Wednesday, January 30, 2008


by Reymundo Salao

RAMBO was born out of David Morrell’s novel FIRST BLOOD, which was made into a movie. But while in the book, Rambo was more maniacal and killed off the policemen, the movie adaptation made some changes and made Rambo more defensive and avoided the killing of the cops. There is an alternate ending to FIRST BLOOD found in its dvd where Col.Trautman kills off Rambo, this was based upon the original ending of the book where the story ends when Rambo was dead. But the ending was changed and Rambo surrendered to Trautman. This was done, as Stallone said in an interview, that “it seemed like this terrible, nihilistic ending that just reveled in complete despair”

RAMBO is the kind of hero every audience could sympathize with. In the First Blood movie, he was a supposedly-retired warrior who just wants some peace. He was lonely and got pushed to the edge. In Rambo: First Blood Part 2, he was used and in the process lost his confidence and faith towards the country he serves. And in Rambo part 3, he woke up with the realization that he can never escape from being what he is: a full-blooded combat soldier and is forced to once again become the war machine that he is, in order to rescue his friend. In this fourth installment of the Rambo series, set more than ten years after his last war, regardless of his age, he knows fully well what he is; he knows that war is and always has been in his blood, and must not fight it. Rambo will always be a warrior; live for nothing or die for something.

While Rambo (2) shows the one-man fighting force of our hero, it was well within the boundaries of believability. The mistake was in Rambo 3 when the character of Rambo got too commercialized that even the movie itself felt like a superhero flick. In one interview, Stallone, who co-wrote the Rambo movies indeed have admitted this mistake, that is why this new movie “John Rambo”, goes back to the original core of who Rambo in the First Blood movie is, especially that he has aged, Rambo still kicks ass, but he does not necessarily defeat a hundred soldiers single-handedly. Just like the first & second movie, Rambo has to rely on his lethal wits. His knack for traps and ability to outsmart the enemy is his main weapon.

JOHN RAMBO (which is simply entitled “Rambo” in its US release) is almost 85% action and eye candy, what with its lush tropical setting. The 15% which is that of the storyline isn’t exactly perfect, and has some awkward dialogue. Nevertheless, the movie delivers a very decent sequel. But don’t take “decent” quite literally. You see, the violence may not be as “decent” to everyone’s taste.

The violence in this movie is vividly intense. One may even say that it is almost smut-violence. Scenes of slaughter, massacre and rape are horrifying. Hell may be the only description appropriate. Stallone, in an interview justifies that the gross violence in this movie is necessary to portray what is really happening in Burma. According to him there are even worse things there than what is seen on the movie. Indeed, the violence is so appalling that you feel that something has to be done to fix that country.
Likewise, the villains of this movie are so disgustingly evil that it makes the villains of the other three Rambo movies look like Mother Teresa. There’s even a scene where we see Rambo frown in sheer disgust over how “extra-evil” the main bad guy is (it’s an unpleasant surprise). It somehow makes you wish that there is indeed a real life Rambo out there that will teach these bastards a lesson.

It took a lot of time before a Rambo 4 was made. Stallone and his crew had to make an intensive research where on Earth Rambo could find himself fighting a war again. And in their research, they found out that one of the worst places on Earth where man commits hellish crimes against his/her fellow man is in Burma. Stallone, who wrote the politics aspect of the Rambo: First Blood 2 has indeed an eye for current events.

JOHN RAMBO was directed by Sylvester Stallone, who also wrote and co-wrote the scripts of the previous Rambo movies, except for First Blood. Stallone also did most of the directorial work for Rambo: First Blood part II; it was only ghost-directed by George Cosmatos. Stallone did a great job for this movie. It’s not exactly Academy Award material, but for an action movie, this has my thumbs up. I am a big Rambo fan. I grew up watching Rambo, and as a fan, this sequel does not disappoint. EXPLOSIVE THUMBS UP (although it’s not a movie for the faint of heart—or stomach) For the record, I watched this movie twice already, and I would not mind paying to watch it again.

No comments: