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Rambo 2008 Movie Review

ramboI don’t think it’s fair to say I had a bit of Sylvester Stallone Madness going a few weeks back, but seeing two of his movies within days of each other last September must be an indication of something…  Sly-itis, something like that.  It took me a long while to get to this one, but I saw Rocky Balboa in the theater, so after that, I was a bit gun shy… ugh, that’s a terrible pun.  But if you sit through all of Rambo, or John Rambo, or whatever the hell they’ve decided to call it, you might feel like you’ve come down with something.

spoiler alert

We find Rambo living in Thailand and selling snakes he captures in the jungle as well as acting as a ferrymen who rents out his own boat.  He reluctantly agrees to bring a group of missionaries and doctors into Burma via aforementioned river boat, and they don’t need a ride back for some stupid reason – so after dropping them off, Rambo heads home.  The missionaries’ never return and their pastor shows up and asks Rambo to bring a team of mercenaries to the spot on the riverbank where he left the missionaries.  The mercenaries don’t agree to let Rambo accompany them, preferring that he stays with the boat, but given that the movie is called Rambo, he follows them anyway and saves their entire crew from a squad of Burmese army.  Rambo half convinces, half threatens (“Live for something or die for nothing; your call!”) the mercenaries to come with him to the Burmese army camp where the missionaries are being held prisoner.  They break them out, of course, but the Burmese army figure it out quickly and come after them.  Why, I have no idea…  of what value are the prisoners to them?  Ransom?  I have no idea.  Rambo and Sarah are separated from the group, who eventually get captured, missionaries and mercenaries alike, and are about to be executed (the army chased the missionaries and mercenaries so when they caught them, they could execute them… doesn’t seem like it was worth the effort, and why did the capture the missionaries in the first place instead of just killing them on the spot?) until Rambo takes control of a jeep-mounted .50-caliber machine gun and open fires on the Burmese army, which literally shreds them to pieces.  The Karen rebels show up and aid Rambo, the mercenaries and the missionaries, and then Rambo disembowels the bad guy in charge.  The movie pretty much ends after that, with Rambo back home in the US, presumably going to see his father.

Rambo is a decent little movie, but it lacks drama.  You never get a sense of… well, anything.  Here are a few things I wish the movie would have conveyed:

  1. Is Rambo happy or not with his life at present?
  2. …a way to distinguish any of the missionaries from each other
  3. …a way to distinguish any of the mercenaries from each other
  4. …a way to distinguish any of the bad guys from each other

At no point do you ever worry about anything bad happening to Rambo.  The missionaries get captured right away, but I don’t care about them because I don’t know them and the same goes for the mercenaries.  It’d be great if something ever happened that the audience should care about – but it doesn’t.  Despite it’s gore (and there is a fair amount of violent gore), the movie is boring, yet unoffensive.  Rambo is watchable, but it won’t leave you craving another sequel.

My Rating:  2.5 out of 5

Unless you’re a die-hard action movie fan, or rather, a die-hard action movie starring Sylvester Stallone fan, you should probably skip Rambo.

The Expendables movie review

Ah Sylvester Stallone; is there anything he can’t do?  He directs, he writes, he acts – and he’s 64, but still jacked.  Wasn’t his character supposed to be over the hill in Rocky?  This time, he’s
assembled a cast that would strike fear in the heart of any evil do-er in The Expendables.

Oh, spoilers from here on out.

Who are The Expendables?  Only the roughest, toughest actors, former wrestlers, body builders, martial artists, oh, and He-Man, damn it!  I read somewhere that Stallone wanted Jean-Claude Van Dam for this movie, but he had to settle for Dolph Lundgren – settle?  Settle for the real Punisher? Oh hells no.  I don’t play that shiz.  Anyway, rounding out the cast of action stars is Jason Statham, Jet Li, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke and… Terry Crews?  Sorry, Terry; I’m not familiar with your work, but at least I know who you are – as opposed to whoever the other guy was.

As I mentioned before, Stallone leaves nothing to chance as he stars, directs and co-writes, and he delivers exactly what he promised with a movie that reminds me more of Commando than any Stallone movie I can think of.  I won’t bother recounting the plot for you, so check it out here if you desire.  The first and second act have plenty of action, but the third act is just over the top explosions and violence, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.  Stallone isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here or change the world – in fact, it’d be easier to make an argument that  he’s trying to blow up the world, because the climax of this movie literally shook the theater I saw it in.  The room was shaking, or maybe it was just my head from the surround sound explosions!

I haven’t seen a movie like this in a long time.  The plot wasn’t so dumb that I couldn’t concentrate on the movie, the acting was fun and light hearted (accept Mickey Rourke, he’s the man – his big scene, all shown in close up, maybe one take?  awesome!), and the action just kept coming.  Maybe there was some corny moments, and I could have done without that outro  featuring ‘The Boys are back in town,” but its a solid action movie.

Two things I’m confused about:

First, why was this movie called The Expendables?  None of the expendables die!  I suppose they’re considered expendable by their employers and they have it written all over their motorcycles…  I didn’t get that.

And second, why the hell do I know who the hell Steve Austin is by site?  I checked out his IMDB and I’ve never seen a thing he’s done.  My girlfriend pointed out the high volume of pay per view wrestling commercials we’re seen featuring Stone Cold (again, why do I know that?), and maybe that burned him into my brain.  Whatever, he’s mostly scenery in this movie as he stands around and looks menacing, but he does it well.  And he’s still jacked.  Very, frighteningly jacked.

If you want to relax and enjoy violence for a an hour or so, you’ll like The Expendables.  If you watched the trailer and were appalled, I guess I owe you a new monocle.

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