Skip to main content

Death Never Looked So Beautiful!

Movie title: Rambo (2008)
Grade: B+ (3 ½ stars) (Recommended!)
Rated: R
Summation: Rambo is sought out by missionaries who seek passage in a war-torn country.
Spoilers ahead: No

---

I remember a time not long ago when John Rambo was a status symbol of the 1980s. Rambo was as “bad boy” as you could get. Sadly, it was the spirit of Rocky, not Rambo, which lived on to steal a lot of hearts. Well, that shouldn’t have been. The way I see it, Rocky has no problem sharing his spotlight with Rambo, my knife-wielding hero who can eat what would make a goat puke. Even the cartoon that had a shot of him fastening that memorable red bandana on his head just before the action started was to be revered. Piss off God before you piss off Rambo—he’ll have mercy, but Rambo won’t!

The Rambo era is gone, unfortunately, along with the simplicity it carried. The days of Rambo were the days of the first Nintendo when the focus of so many videogames was to save the princess or accept the top-secret mission of the general who brought you your assignment. Lucky for you, you were the only one he could find to complete the task. You must succeed! Go!

That's the sort of simplicity I'm talking about. In those days, action movies were just action movies. A good action film didn't need a decorated storyline, just a pervasive premise that made sense. Times have since changed. Those old worn-thin storylines – together with their cackling, wicked crime bosses and their cheesy haircuts and plans for world domination – have served their time. We're ready for something new.

Something new is not what you get in Rambo. In a decade cursed with lagging creativity and rapidly-paced, half-witted remakes of the classics, the new Rambo installment succeeds in giving us just what we saw when Firebird Trans Ams and Fox-body 5.0 Mustangs combed the streets. Hey, I’m game for more!

An introverted Rambo is living and working in Thailand, capturing snakes for entertainers. His simple and secluded life coasts along in a part of the world that most of us would shy away from until Christian missionaries contact him who seek to rent his boat. They need the boat for passage into the war-torn area of Burma where they seek to help by offering humanitarian efforts. He refuses, like any good, burnt-out atheist would and should do.

Stupid Christians! They have no idea the kind of horrors life can throw at you, much less those of Burma, but Rambo does. The harrowing ordeals he’s seen are unmatched. Now, if only he can convince them to turn their bible-thumping behinds around and leave! But he can’t.

Reluctantly, he gives in because of the influences of one Sarah Miller (Julie Benz) and Michael Burnett (Paul Schultz, 24’s “Ryan Chappelle”). This, as you might imagine, leads the sheepishly Jesus-like believers right into the expectedly hellish war-zone of Burma. When captivity comes their way, they realize they got a little more than they bargained for. This leads to Rambo unleashing the tumultuous fury he's so known and loved for unleashing…you know, the kind of fury that Jesus won’t bring when his believers need him the most?

Put no stock in the story. It's just an excuse to get to the action anyway, but we're talking “tons” of action, bloodshed, decapitation, impalement, and enough shell-casings left on the ground to cause a grown man to trip and die. And I must tell you, death never looked so beautiful and inconsequential! But if you truly want to get into the spirit of Rambo, order a pizza and then watch this reddened Rambo. Ask for extra sauce when ordering! If you squint just right, the garlic dipping sauce with your crazy bread will resemble the eye goop from an exploded body. Enjoy!

Inordinately strenuous focus on a barbarous and violent plot is forgivable, and so are the untapped components of the story that are only vaguely touched on. But of course, when we sit down to watch Rambo, what the hell else are we looking for but carnage and vengeance? I found it refreshing, if not compelling, and for sure entertaining. John Rambo is like the older brother I never had. I haven't seen him in years, and when I finally get to, he hasn't changed a bit.

(JH)

---

Director: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone “John Rambo,” Julie Benz “Sarah,” Paul Schulze “Michael Burnett,” Matthew Marsden “School Boy,” Graham McTavish “Lewis,” Reynaldo Gallegos “Diaz,” Jake La Botz “Reese,” Tim Kang “En-Joo,” Maung Maung Khin “Tint”
Genre: Action / Thriller

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part II of II)

#1) The Douwds – From Star Trek The Next Generation

Claim to fame: This Douwd went from pacifist to mass murderer of 50 billion in a single moment of anger. He appears to hold the record for most murders in all of sci-fi.
Abilities: Just about unlimited.
Nature: True immortals.

Our winner, debatably edging out number #2, is a mysterious race of beings called the Douwds. We only get to meet one of their kind in a single episode (#51, season 3 - see the condensed version here) called “The Survivors.” It was one of the very best of any season. What little we know of this illusive race “of disguises and false surroundings” only adds to our fascination with them.

When the Enterprise gets an urgent distress call from a federation colony on Delta Rana IV about an attacking alien warship, they head over as fast as they can, but they are days away. By the time they arrive, it is too late. All are dead and the planet has been literally leveled…with the sole exception of one house and the small pa…