. Alas, the latter simply did not occur in this Rambo (aka by some as Rambo IV). This is more of a step back, perhaps, before maybe a two steps forward might be made. Unfortunately, the closest Stallone comes to something meaningful in the film other than the basics of fighting for the weak and protecting them from slaughter is one line, "It's better to die for something than live for nothing." Great line. Beyond that, there are mostly stock characters, an mysterious chemistry between Rambo and the one female member of the missionary group who, Sarah (Julie Benz) who seems to tug at Rambo's heart—she's the one who actually convinces him to risk the journey which he knows to be more dangerous than the missionary's leader, Michael Burnett (Paul Schulze) seems to view it. Burnett sees Rambo as a source of transportation. He's unaware, apparently, of Rambo's history. A skirmish with Burmese pirates that nearly costs them all their lives and provides the thin plot's first hole, awakens Rambo's skills as well as Burnett's understanding of their situation. Shortly thereafter, he drops them off with a guide and a member of the rebel army. Along the way to the village, the missionaries get a look at the brutality of the colonel when groups of villagers are sent running through rice fields filled with land mines. The army isn't satisfied just to shoot them, they've got to rouse them into games of running for their lives where they cannot win due to a pre-determined destiny of death by land mine or, if that fails, getting shot on the other side of what they might have thought was freedom. When they arrive in the village, they begin their mission, only to be quickly embroiled in the local conflict and at the wrong end of mortar fire. Everyone in the group who doesn't end up being killed by the attack, ends up in a prison camp where accepting sexual abuse and physical abuse as the order of the day will be the essential ingredient in the recipe for staying alive. When the missionaries fail to return home, the church pastor hires a small team of mercenaries and convinces John Rambo to take them on a mission to find his people.

While parts of the film barely keep one awake—long, slow, windy boat trips up the river to Burma--the culminating battle sequence is so bloody and violent there's no way to sleep through it but an accompanying feeling one might prefer to keeps one's eyes closed just the same. There's really only one character in the film, and that's Rambo. Everyone else is a wooden stock archetype. It really is Rambo against the world. Mr. Stallone brings his usual levels of pebbles-in-the-mouth guttural utterances to Rambo which is just fine as he's got about 15 lines of dialogue in the film. He mostly acts with a "1000-yard stare". But, this is Rambo. This is the former Green Beret trained to make a killing in armed conflict.

non-stop, pure bloody action…wicked violence and maelstroms of mayhem…impacting and visceral…
The return trip gives him his motivation to keep the character moving—rescue Sarah. The final battle, which comes too soon and without much precursory build-up, is non-stop, pure bloody action. Unfortunately, and it's hard to see how fans of the Rambo franchise could disagree, there needed to be a bit more build up and more intermediate battles leading up to this. Moreover, while Rambo exhibits a few clever moves in the strategy of him and his mercenaries in a battle with hundreds, it would be expected that he would have managed a few more and greater, on-the-spot improvisation. He spends a lot of time protected nicely in an armor shielded turret mounted gun. Great credit has to be given to the stunt people and special effects people who worked on this film. The levels of realism to the violence and death was impacting and visceral—probably this film should have been rated NC-17. There's absolutely no reason a kid under 17 ever needs to see this film. It's bound to give many a grown man nightmares, let alone a 13-year old who complains he'll be the only one in his class who hasn't seen it. Here would have been a case where the ratings board could have given all those parents and guardians a built-in excuse to just say no.

Probably no one goes to a Rambo film expecting it to be more than this one was except those who were hoping, maybe, this time they might come away with something more than a sense of good winning out over bad and that Rambo can still kick some rear. Some may have been wishing that John Rambo finally might be ready to move on with his life. The aged action hero and war veteran deserved that much.

Alternate Posters
Click to Purchase

Send This Review To a Friend

Related Products from
Other Projects Featuring Rambo (2008)
Cast Members
Sylvester StalloneJulie BenzMatthew Marsden
Graham McTavishReynaldo GallegosJake La Botz
Tim KangMaung Maung KhinPaul Schulze
Cameron PearsonTony Skarberg
Sylvester Stallone
Art MonterastelliSylvester Stallone
CD Soundtrack



Unbox Downloads

Computer Games

Review-lite Rambo (2008) [max of 150 words]
Did Rambo ever say, "I'll be back!"? Well, regardless, he's back, this time under total control of Sylvester Stallone as writer, director, and Rambo reborn. The aging action hero is convinced by missionaries to take them to Burma to assist in war relief. Once safely there, they get kidnapped and their pastor hires Rambo to lead a gang of mercenaries to their rescue. Violence and maelstrom mayhem ensue with Rambo leading the charge. Not for the weak of stomach or victims of nightmares, this film takes no hostages. While some fans of the character and the actor may have hoped that this would be Rambo's most triumphant victory and one where he finally grows able to live a meaningful life, no such luck here. This is just pure basal Rambo carnage. Either you like that or you don't.

Send This Review To a Friend

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was a Rambo movie fan and convinced my brother to see this film with me even though he was never a fan of the Rambo series. However, this is not a film that I think anyone should see. This film was made only because Stallone has way too much money. I wanted to leave after the first horrific battle 10 minutes in. This was the bloodiest most gore filled film I have ever seen. To make matters worse, at 39 years old it gave me nightmares and can not sleep, even awake all I can see is the exploding human bodies flying in the air. It's all I can see. I imagine that is how actual soldiers feel when they are involved in battle. It gives me a new respect for them, and a heavy heart. In the end I have to say there is no reason to EVER see this "film".