Sylvester Stallone tried to give a proper farewell to his world known character Rocky Balboa last year after 5 movies, and he pretty much did it with dignity. Now, he attempts to do the same with John Rambo. The outcome is as much ugly as it is sad.
Rocky Balboa was a film about a former boxer, a beat down character that spectators might like or even feel genuinely sorry for. Speculating on that, Stallone went along (although falling off the simplistic melodrama cliff more than once as expected) and nailed the ending with great boxing action and one last deserving moment of shine for an average man’s hero. But a lean mean killing machine that finds himself again in ripping off guts with his hands is a bit too much to root for in any other way but for laughs.
Rambo could be a good senseless gut-fest if it didn’t start off with documentary images of the Burma civil war victims or continue with a lot of talking from those obnoxious American church people. Unfortunately Stallone couldn’t help putting some sort of message to Rambo’s walk away fest, projecting him as a product of the system who just can’t get away from what he was shaped to be: a bad ass commando super-killer. So, he puts that to use for a good cause.
Obviously, the bad guys kill and rape without pause plus they shout incoherently without making any sense whenever they open their mouths. That should work fine if the head mercenary didn’t give that self-righteous speech about how he does it to feed his wife and three kids. Kind of a too obvious blow to the spectator’s intelligence here, though he gets his foot blown off later and i couldn’t help liking that.
On top of the whole lack of self-awareness came the bad CGI explosions and slaughtering that looked like they were copied from some computer game. They looked so cheap and unrealistic that i laughed (out of embarrassment i think) even before some poor guy got split in half by a machete or an explosion.
Unfortunately Rambo is sadder than Stallone’s permanent facial expression. It’s badly directed, looking too cheap for a 2008 war movie and exploits its main character rather than dignifying him as a proper farewell would. At least he was right about one thing: when you’re pushed… giving an “F” is as easy as breathing.