Rambo’s back in a splatter-fest

2008-04-14 00:00

Film Review: Rambo | CineCentre | Rating: **

Action: Most violent film ever made is pointless

OH my shattered nerves. Forget Chuck Norris. And forget your punching bag: to vent your frustration, buy a movie ticket to Rambo IV. You’ll come out dazed and confused.

It’s true: this is the most violent film ever made. Sylvester Stallone has one-upped every action director ever. It’s flat-out gritty stuff. But let’s not kid ourselves: it’s a splatter-fest with no point.

Writer-director Stallone’s iconic ’80s action hero John Rambo is now a loner in Thailand (a beautiful corner of the world) and after 20 seconds of screenplay, the effects of the growth hormones are obvious on the 60-year-old (It’s borderline Incredible Hulk stuff, especially when he’s standing alongside some whimsical little Thai dude).

Enter a group of Christian missionaries who ask the grumpy old geezer to take them up into the Burma war zone. Up they go, the missionaries get dropped off and, of course, captured. Enter a group of mercenaries; back up-river they go, with Rambo soon assuming the alpha dog role as he leads the rescue mission. Simple really.

It’s obvious that this isn’t Oscar territory. But underlying the various body parts flying all over the place, besides muddy ground and more body parts, is an obvious awareness of how filmmaking has transformed into an emotionally manipulative industry that prompts a response from a viewer.

For instance, one young testosterone-charged teen in the back row burst into applause after Sly single-handedly slaughtered four soldiers with his bow and arrow. Then followed the chuckles around the cinema.

There’s also an awesome sequence at the end of the film in which Rambo outruns an explosion through the forest. Guaranteed, the average guy (and girl) will be hooked on that scene. It’s compelling. And then? Well, that’s all there is to it really.

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