Review: Rambo

Published 7 years ago by

By Vic Holtreman

Short version: If you’re a fan of the previous films, Stallone’s awesome new Rambo will blow you away.

rambo review Review: RamboAfter having seen some of the Rambo reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes and the overall rating of only 35%, I fully expected to be disappointed by Sylvester Stallone’s second revisiting of an iconic character. So you can imagine that it came as a complete shock to me when I ended up loving it.

Rambo opens with real footage of the nightmarish abuses that are currently going on in Burma. It’s very disturbing and at the very least I believe that Stallone is hoping that this will draw attention to what’s going on over there with the military murdering innocent men, women and children on a daily basis.

From there the film cuts to John Rambo in the Thai jungle (Thailand borders Burma) where he is out with a local man wrangling cobras. The local town’s main attraction involves shows were men taunt cobras, pythons and other dangerous snakes. It seems that he has been living there for a long time – living a spartan, simple existence among the local people.

A group of missionaries shows up at the local village, hoping that he will take them upriver into Burma to deliver medical supplies and assistance. Rambo asks them if they’re bringing weapons and they say “no.” At that point he refuses them multiple times, saying that without weapons they can’t change anything. However eventually the woman in the group (Sarah, played by Julie Benz) appeals to him and convinces him to escort them in his small boat.

Sarah ends up being the only one in the group that he really respects.

Soon after getting underway they come across river pirates and it doesn’t take long for ol’ John to be drawn reluctantly into violence once again in order to protect the missionaries in general and Sarah in particular. Suffice it to say that Rambo has not lost any of his edge in the 20 years that have passed since the last film.

I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything if I tell you that of course the missionaries are captured and that they need some serious rescuing. The twist here is that Rambo doesn’t go it alone: a band of mercenaries are actually the intended rescuers and he is taking them upriver to find the missionaries.

Among the mercenaries are a couple of interesting characters, one of which kind of reminded me of myself on a really cranky day. icon smile Review: Rambo

Make no mistake: Rambo is incredibly violent and graphic. If this bothers you, this film is not for you – but if like myself, you believe that if violence is portrayed in a film it should be realistic and disturbing, then Rambo delivers in spades.

Stallone’s latest, and no doubt final addition to the franchise lives up to the previous three perfectly. He brings the same life weariness to John Rambo here that he brought to Rocky Balboa in that film that was released last year.

Sure, it has some stereotypical characters and moments, but that barely detracts from the overall experience of the film, which will leave you with your jaw dropped several times during the movie.

Rambo is a mighty fine closing chapter for the character with a dose of social awareness to boot.

Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5

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  1. Yes It was a magnificant movie. I watched it with a jam packed crowed yesterday. U ought to watch it.

  2. Wow sounds like a decent Rambo story.
    I allways love a hero story when its done right. Sly usually does these films all the time.

    It will be fun to see this. Also great review Vic!
    One question:
    Is this clearly the last one ? Is that a spolier?

  3. My boyfriend’s dragging me to see this next week because we’ve got a free pass. It’ll be my first Rambo, but I’m at least glad to hear it’s not terrible. Thank you :)

  4. Liz,

    Keep in mind it is VERY graphically violent. Along the lines of the opening scene of “Saving Private Ryan.”

    Steve, I suppose they left it to where they could make another, but I really hope they don’t.


  5. Glad to hear you liked it, Vic. I’ve been seeing awful reviews for it, but I was going to go see it anyway. I will be going to the late show on Sunday night with a free movie pass and fully expect to be blown away!! :P

  6. Andy,

    Please come back and let us know what you think. I’d like to know if you go with the consensus and I’m off my nut. :-)


  7. Big time, Liz. :-)

    Hey, were you the one that gave me a shout out on my “In Bruges” review?


  8. I’m with you Liz, this sounds like the perfect Rambo storyline. (Nice guy just trying to protect nice girl). Haha.
    Finally some bad guys were not going to have any sympathy for, these days you need a film like this. (Well I do).
    Good formula on Sly’s part.

  9. Liz,

    Thanks so much. I got a big kick of your post. :-)


  10. Yay, blood!

    The plot actually sounds quite interesting, so I think I can easily enjoy this one.

  11. Guilty, Vic! I really liked how you explained the movie and what was wrong with it.

  12. I can guarantee that greek guy at will give any Stallone movie a bad review. As a filmmaker myself, I get some reviews from morons like that “Kydos” or whatever his name is, and I just laugh, the reality is, if my films have gotten distribution then they must have done something right. Back to Rambo, I love this franchise with First Blood being my favorite, but this last one may be the best one yet. It looks fantastic from the trailer. I’ll be seeing it soon.

  13. Want to know what I liked about this movie? The bad guys were nasty and there was no “well we just don’t understand them” or other justification for what they were doing. They were bad and they were dealt with. In the theater I was in, people were actually cheering in parts. I loved this movie. Stallone really did well with this. Congratulations to him. I really enjoyed this movie, the best movie I’ve seen in the theater in a long time.

