The Straw Man | Aloof October on April's Birthday | 04/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit, that as of recent I have enjoyed current mainstream movies regardless if they are released to the theater or directly to video so I can abase them. In other words, I truly find pleasure in ripping movies apart. It has been my perception, my perception, that about 70% of movies made in the past 5 to 6 years are horrid.
One might ask why I feel this way, well it is rather simple. Most movies are a plug in for a new phone, car or maybe to promote a soundtrack. These movies also rely more on special effects and visual stimulation, where acting, directing and story take the backseat. Therefore, movies (for the most part) in modern times are nothing more than a 90 to 100 minute commercial.
Then of course there are the movies that are so over the top they are just down right silly. This is the perception I had when I saw the trailer for "Rambo" (it was titled "John Rambo" when I first viewed it on the internet). I thought, "What the hell is Stallone thinking"? I didn't see the most recent "Rocky", but I heard it wasn't any good. I didn't really care too much about the quality of a new "Rocky" movie, but I felt like there was nothing else to do and all doors were closed when "Rocky 5" was made. Why was Stallone going back to Rocky? Was there a point to it? Now he is going to make another Rambo movie, why? Both these characters whose names start with "R" make a return after not being seen for almost 20 years?
I digress to the trailer for Rambo I saw on the internet. I was laughing so hard I couldn't take it. The way this movie was presented was comical. I had said to my brother and some friends, "I can't wait to see this movie, I need a good laugh". Then the day came, it was a work night (the same as a school night, but you go to work early the next day instead of school) and I went to a 9:40pm showing with my brother and two of our friends. I was so pumped and all four of us were ready to laugh very hard. As a side note, this is the first time I had been in a movie theater to watch a new release in a very long time.
We watched and we absorbed this movie and when the end credits rolled and the lights came back on in the theater we were speechless. I thought this was the first wonderful and moving film I had seen in a long time. (So did everyone else in my view party.) I couldn't believe it. I have seen all the other Rambo films and yes they were entertaining, but I wouldn't say they were deep or compelling pieces of cinema. This new Rambo movie had something to say.
It followed a different format, it seemed more dramatic and the violence (there was plenty of it) was brutal and candid. When I say candid, I mean that many of things that happened in this movie, happens in the real world.
The plot of this film is rather simple, Rambo now lives in Southeastern Asia near Burma and some American humanitarians need a guide and ride by boat to provide health care, food and education to the poor people in the area. They find John Rambo and after some persuasions from a female team member (Julie Benz) Rambo signs on.
Consequently, there is a large militant and fundamental group that has nothing better to do than torture and massacre the less fortunate people in their country. It doesn't take a wizard to figure out what happens next, Rambo, guns, violence, death, and blah, blah, blah. However, the violence doesn't seem to be moot or without justification if that makes sense. The best comparison I can make is to "Saving Private Ryan", the violence in that film was graphic and at times over the top, but made a point to portray the reality that was World War 2. "Rambo" has the exact type of feel to it with respect to violence being graphic, over the top and making a point. Mind you I am not saying that "Rambo is a better film or as good as "Saving Private Ryan", but it was used more as a frame of reference. Oddly enough, "Saving Private Ryan" came out in 1998 and "Rambo" came out ten years later (2008), perhaps in 2018 there will be another violent film with a message.
Stallone did a good job too in this film he gave a rather minimal performance, not much dialogue but did display a level of dichotomy towards his emotions to events in the plot. I felt the story was also simplistic, but it worked, the movie didn't need a multi-leveled storyline. I also felt the direction of the film was very good too; by the way Sly wrote and directed this movie.
