Rambo (2008)

rambo poster 2008 movie sylvster stallone
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 8/10

'80s action throwback

Still acting and story challenged

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Rambo

Studio:  Millennium Films

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  January 25, 2008

MPAA Rating:  R

rambo sylvester stallone bow

I’m back with my trusty bow of justice!!!

John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is living in Thailand and trying to forget his past.  When he is contacted by Michael Burnett (Paul Schulze) who is leading a group of missionaries into Burma to provide relief, Rambo agrees to go on the behalf of missionary Sarah Miller (Julie Benz).  The missionaries are captured by armed forces, and Rambo takes a group of mercenaries up river to rescue them only as a guide…but fighting seems to find John Rambo, and Rambo will not go quietly.

Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone (with additional scripting by Art Monterastelli), Rambo is an action-adventure film.  Following Rambo III in 1988, it is the fourth film in the Rambo series.  Originally titled John Rambo (the title remained in some countries), the movie was met with a rather strong box office and mixed review.

Rambo is a classic character and a symbol of the ’80s.  Though the ’80s died, the characters didn’t, and it is interesting to revisit these old “heroes” to see if they’ve adjusted to the changing times.  Stallone revisited Rocky in Rocky Balboa in 2006, and now with Rambo, he tries to be an ’80s movie in the 2000s…with some success and failure.

rambo throat rip road house sylvester stallone

I learned this trick from Road House

The movie continues to suffer from the same thing that Rambo films suffered from in the ‘80s.  The first film’s story was a tale of the struggles facing unbalanced soldiers returning from Vietnam, the second film brought the gratuity of violence and made Rambo a hero, and the third film cashed in on the character’s popularity.  Here there isn’t much of a theme other than Rambo must decide the direction of his life (which apparently has been on hold for twenty years).  The exploration of the conflict in Burma seems rather a plot device than an actual exploration of the problem.

Stallone is generally a one trick pony as an actor.  He grunt and broods.  In Rambo:  First Blood Part II and Rambo III he tried to “act” a bit more as the character and this movie he smartly reduces his dialogue and scenes.  He has some back-up with the likable Julie Benz trying to convince Rambo to return to civilization and the pious Paul Schulze who looks down on him.  The mercenaries in the movie show up too late and don’t develop enough.  The movie is dedicated to Richard Crenna who does appear in some flashback from previous entries.  Crenna died in 2003.

rambo mounted gun sylvester stallone bodies explosion

Worst. Backseat. Driver.

What is interesting about Rambo is the violence.  Violence in films have changed and though the ’80s were over-the-top, there is a different tone to violence in film today.  The movie adds a lot of gore and explosion to the violence.  Before everything Rambo shot blew up…now everything blows up…including people (lots of people).

Rambo isn’t a great movie, but it is better than Rambo III.  The movie is what it is…an ’80s action film transported to the modern day.  Though it no triumph of acting or drama, it is watchable.  With the success of Rambo, the franchise returns to life, but no sequel follows until 2019 with Rambo:  Last Blood.

Related Links:

First Blood (1982)

Rambo:  First Blood Part II (1985)

Rambo III (1988)

Rambo:  Last Blood (2019)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response