  14. Vic,

    Rambo was a lot better than I went in expecting…..I had bought the tickets Thurs morn the Thurs night I read the E-online review and was ready to just ditch the movie completely. E-online will never have my business ever again. It’s like they had a personal political issue against the movie. Anyway Vic you rock.


  15. Dan,

    Thanks for stopping by. Let us know what you think after you’ve seen it. Although I disagree big time with the review you’re referring to, distribution of a film does not necessarily mean that something was done right in regards to the movie. I’ve seen PLENTY of stinkers on the big screen. :-)

    And Smitty, thanks bro… I almost ditched it due to the consensus over at Rotten Tomatoes!


  16. At this time Sunday aft,
    Rambo and “meet the spartians” are tied for number 1 at around 19 mil.
    I think we all need to drop whatever were doing and go see Rambo…!

  17. LOL, Greyfox, thanks. :-)

    I should use your comment as a reference whenever anyone accuses me of being an “elite” reviewer because I hate a POS like AVP-R.


  18. I am glad to see the reviewer have the balls and intelligence to call this movie like it is and able to say its okay to enjoy a Rambo flick. Especially when its a well done one at that. Anyone thinking this should be anything more than a Rambo flick should be declared mentally retarded and given a handicap parking spot just for them so we can truly appreciate the difficulty of living on just half a brain stem. I have my own little words for this movie and critics, (shameless plug), but saying this is F-ing awesome and critics are F-stupid would probably hurt some feelings.

  19. Hey Vic,

    I have to say that I pretty much agree with your review. I really liked the film, although I don’t think it’s comparable to the “First Blood” film. Of course, that is probably the nostalgia talking! I was kinda shocked at how gory the movie actually was, but it was nice to have real bad guys to hate and just KNOW that Rambo is going to get the head bad guy!! The line “Live for nothing or die for something” I thought was a bit contrived, but all in all, I enjoyed the movie. Screw the big name critics, they’re obviously morons! Not EVERY movie has to make a social statement, some can just be FUN!!!

  20. Yes, some of the cliched or cornball stuff is what kept me from giving it a 5/5. And I do try to review movies within the context of what they’re trying to accomplish instead of grading everything to the same bar.


  21. I also loved Rambo, but did you seriously say the violence was “realistic?”

    That was the most over the top, ridiculously unrealistic violence I think I’ve ever seen in a movie. Since when do human heads EXPLODE when shot by a sniper?

  22. Maybe that’s one for Mythbusters, eh?


  23. Ha! Thanks, Liz… I’ve added that to the random quotes rotation. :-)


  24. “Is it true that there’s a place in man’s head where, if you shoot it, it will blow up?”

    Sometimes Hot Fuzz quotes are very relevant.

  25. A Marine buddy of mine (just back home from his 2nd tour in Iraq) says the head, when shot with a 50 cal , will turn into a nice pink mist. Most of your lower grade sniper rifles (Assuming they are using military rounds and not “Deer Shot”) will turn the head to mush on the inside, occasionally exploding like a water melon.

  26. I feel the pink mist was of better taste than the mushing/liquefied head or the watermelon chunk head. But that is just me. We love you out here Vic, Keep it up.


  27. i think sly is the best no matter how old he is
    his movies are the best ever

  28. all the rambos are terrific


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    This film had such a weak story line it could only be strung out for an hour and a quarter. It basically concerns a group of christian missionaries being held hostage in Burma, and Rambo, along with a group of mercenaries, being contracted by a Pastor to free them.

    Rambo 4 is in stark contrast to the other Rambos where he muscle posed his way to self glory. In this film, however, he must have been too self conscious of his love handles and sausage veins that the central focus of Rambo, and his character as a whole for that matter, was his forearms.

    The Burmese soldiers were portrayed as verminous killing scum who feed live people to pigs, and Sly even makes further propaganda swipes at Burmese generals by portraying the one in this movie as a raper of young boys.

    The killing is so gratuitous and lustful, you wonder what kind of sick, sado-masterbatory audience could enjoy this snuff movie. Rambo manages to effortlessly kill everybody in every imaginable way, and would have encountered more resistance had the Burmese army been replaced by a bunch of grannies armed with knitting needles and balls of wool. And where the hell he manages to find , in the middle of the jungle, some kind of huge, thermo-nuclear device to detonate at short notice is any one’s guess.

    This abomination of a movie further insult by trying to add believability to this sado-wet dream, by allowing Rambo to get a slight nick from a bullet to his shoulder in the last minutes of the film, as he’s mopping up the final remaining Burmese ‘skittle’ soldiers.

    It was a pity Rambo’s Kernel is no longer alive as he was the real star of the Rambo franchise and provided the only hint of class and proper acting.

    Anyone claiming this was just a bit of fun should watch again the actual footage of the suffering of the Burmese people shown at the beginning of this film, appreciate how Sly has tried to glorify himself at their expense, and then should proceed straight to the doctors and have their brains checked out for advanced syphilis.