"Rambo" was a motion picture that stirred myriad thoughts in my head when it was over. It made me think how revolting and disgusting it is that there are still countries in the world that can't get health care or are being "controlled" and/or restricted to certain living conditions by a dictatorship or totalitarian government that results to violence or casualties of human lives. It also made me think how insane it is that U.S. presidential candidates are able to raise thousands, if not millions, of dollars for their campaigns, but when they get into office, it then becomes difficult to "raise" money for the things they promised before they were the incumbent. Then I thought about how everyone wants to go "green" and save the environment, yet it costs more money and there is less tax breaks to "go green". Not to mention Earth Day is only one day a year, rather than year long recognition. What about relying on fossil fuel when there are other forms of fuel for our cars/machines? Or that many people are more up to date with Reality Television than what is going on in the world.
In conclusion, I am not sure this was Sylvester Stallone's intention to stir the pot of modern social sciences or in my case promote schizophrenia when making this movie. However, I felt this film didn't pull any punches and says a lot about the world we live in, on many levels. I recommend this film to anyone who wants an eye opening experience. This is a lot coming from a person who thought this movie was going to be the number one unintentional comedy of 2008 and now believes it was one of the best movies made in a very long time.
Sly, I commend you."
Wildernessman | Boulder Creek, Ca. USA | 03/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of all the Rambo movies this one is the best. The most violent, brutal stunning movie I have ever seen. Emotionally draining story of some do gooders that want to take medicine and help to a group of poor opressed people in Burma. They are under control of the brutal military that wants no one to hear this story let alone help these people. The do gooders talk Rambo into taking them up river to the settlement. He is reluctant to take them but the woman with the group talks him into taking them. Of course they are taken by the military and most everyone in the village is slaughtered. Someone from back home comes looking for them when they never return home. Rambo takes a band of merceneries to the settlement to bring them back. The do-gooders are held captive and tortured. It's nonstop heartpounding action after Rambo gets there. Iv'e never seen anything like the violence in this movie. It's incredible. It's filmed in Burma and the cinemaphotography is outstanding. Beautiful scenery. Good use of light and dark and camera angles. Very well done. Be prepared for the violence because it is extreme. What's shown in this movie is going on there as I speak. We don't hear the story in the media. Stallone made this movie with Burmese people as actors and they were all at risk making this movie. Stallone still has it at 61 years. If you don't like Rambo then don't bother. Otherwise it's highly entertaining! Steve"
One of the greatest action movies of all time
Jason | Backwater, Alabama | 03/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ignore the fact that this is a Rambo movie and some have the audacity to say that Stallone is past his prime. This Rambo movie is not only the best in the Rambo series, but it's also one of the best action movies of all time.
Did you think that Commando had a lot of killing? BAH! Did you think that Saving Private Ryan had the most gruesome injuries? Hardly.
This movie is saturated with arms being cut off, legs exploding into bloody stumps, heads popping like over-inflated balloons, and enough gun-play to satisfy even the most hardcore, extremist gun-enthusiast. If it isn't an arrow evenly dividing a man's skull, or someone's intestines being spilled on the ground, then it's an extreme amount of people being sawed in half by high calibre machine gun fire. There's even a crazy-intense seen in which Rambo basically pulls off the throat removal move from Roadhouse, only with a little slower satisfaction to it. About the only thing lacking is a Colombian necktie.
The story itself plays second-fiddle to the incredible amount of action. A church-group from Colorado is doing peacework in Burma, bringing medicine and religion to people oppressed by a militaristic regime intent on genocide. To make their way into hostile territory, the church-goers ask for Rambo's services as a river guide. At first he is hesitant, but the kind-hearted but deadly Rambo eventually consents.
Sure enough, after Rambo drops them off for their jungle-trek to the villagers, the church-group gets caught in the middle of chaos, as the evil military members are senselessly slaughtering every villager in sight. Once they are captured, it's up to Rambo to save the day.
The rest of the movie is a whirlwind of action, as Rambo leads in a hardened group of mercenaries for an extraction mission. They plan on sneaking into the compound, killing anything and anyone that gets in their way, and saving the prisoners. What transpires is carnage the likes of which I have never seen before.
