|The noisy return of John Rambo –after two decades
By Brown Burnett --
Sylvester Stallone continues to be the consummate underdog, even now, in his early 60s.
His 2006 Rocky Balboa was the best movie I saw that year –thoughtful, well-directed and well-written (by Stallone of course) and, to be honest, I was stunned by how good it was.
See? I STILL underestimate Stallone after all these years.
So now Sly has dusted off the less-interesting and dull-witted of his alter-egos for another run at the box office, John Rambo. The new Rambo is exactly what I thought it would be - simple-minded, action-packed fun with Rambo saying very little and spraying blood all over the jungle.
And man, does the blood flow in this one. The other two Rambo movies had one absurd action scene after another (I really don’t count the first one, First Blood, as a ‘Rambo’ movie because it actually had a plot and a story). But the last Rambo flick was 20 years ago and now, thanks to CGI technology, Sly can spray teeth, hair, eyes, organs and gallons of blood much more realistically than in those mid-‘80s violence fiestas.
This latest one opens with quiet, seemingly passive, 50ish Rambo (Sly always plays his characters 10 years younger than his real age), living in Thailand, catching snakes for a living and content to mumble and trudge through the Asian heat. And, in a convention straight from the old Tarzan movies, is called upon to guide some naďve, but well-meaning, missionaries into really nasty and evil Burma.
Of course we learn that the missionaries get into trouble and Rambo once again heads back to Burma. But this time he’s guiding the proverbial, multi-ethnic, multi-national group of nasty, but ‘good-guy,’ mercenaries in a rescue attempt. He tries to resist temptation, but old Rambo once again gives in to bloodlust, killing about half the population of Southeast Asia in grand style, high-tech weapons blazing and, of course, he still has his bow and arrow. Rambo also gives us the greatest movie explosion I’ve ever seen. In fact, I stood up out of my chair and said, “WHOOOAAA !!!” before I realized I had done it. Stallone directed this 100-minute bloodbath so the movie is filled with loud, REALLY loud explosions.
If you go see this movie, please don’t be a spoilsport like this jerk that sat behind me bitching and whining the whole time about how simple-minded, gory and silly it was. OF COURSE IT’S SIMPLE-MINDED, GORY AND SILLY! What would you expect? King Lear? And God bless him, Stallone even teases us at the end with the possibility of yet another Rambo sequel.
And judging from box office figures from Rocky Balboa and Rambo, it seems that Stallone – Rocky, Rambo - still has a few punches left.
I give Rambo a ‘C+’ and that’s with a smile because it was goofy fun and that was a really good explosion.