LYT's Film Pick of the Weekend 1-25-08

RAMBO.

I wish I had been watching it last night instead of MEET THE SPARTANS (see review here), but duty called, and my assignment took precedence. I knew what I was getting into. And I also think I know what I'm getting into with RAMBO.

I do have a problem with the title. The second Rambo movie was already called RAMBO, with the sub-heading FIRST BLOOD PART II. Then came RAMBO III, which was actually FIRST BLOOD III, or arguably RAMBO II. So the new RAMBO, sans subhead, is in fact the real RAMBO III, and FIRST BLOOD PART IV. Just calling the damn thing JOHN RAMBO, as originally planned, would have solved the whole problem.

But that aside...I have to confess I've never seen a Rambo movie all the way through. During the '80s, I was so pissed off at the Reagan administration that I didn't want to see this movie that had his endorsement, what seemed to be a propaganda piece designed to make me want to kill Russians. Nowadays, I don't worry so much about the politics of action movies -- in fact, a right-wing worldview generally makes for a better action movie -- but as a kid I was righteous.

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I did watch Stallone in other movies, though, and remember thinking what a cool dad he seemed like in OVER THE TOP. I also loved Schwarzenegger movies, and still do. Even Dolph Lundgren had his moments -- RED SCORPION was a blast back in the day.

And I miss that. Nowadays our action heroes are cerebral and "realistic," like Jason Bourne or Jack Ryan. If they're foreign, they tend to come from Hong Kong nowadays. We're long overdue for a shoot-em-up flick in which an overmuscled monstrosity who amusingly pretends to be a functional human (the daddy-daughter scenes between the Schwarz and Alyssa Milano in COMMANDO are sheer unintended hilarity) goes to some eveil foreign country and single-handedly blows everything up. And since both lefties and righties agree that Burma is a nasty dictatorship, it's a fine place to set Rambo loose and unleashed.

I see that the reviews are skewing negative, but let's look at some of the key quotes, as chosen by Rotten Tomatoes, from the haters:

"...bouts of purely gratuitous violence without a strong plotline."

"The enemies so comically monstrous and their deaths so gory, that you may just throw your head back and roar with laughter"

"a Rambo in serious need of anger management and not too shy to get into a little ripping out of throats with bare hands and selective disemboweling too."

"A brutish, brutal and simplistic orgy of violence."

"All we get is unintentionally hilarious dialogue in which the characters speak lines that not only seem to have been torn straight from the tag lines of movie posters, they seem to have been selected exclusively from films that went direct-to-video."

"combines an unapologetic return to the grand action-movie tradition of blowing **** up with a Saw-era interest in close-ups of human viscera."

"It’s not a movie. It’s an adrenaline pump and purveyor of raw carnage."

Yes, those are the negative reviews. And they all make it sound awesome to me.


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