I've just returned from watching Rambo at our local flicks.
Growing up with the Rambo films I was looking forward to seeing this final revisit, particularly after seeing, and enjoying, Rocky Balboa, Sly's other throw back to the eighties.
Whereas Rocky Balboa worked well as mainly a character drama; taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane yet at the same time re-generating the excitement of the early Rocky franchise; disappointingly, I found Rambo to be just an over-the-top gore fest with absolutely nothing interesting to say.
Like Rocky Balboa, this film did have a flash-back sequence to try and help explain why Rambo is who he is and why he hasn't returned to America. But any attempt to delve into the character of John Rambo was entirely superficial.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting Citizen Kane. You know what you're going to get when you see a Rambo film. However, if I hadn't have already known that Sly himself had directed this I may have thought that Quentin Tarantino had got his hands on the film, such was the level of sad-masochistic violence. Was there really any need for the camera to linger on scenes of beheadings and mutilation? Funnily enough, I've just had a look on IMDB.com and it actually says if you liked this film you may also enjoy Kill Bill: Vol 1.
The main thing you expect to see in a Rambo film is Rambo himself killing lots of baddies in a hundred different inventive ways - utilising his special forces training. While the body count that he racks up his large, a good proportion of this is down to him spraying the baddies with a large calibre machine gun. Boring! I was hoping to see a lot more hand-to-hand combat and the use of special techniques.
At 91 minutes the film is short. Even though I didn't particularly enjoy it I did feel the film was missing a good 30 minutes of plot. Everything seemed really rushed. When the final credits came up it was a case of 'is that it?'.
If you want to see Rambo my advice is don't. Rent out Tears of the Sun with Bruce Willis instead. It's basically the same film except Tears of the Sun is much better.