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Overall Rating

Awesome: 32.32%
Worth A Look43.43%
Average: 12.12%
Pretty Bad: 9.09%
Total Crap: 3.03%

7 reviews, 57 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"He can make movies that would make a billy goat puke!"
4 stars

For years, if a director was trying to get an R rating from the MPAA instead of the box-office-death NC-17, he or she was not allowed to cite precedent (i.e., “Hey, that movie showed a severed head rolling down three flights of stairs — why can’t mine?”). But now that filmmakers can cite precedent, their go-to movie will likely be Sylvester Stallone’s "Rambo," possibly the most violent movie ever to get an R rating and a wide release in America.

All horror directors should now genuflect towards Stallone for enabling them to indulge in stabbings, shootings, body parts spinning through the air, intestines spilling out, children bayoneted, people’s heads skewered with arrows, bullets literally blowing people in half, and people reduced to red chunky bits dripping down the shield of a mounted machine gun. Not necessarily in that order.

Stallone, of course, will tell you that the violence in Rambo — much of which is perpetrated by the film’s bad guys, vicious Burmese soldiers, and is therefore not intended as gory entertainment — is meant to shed light on the real-life genocide presided over by Burma’s military junta. But really, in terms of how the movie works, the Burmese army are just the baddest bad guys Stallone could find. They make good, guilt-free target practice. Card-carrying liberals have nodded grudging approval to Stallone and Rambo: The movie delivers. As a piece of crude, ejaculatory guerrilla pulp, the movie is at the head of its class (or lack thereof). It takes the psychopathology of vengeful carnage about as far as it can go. Just as Rocky Balboa was Stallone’s back-to-basics gift to Rocky fans, Rambo is a bloody valentine to devotees of the glumly apolitical Vietnam vet who has a talent for ushering dozens of his enemies into the next life.

Rambo is busy catching snakes in Thailand when he’s tapped to bring a group of American missionaries into Burma. At first he declines, but Julie Benz is among them, and since Rambo is secretly a Joss Whedon fanboy, he agrees. Almost as soon as his boat drops them off, the missionaries are captured by Burmese soldiers. Julie Benz is isolated and saved for sexual satisfaction by one soldier who particularly enjoyed her work on Angel. Rambo hears of this and leaps into action, accompanied by several mercenaries led by the lead singer of Right Said Fred. People die. Lots of people die. 3.04 people per minute, according to a chart making the internet rounds, which means Rambo almost achieves action-movie Pi. Or something.

We’ve discussed how Rambo is as a Rambo movie — in its way, it’s as genuine and heartfelt a throwback as Rocky Balboa was. How is it as a movie in general? As a director, Stallone does interesting things; his recent efforts are rather dour and fatalistic, but with a glimmer of hope, building to the climax the fans came to see, and ending on a note of renewal. Rambo certainly has more going on between the lines than, say, Live Free or Die Hard. Stallone takes these two mythological characters at opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum — the simple-minded, good-hearted Rocky and the embittered, cynical Rambo — and walks them through fables in which the hero regains his relevance by being true to himself.

In style, though, Rambo is pretty much a slasher flick. You want to see Rocky win, and you want to see Rambo kill, just like Michael Myers and Jason. Stallone, to his credit, gives Rambo an extra helping of grumpiness — he doesn’t want to kill again, he’s perfectly happy spearing fish in Thailand and staying out of everyone’s business. Circumstance forces his brutal hand — that, and Stallone’s desire to follow up one comeback with another. (Rambo barely lost first place to Meet the Spartans on opening weekend — which is still a step up from Rocky Balboa’s #3 debut.)

In the end, I fall back on one of my filmgoing mantras, adapted loosely from Oscar Wilde: A movie like this can be well done or badly done. "Rambo" is well done, though it looks more like very rare steak.

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originally posted: 01/28/08 08:59:58
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell rambo movies are macho fantasy bullshit 1 stars
7/07/15 D. the R. Good action flick - don't read too much into it, but we'll miss ya, John! 4 stars
1/22/12 Kyle Excellent Gorefest 5 stars
3/22/11 Richard79 Sly empties his first round into peurile teen trash like Die Hard 4.0 5 stars
3/11/11 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
8/15/10 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
8/25/09 Jack Sommersby Nothing great, but it undeniably delivers the goods. Stallone, again, is superb. 3 stars
5/31/09 Stevo A Film to make you angry. In many ways. 4 stars
4/29/09 Dr.Lao Wooden, over the hill steroid addict says "pacifism is stupid!" 2 stars
3/09/09 alice sucks No woman gets raped in Rambo, you idiot! 5 stars
10/08/08 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
7/01/08 mike Limbs being blown off and other brutality non stop. Good stuff 4 stars
4/26/08 mr.mike Agree with Brandy - it was....OK 3 stars
4/10/08 Brandy Didn't really care for it that much. 3 stars
3/27/08 Tim Surprisingly good, it's also relevant. Holds together pretty well. A rousing film. 4 stars
3/23/08 shaun 0065 its great to see him back again too long out great 5 stars
3/17/08 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
3/04/08 vaj master this is the greatest cinematic epxperience evar 5 stars
3/03/08 ladavies This was the first Rambo movie I've seen, loved it. Will probably see another. 4 stars
3/03/08 ben dover wow fucking amazing violence 5 stars
3/02/08 Theresa Wagner great action movie, you gotta love stallone 4 stars
2/22/08 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
2/05/08 FILM REVIEWER EXCELLENT action film 5 stars
2/05/08 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
2/02/08 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
2/01/08 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
1/31/08 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
1/30/08 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
1/29/08 Darkknight21c This is how action movies should be done. Look and learn Hollywood 5 stars
1/29/08 Schreck Wow! Absolutely one of the best, most awesome movies I have seen in a long time! 5 stars
1/29/08 Mitch Instead of just plain Rambo this should have been called "Rambo: Bloodshed and Brutality 4" 5 stars
1/29/08 Specialist4hire I haven't felt exhilirated in a movie for a long time. Rambo delivers!!! 5 stars
1/28/08 Michael Galazzo I was skeptical going in, but RAMBO delivers; its a 93 minute adrenaline rush!!! 5 stars
1/28/08 Jay I had little expectations that this film would do the previous films justice. I was wrong. 5 stars
1/28/08 Bnorm That shit was insane...50 cal at point blank will ruin anyone's day especailly those clowns 5 stars
1/28/08 Mick Yes, the bad guys in this are scum in real life(not sterotypes) 5 stars
1/28/08 Reptilia Ramob will WTFPWN you! 5 stars
1/27/08 Mike Absolutely the best Rambo movie ever! 5 stars
1/27/08 the hangman loved it,the best movie of the year so far,truly satisfying 5 stars
1/27/08 Brian Mckay Much to my surprise - BEST RAMBO EVER. More bloody and satisfying than the last 3 combined! 5 stars
1/27/08 Jeffrey Gardner This is going to end up being a great advertisement for supplemental testosterone 4 stars
1/27/08 Shawn An incredible action film. Goriest movie quite possibly ever. 5 stars
1/26/08 Roland Gagne Best action sequence I've ever seen in any movie. Unbelievable! 5 stars
1/26/08 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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