This version of Rambo is an incredible movie if you're looking for pure action and entertainment from beginning to end. I haven't been more entertained by a movie in a very long time."
An EXTENDED EDITION worth fighting for!
longshot75 | Woking, Surrey United Kingdom | 07/23/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well I must admit I had to have this, cos let's face it, it's Rambo. I'm a huge fan of the original trilogy and was a huge fan of Stallone's recent revival of the character in 'John Rambo' which i thought was a raw and gritty supercharged action film yet with depth of character and story that easily surpassed any of it's disposable contemporaries. Make no bones about it; "the expendables" sticker on the front the "expendables" trailer; the trailers of films from all of the actors in the "expendables" - this is a pure money making and marketing combo to tie in with the release of Sly's latest actioner. BUT, I have to say, what whilst expecting nothing more than the all new "Rambo - to hell and back" production diaries special feature, and maybe a couple of extended scenes in the movie, I was actually really surprised at just how different this new cut of the film is.
This is not just the theatrical cut with a couple of extra bits, this is a true director's cut style extended edition with a completely re-edited opening, many extended takes, many alternate takes, and whole new extra scenes that all blend seemlessly to really compliment and add much to the film. A lot of this really helps to elaborate the story, and really flesh out character and themes that whilst hinted at in the original, were never really fully explored. When Rambo says in the original "no, what you're trying to do is change what is", and Sara asks him "and what is?"; he just says "go home". I always used to wonder, "yeah, what is??". Well, a whole knew alternate take here reveals all, and also a few real home truths about his real feelings about war and regret. And that's not all, you find out so much more about the characters, their relationships, motivation, and so many tiny insertions of lines here and there, very subtle shot changes, alternate dialog, black and white flashbacks, that it's almost an entirely new take on the film. It's all great stuff!
A word of warning tho, there do appear to be a few cuts and alterations to some of the more violent and extreme/controversial scences. Some of these bits are alternate takes (when the main bad guy leader takes delivery of the young village boy for example), but others are just plain removed, or cut short. The child being stabbed in the attack on the village is missing, the guy flying though the air with both legs blown off is cut short, the bearded mercenary stabbing the solider under the hut is removed, and a few other bits that seemed slightly shortened. I should add that these alterations are VERY few, I probably counted 5 or 6, and doubt that this was a censorship issue as the majority of the blood soaked limb exploding violence is completely intact. I'd imagine this was purely a directorial/artistic decision, (a lot of the excised scenes were digital effects, some of which don't stand up quite as effectively as others). Something to bear in mind though before you buy!
The stunning MPEG 4 AVC encoded 1080p picture and 7.1 dts hd master audio remain, giving an blu-ray experience of reference quality, just like the original lionsgate release. People may hesitate to buy this, thinking that they're not really getting much for their money, but trust me this is FAR from a lazy release to steal your money, this is a superb director's cut edition that totally delivers. Also, for any foreign buyers, the blu ray is officially ABC encoded, so it will play on any blu ray player. Enjoy an all new Rambo!"
Extended cut has a stronger story to go with the action
ManaByte | 07/29/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The box cover says Rambo, but the title for the extended cut has been restored to the original JOHN RAMBO title.
The four-movie BluRay Box Set DOES NOT include the extended John Rambo.
Basically Stallone added nine minutes back into the movie, and most of it is dialog INCLUDING the Rocky Balboa style monologues.
There's a quick new scene on the boat in the beginning with the snakes.
Rambo has a big monologue along the same lines of Rocky's speech to his son in Rocky Balboa. It's in the rain when he's convinced to take the boat up river.
There's more dialog on the boat while he's taking the missionaries.
The pastor has more lines when he comes to get Rambo.
Going back to watch the theatrical cut makes it seem like an edited for TV version where they had to cut out big story bits. The extended cut feels more like an end for Rambo along the lines of Rocky Balboa, and restoring the John Rambo title makes sense."