Rambo (2008) Review

Sylvester Stallone as "John Rambo" while shooting in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo by Karen Ballard

Sylvester Stallone as “John Rambo” while shooting in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo by Karen Ballard

Sylvester Stallone’s blood-soaked 2008 Rambo reboot is an ultra-violent, nearly pornographic action flick that has very little else on its mind other than showing what happens when human beings are ripped apart by an assortment of small, medium, large, and extra-large fire arms, and in one particular instance, a rather famous knife. Seriously. There is an obscene amount of combat violence in this movie, all of it rather stunning to be hold, and if it becomes sort of computer-gamey because of all of the CGI blood-hits (what happened to good old fashioned squibs?), it’s no less rip-roaring and absurdly entertaining. The story that Stallone presents makes it easy to enjoy the carnage, as the baddies are beyond grotesque, rooted in some form of reality, and truly deserve what’s coming to them. The narrative hinges on Rambo being hired by a church pastor in an effort to save innocent missionaries who have been taken hostage by corrupt Burmese military units. And of course, there’s only one man who can save the day, and he’s more than ready for action.

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You must give Stallone credit where credit is due – he refuses to give up as an actor and director and seems to be having genuine fun every time you see him up on screen. The plot of Rambo might be threadbare, but the action scenes are ridiculously gory and beyond over the top, at times begging to be immediately replayed as some of the individual moments of bloodletting are jaw-dropping. As captured by cinematographer Glen MacPherson, the film has a rough and tumble visual aesthetic, with lots of shutter retention and shaky-cam, which gives it a visual immediacy to match the insanity of the action scenes, which allows it to stand apart from the mostly PG-13 competition. People are SHREDDED in this pissed-off and hot-blooded actioner, with Stallone taking out his creative (personal?) aggressions on an enemy that more than deserves what’s coming. Whenever this one pops up on the HD movie channels, I can’t help but stop for a moment and check it out, as this is a movie that talks the talk and walks the walk.

Review by Nick Clement

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