Rambo IV – Way Better Than Expected

My Review: 9

A nine? Really? A nine?

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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.

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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.

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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.

Trailer:

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6 comments so far

  1. Allison S. on

    I don’t think people give Stallone enough credit. Everyone thinks he’s just some machismo guy who plays the same roles in the same movies. But according to what you’ve said here, it seems to me that the man is much smarter than he seems. He has orchestrated his comeback quite well.

    How is it that he’s starred in two movies in the past year that were part of a series and they were both excellent as stand-alone movies. Luck? I don’t think so. I think Stallone has surrounded himself with smart people who know the business and who know how to make a good movie.

    I saw a picture of him in SoCal posing with his back to a paparrazo camera and what was he showing off? He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with his picture on it. Talk about self-promotion… but he is good. I’ll give him that.

    Great post!!

  2. Monko on

    I still have yet to see this flick, but I must say, Rambo kicks ass!

  3. Andrew on

    Umm, I haven’t seen that trailer before and it looks like the movie will rock my butt off. I’m glad I read your review and will proceed to give it another look.

  4. David on

    Monko,

    Thanks very much for your comment. I Agree.

  5. David on

    Andrew,

    I totally understand – I hadn’t planned on seeing it either until Sol said “let’s go see Rambo IV !” So we did, and it ruled. Definitely give it another look.

    Thanks for your comment.

    David

  6. Andy on

    YOur blog is awesome!!!!


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