This weekend I subjected myself to a god-awful action flick, Rambo, starring a really old Sylvester Stallone. My quick and dirty review is – avert your eyes, this film is an abomination!

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Rambo (2008)

If you’ve ever heard of or seen any of the films from the Rambo series you can write the plot for this one just by guessing. Sly plays our hero, a downtrodden John Rambo suffering from PTSD, who is living in seclusion in the jungle of Thailand. Bad things happen to good people, he goes in and rescues them from evil military guys. Yes, this is the exact same plot as almost all of the prior movies in the series. Why mess with something that works? Except in this case it doesn’t.

Let’s have a go at three Pluses and three Minuses for Rambo:

PLUSES:

  1. A massive body count is expected with any Rambo film and this one doesn’t disappoint. Rambo goes ape shit with an M2 .50 caliber machine gun and cuts down the opposition like they stole his puppy. You almost feel sorry for the soldiers from Burma who get eaten up by flying hot death.
  2. The beautiful Julie Benz fills the damsel in distress role perfectly. I don’t know if she can actually act, but she can certainly whimper and look terrified on command. I’ll bet all she had to do was imagine Sly writing in a kissing scene to get the look of pure terror.
  3. Um, well, Thailand looks beautiful – except for all of the death and machine guns of course. The scenery was amazing – when it was in focus. Sorry, not many redeeming qualities for this movie.

MINUSES:

  1. Sylvester Stallone was over 60 when he made this film, and in it, he looks like he was dragged through the mud for every single one of those years. The guy still has a great physique, but this film kept most of it hidden behind loose shirts and stuff. I’m wondering if the body is finally starting to go.
  2. Dialogue is almost non-existent. In fact, I can’t recall any substantial conversation that involved Sly. I know he’s going for the strong silent type role, but he took it to the extreme. In fact, in the one memorable section of dialogue Sly didn’t say a single word while Graham McTavish‘s Lewis rants and raves about how terrible everything is. He’s not wrong, everything in this movie sucks.
  3. The entire film is totally predictable. I don’t expect many twists when watching a Rambo movie, but this one telegraphed every action. I was calling out the order Rambo’s group of mercenaries were going to die during their initial interaction with Sly, a full 10-15 minutes before any substantial action occurred. It was bad. Really bad.

The Five Hallmarks of a Quality Action Flick (2/5):

  • NUDITY = Yes! One of the female prisoners has her top pulled off and there is a fleeting glimpse of her breasts. It’s a rape scene, so it’s totally uncool. Thankfully Rambo kills the bastards who violated the poor young lady. However, my disappointment is that super sexy Julie Benz is walking through the rain forest throughout the entire movie in a white t-shirt and it never once snags, tears or becomes see-through. What the hell? I mean, look at it in the photo below. Where can I buy a t-shirt like that? It’s a miracle of t-shirt technology that can survive anything without tearing. I want 10 of them, but will take 1 if it comes with Julie in it.

sylvester-stallone-and-julie-benz-in-rambo-2008

  • GEAR UP SCENE = Nope! Okay, to be honest I had to pee and missed about 10 minutes of action. So, it’s possible that it happened, but I wasn’t going to subject myself to this film any longer than I had to. No way was I going back to find out. Let me know if I’m wrong in the comments and I’ll adjust this section.
  • COOL CARS = Nope. Some standard issue military type trucks and Jeeps are seen and Rambo has a super shitty boat. That’s about it. Where’s the evil dictator with a preference for Italian sports cars when you need one?
  • WEAPONS = Jesus, it’s a Rambo flick so there are weapons a plenty. Guns, knives, bows, rocket launchers, and the aforementioned machine gun. Rambo uses everything he can to cause max mayhem.
  • MEANINGFUL FRIEND DIES = Well, since Rambo is in exile, he really doesn’t have any friends. Friends of secondary characters die, but there is no big motivating friend death to propel the action.

My recommendation? Avoid this thing at all costs!! This film is terrible and should be stricken from the Rambo series. I know this was an attempt to cash in on the resurgence of 80’s/90’s action movie nostalgia, but it fails miserably. The Expendables is a much better Rambo film, especially since the audience isn’t counting on a senior citizen Sly Stallone to carry the entire thing. The addition of Jason Statham as his buddy would have made this Rambo film almost tolerable. Heed my advice, avoid it!

Have you seen “Rambo?” if so, what did you think?

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