Do you remember the game Operation Wolf? It was a side scrolling first person shooter arcade game where you had an uzi with pretty much unlimited ammo, and a mission – rescue the hostages and help them escape the warzone. With enough quarters, and decent aim, even you could keep the world safe for civil war.
You now know the plot of Rambo 4.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the swift and blinding violence as well as the minimal plot. It harkened happy memories of a simpler time, when movies didn’t need a moral compass or underlying meaning. As Stallone ties up another character from his blockbuster franchises – I’m glad they never filmed another “Stop or My Mom Will Shoot.”
The story goes like this – Stallone lives on the outskirts of a Burmese civil war. He catches snakes, fixes his boat, and generally keeps to himself. Then some Christian peacenicks from Colorado ask for help, they want to get into the war zone to help the people with medicine and the King James bible. Rambo argues against it, refuses to help, and eventually has some sense talked into him by the shining star of this calamity – Julie Benz. Anyhow, they get caught, people die, and Rambo returns to save the day.
I’ve been a fan of Benz since Buffy, Angel, and Dexter – she does what she can and adds convincing emotion to the bullet spray. She and Matthew Marsden – a sniper – pretty much carry the film, everyone else – including Rambo – are just props. I see an even broader future for these two actors – hopefully I’ll get to see more of them on the small and big screen.
Like I said, simple plot, and it works. What ensues is a 90 minute practice in cartoonish near-snuff quality film-making where the bad guys are evil, the good guys are bad, and the rivers run red until the very end. That, and it’s a Rambo flick. Subtract Rambo – and insert WWE flick. There was nothing to really distinguish this film from any other plug and play action flick beyond the level of blood and gore. A good 5 minute montage (you heard me, montage) ties it back to the original films and that’s about it. Rambo, Mercenaries, Christians, oh my.
Still, if you enjoy blood and guts action flicks like I do, and regret the fact that all the best action heroes are now too old or politicians – check it out, it’s worth the ticket price. Don’t expect a Rocky Balboa like swan song though – personally, I’d have preferred a prequel, as I think the real story should be where Rambo came from – not where he ended up.