Movie Review: “Rambo” (2008)

It’s been a long time since my last movie review. That’s probably because I don’t really go to the theatres that much or rent movies. Anyways, here is one of the rare occasions that I actually watched a (reasonably) new movie, which is the new Rambo film, starring Sylvester Stallone (can’t really be anybody else). So read on if you want to know what I think about this film.

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After almost a twenty year hiatus, Rambo is back. As with the well received Rocky Balboa in 2006, the new Rambo movie is the latest Sylvester Stallone effort to bring back the names that made him a star. The film sees Stallone reprise his role as Vietnam War veteran John Rambo. He also directed and co-wrote the film. Unlike Rocky Balboa, Rambo doesn’t quite live up to its namesake and is more or less a film filled with nothing other than mindless action.

The story starts off showing our hero John Rambo (Stallone) making a living as a snake-catcher and boat operator in Thailand near the Burmese border. A group of missionaries, led by Michael Burnett (Paul Schulze) and Sarah Miller (Julie Benz), approaches Rambo to take them to a rebel-supported village in Burma for a humanitarian mission. Rambo initially refuses but eventually agrees to the request, and takes the missionaries to their destination. All goes well until the village is attacked by the ruthless Burmese army, who captures some of the missionaries and slaughters everyone else in the village. It is now up to Rambo and a group of mercenaries to go into the Burmese military base and rescue the imprisoned missionaries.

One of the few good things about Rambo is that the character John Rambo actually looks to be in pretty good shape and of the correct age. He might be a little older and more tired of the world, but thanks to clever use of camera angles and loose clothing, Stallone’s character still looks fit and up to the task of gunning down legions of enemy soldiers in order to save the day. Unfortunately that’s one of the few good things that stand out in this film.

The biggest downside of the new Rambo movie is the lack of a decent plot. The story is overly simplistic, very predictable, and more or less just an excuse for Rambo to open fire and rack up a huge number of kills (the body-count gets pretty high in this movie). There also isn’t much in terms of character development unlike some of the previous iterations of the series. John Rambo at the start of the film is more or less the same John Rambo at the end of the film, but I suppose the character is at the point where nothing really can be changed about him. The action in Rambo is decent and nicely paced, but there is nothing special about it and the climax sequence is a bit too long and monotonous. The film’s shortcomings added together mean that Rambo is nothing more than an average action flick, albeit one with a very high body-count.

So overall, the new Rambo movie isn’t going to win any awards any time soon. If you are a fan of the previous Rambo films or old-school American action movies, then Rambo is worth a look, for nostalgia if nothing else. Otherwise it is just an average action movie that provides nothing more than 90 minutes of mindless entertainment. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

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