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Directed by Sylvester Stallone.
Written by Sylvester Stallone and Art Monterastelli.
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Paul Schulze and Matthew Marsden.
Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  1/27/08


One of the critic quotes on the ad for the new film "Rambo" basically says that this "Rambo" makes the other three films collectively look like the G-rated fairy tale film "Enchanted."  It is rare that I agree with this kind of commentary, but I have to admit:

The new "Rambo" film, if anything else, is GRUESOME.  I have the stomach for quite a bit when it comes to movie violence, but even now I am a little surprised this made it into theaters with an R rating and not an NC-17 rating.  The last 20 minutes of this movie are unbelievably intense!

In this fourth film--20 years after the events of "Rambo III"--our man John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is living in Thailand, wrangling snakes and living the life of a man who seems to have retired from a life of saving others by any means necessary.  But, when a group of religious aid workers seek out Rambo to give them a ride into Burma to deliver aid and supplies, Rambo tries to talk them out of it...but, to no avail, so when he drops them off into Burma, he knows there's going to be trouble, and there is, when the group is captured by Burmese soldiers.  So, along with a team of mercenaries hired by the aid workers union (or something; I was unclear on how this was set up), Rambo goes back into the belly of the beast to rescue the people that shoulda never gone into Burma in the first place!

Most importantly, it gives Rambo the chance to exercise that bloodlust so famously on display (and referred to in flashback) during the first three Rambo films.  And boy, does he--people REALLY fucking die during this movie.  Wow...between all manner of body parts being blown apart, guys get their necks and faces ripped off, gutted, blown apart by mines, raped, you name it.  Oh, and of course, this is one of those women-and-children movies, too; kids get shot, mutilated, thrown into fires, etc.  Chuck, Rob and I saw this at the Tysons Corner theaters today, and I'm sure of this: the sound system is VERY good at Tysons, because when one village gets attacked by mortar fire (and that's BEFORE some soldiers show up with flamethrowers and mounted machine guns), I was almost literally ducking for cover.

Wow.  As action films go, this is as far from the PG-13 "violence" as you can get.  But, "Rambo" delivers on the visceral level and should appease fans who like to see guys get lit long as you keep reminding yourself that "it's just a movie", you should be fine.  If this is the end of the road for our man Rambo, it at least made me forget how bad "Rambo III" was.

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09