Rambo IV – Way Better Than Expected
My Review: 9
A nine? Really? A nine?
Well, yeah. I think it was pretty damn good. To be fair, my expectations were VERY low going into it, which always helps with my perception of a film afterwards. But I liked it a lot.
This movie reminded me of good old-fashioned action flicks. Great movies like Total Recall and Terminator, Conan and First Blood. Rambo IV was an unapologetic, ass-kicking flick. It wasn’t complicated, or preachy, or overwrought. In fact, the dialogue was pretty minimal in general. Two main themes were explored in this movie:
1. You are what you are.
2. Being a good guy.
Number 1 is a recurring theme from all the Rambo movies. You can distill it this way: You can take the soldier out of the war, but you can’t take the war out of the soldier. John Rambo is good at killing people. It’s what he does. It’s who he is.
Number 2 is what makes you feel good about all the violence. Some people get seriously blown up in this movie, but they get blown up for good reason. At least, when the bad guys get blown up it’s for good reason. Lots of innocent people that don’t deserve it get blown up too, and that’s sad. But if they didn’t, then it wouldn’t feel so vindictive and awesome when the bad guys get theirs.
And while we’re on the topic of violence, this movie is so graphic I was overwhelmed. It’s awesome, though a little bit intense. Splatter, guts, be-headings, eviscerations… and that’s just the tip of this violent and bloody iceberg. Gratuitous would not be an inappropriate term here. But, in spite of that, it still feels right. Remember in Pulp Fiction when that poor fat woman in the white shorts gets shot in the leg by Marcellus Wallace right after he was hit with the car? It’s like that. Inappropriate, and unnecessary, but totally the right thing to do.
The graphic violence in this movie is in the same ball park as Saving Private Ryan, but without the art-house appeal that Spielberg brings to a film. But this movie is not intended to be artsty. Quite to the contrary, it is a 90 minute, straight-up action flick. And that’s why I like it. It does EXACTLY what it’s supposed to do. That being: to kick ass.
Oh, and by the way, Rambo does indeed have another new knife in this movie. It’s a teeny bit cheesy (how he gets it), but it also kind of rules.
Before I wrap this up, I have to say that I am proud of Sly Stallone. I never in a million years thought that Rocky Balboa would be any good, but it was (in my opinion anyway.) I thought a new Rambo movie had even less chance of succeeding, but he fooled me again. He kept it simple, didn’t talk too much, didn’t over-think the script, and he delivered exactly what he needed to. I think Rambo IV deserves a solid 9 out of 10.