Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rambo (2008)

A Rockin' Rambo flick - With Some Meaning

- John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has been living in Thailand for some time, still conflicted, still not ready to go home, and still a dangerous dude. When he gives a group of missionaries a ride into the war-torn Burma, they get captured by the mafia-like military and Rambo decides to rescue them. Rambo (2008) is a pretty good action flick, but there is also some real meaning behind it.

I will admit it right away, I was not sure that Rambo could come back to the screen well. A 20-year absence and a 62 year-old star does not really look like a good mix for a successful film - but to my surprise the fourth entry to the John Rambo series was a pretty good movie. Sylvester Stallone takes over the directing duties as well as the Rambo role here in this film and he assembles and moves the film along well. Rambo is bullet-ridden with clich├ęs in both dialogue and film situations but it also manages to remain brutal and realistic with a few aspects added in that we have really have not seen before.

Rambo is a very graphic film - the action is very exciting but the violence is very gruesome and almost too authentic. The special effects are great as far as explosions and flying bodies go, but there are some obvious CGI work done with many of the bullet wounds and lost limbs in the film. Rambo also brings some attention to the Burma situation, bringing to the screen and the eyes of the viewers the evils of the ruling militaristic government and the real torment of the Burmese people (the film is even banned in that country). This makes Rambo a more relevant film while being an entertaining action film at the same time.

Nobody really gives a bad performance in the film. Some obviously stand out over others however - Matthew Marsden and Tim Kang play very likable mercenaries, School Boy and En-Joo respectively; Julie Benz is good as Sarah, a missionary who softens up our hero; and Sly is of course great as Rambo - at 62 he still makes the role work.

Overall, Rambo is a big-time action film with some real meaning; not wasting one minute of the hour and a half's worth of your time.

CBC Rating: 7/10

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