(Review originally written at 8 September 2008)

"Rambo" establishes a new world record of limbs flying around. With an average of 2.59 killings per minute, of which some are also innocent civilians such as women and children, this has got to be one of the most violent movies ever made. But its not just the quantity that's amazing but also the quality of it all. Getting an arrow through your head apparently isn't enough, you also need to feel atop of a mine, that has to explode. Obviously "Rambo" is not a recommendable movie just to everyone.

It actually makes quite sense though that this fourth Rambo movie installment is so incredibly violent. You have to remember that the first Rambo movie "First Blood" from 1982 was quite renewing and violent for its time. As the Rambo series progressed with "Rambo: First Blood Part II" and "Rambo III" the movie became more and more violent and actually daring for its time. They could had decided to do "Rambo" in the same style as its predecessors, which probably would had gotten them a good movie as well but instead they decided to keep pushing the envelope and see how far they could go now in the 21th century with its gore and violence. Rambo always had been a trend setter for action movies and with the fourth movie "Rambo" it continues to do so.

Hard to say what it is that makes "Rambo" such a surprisingly fine movie. Perhaps because it shows balls and this movie is basically one big testosterone driven action flick, that will keep your adrenaline pumping throughout. It foremost is a real man movie and I can't imaging too many women enjoying this movie.

But its also a movie of a great quality. The cinematography by Glen MacPherson gives the movie a gritty but beautiful look. But of course its mostly the action that impresses. It's extremely violent but its also done extremely well. Bodies and limbs are flying through the air, limbs are being shot and cut off and the movie features more exploding heads than several zombie movie flicks combined. The movie obviously has some professional stunt-work and pyrotechnics/special effects.

Of course when you start analyzing the movie it simply is a very poor one with a very formulaic but also almost non-existent and developed story. It's just a movie you have to experience. This of course goes for most action movies but for this one even more than others. I just have a thing for over-the-top going movies. The Rambo movies are all an example of this, as well as the Rocky series, which also stars Sylvester Stallone in the main lead.

Despite the fact that he already was well over 60 years old already at the time of shooting this movie, Sylvester Stallone is still convincing enough in his role of the iconic action hero Rambo. As the tag line says; 'Heroes never die.... They just reload.' Besides playing the title role, Stallone also directed the movie, making this the first Rambo movie that he directed. I think that the movie deliberately didn't cast any other 'big' names in it, in order to put the emphasis mainly on Stallone and his character. This is the way it also should be in my opinion. When you have a movie with a character such as Rambo in it, you basically don't need any other interesting characters anymore. Yes, it would had been great if Col. Trautman also had been in the movie, who always had been sort of Rambo's conscience but he isn't missed as much as some people would had expected and feared really. Of course the reason why he doesn't appear in this movie is because the actor Richard Crenna, who played the character in all of the previous Rambo movies, passed away in 2003.

Jerry Goldsmith, the composer of all of the previous Rambo movies had also passed away, in 2004. His replacement for this movie is Brian Tyler, who's expertize is the action genre. He however did not forget Goldsmith's previous scores for the Rambo movies, which means that this movie features a lot of reprising themes, besides its new original compositions.

Probably the most extreme and violent action movie you'll ever see. Clearly not a movie for just everyone but I really liked and appreciated the movie for what it did to raise the bar again within the action genre, just like the previous Rambo movies had done before in the '80's and '90's.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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