Reviews

Rambo

2

Two featurettes: one on the Burmese-Karen civil war, the other on guns and knives… Guess which lasts longer? Despite the moral outrage (opening newsreel atrocities), Sly’s noble assertions (“If we can’t be great, let’s be truthful”) and some sensible-looking talking heads insisting the film has raised awareness, no one’s fooling anyone. Rambo – aka First Blood Part IV – is less call-to-action movie than explosive nostalgia trip, paying (curled) lip service to Asian genocide while exalting the iconic potency of its long-in-the-tooth hero/star. Can he still hack it? Maim it, flay it, slay it?

Wargasm addicts will rejoice that Stallone hasn’t done a Die Soft 4.0. Act I sees the ex-Cold Warrior sulking in relative peace, but soon the beast is out of the basement. The mission? To rescue some mewling missionaries captured by Burmese army-sadists. The result? Hardcore cheap-kick combat-porn. Throats are ripped open (one-handedly!), a bomb levels half the jungle... before the movie completely loses its mind in a blood-crazed free-for-all. Without empathy or insight, it’s purely cartoon carnage. Even Sly can’t resist a chuckle over some flying limbs in his earnest, apologist director’s commentary (“over-emphasising the violence wasn’t a ploy to make it more sensational...”). Elsewhere, he raises eyebrows paralleling his ‘indie’ project with late-’60s New Hollywood… Truth is, Rambo’s the real Grindhouse, closer to the spirit of exploitation than QT and RR’s fond feast of movie-love. If this is your cup of sleaze-cheese, saddle up for a short, blunt ride. If not... well, it’s not like anyone’s gonna be misled by the title...

 

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