Rambo (18)



Action (2008)
91mins US

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden, Graham McTavish, Rey Gallegos
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Writer(s): Art Monterastelli, Sylvester Stallone
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Former Green Beret John Rambo lives and works in the Thai jungle, supplying cobras and pythons to a snake sideshow. Christian missionaries Michael and Sarah approach Rambo to take them and some fellow do-gooders up river to Burma, where they hope to nurse the sick back to health, and ease the suffering of the war-torn country. Unfortunately, the village comes under attack and the missionaries are taken hostage. When the reverend in charge of the mission hires a band of mercenaries to extract his people from their tropical prison, Rambo tags along with his trusty bow and arrow.

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LondonNet Film Review
Rambo

Twenty years after Rambo's last bloodthirsty tour of duty, Sylvester Stallone's iconic warrior stumbles out of retirement to wreak havoc on the oppressive Burmese military....

Rambo. Sony Pictures ReleasingIn his role as director, co-writer and leading man, Stallone's intentions are noble, refocusing the spotlight on the long-running civil war between ruling forces and the Karen People of Burma, who have been tortured and murdered for nearly 60 years.

However, grafting a relentlessly violent action-thriller onto real-life genocide - the film opens with shocking newsreel footage of slain monks and village people - leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth. The underlying message couldn't be clearer: if you want a resolution to the conflict, send in America and let Uncle Sam blow the country to smithereens. "When you're pushed, killing's as easy as breathing," proclaims the big man. If that's true then Stallone should be hyperventilating by the end credits because the body count mushrooms into triple figures in no time at all.

Rambo. Sony Pictures ReleasingFormer Green Beret John Rambo (Stallone) lives and works on the Salween River, close to the Thailand-Burma border, supplying cobras and pythons to a snake village. Christian missionaries Michael (Paul Schulze) and Sarah (Julie Benz) approach Rambo to take them and fellow do-gooders up river to Burma, where they hope to nurse the sick back to health. Sarah pricks Rambo's conscience ("Maybe we can't change what is, but trying to save a life isn't wasting your life, is it?") and he ferries them to a remote Karen village.

Unfortunately, the community comes under attack from the Burmese military and the missionaries are taken hostage. When pastor Arthur Marsh (Ken Howard) hires a band of mercenaries (Graham McTavish, Matthew Marsden, Tom Kang, Ray Gallegos, Jake La Botz) to extract his people from their tropical prison, Rambo tags along with his trusty bow and arrow. Rambo is an orgy of senseless carnage, asserting that revenge is a dish best served with an assault rifle. Stallone and co-writer Art Monterastelli paint the Burmese military as two-dimensional monsters, who get their kicks by goading Karen prisoners into running over landmines. To seal the deal, the military leader is also a paedophile.

Rambo. Sony Pictures ReleasingCharacter development is left down river while Stallone and his co-stars gallop around the jungle, losing limbs and/or their faith in a hail of bullets. Time has not been kind to the brawny star. He looks his age - 61-years-old and counting; so much so, you have to wonder if Rambo will be able to navigate the perilous jungle terrain without the aid of a Zimmer. In the blink of an eye, though, Stallone is running at lightning speed through the undergrowth, making mincemeat of young and sinewy co-stars. Action sequences are breathlessly orchestrated but wanton destruction on such a massive scale is exhausting. Trite one-liners ("Live for something or die for nothing - it's your call") break up the cacophony of screams and explosions.

- Jo Planter

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