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Reel Critic:

‘Rambo’ will take you back to 1985

February 02, 2008|By Matt Bellner

Those of you who fondly remember the action-packed 1980s as an era of cinematic brilliance, will rightfully be motivated to see “Rambo” for all the right reasons. Americans who look down on the ’80s as a decade of overindulgence and mindless violence should skip Sylvester Stallone’s latest offering and concentrate on the upcoming elections or global warming.

The new “Rambo” picks up 20 years after the last film and John J. Rambo (Stallone) is now living a quiet and secluded life in Thailand.

Obviously, this doesn’t last long or I’d have no movie to critique.

Just after the opening credits, a group of missionaries, against Rambo’s wishes, rent his boat so they can deliver supplies and medical aid to refugees. As dumb luck would have it, Burmese rebels take the humanitarians hostage before they can complete their mission. Rambo is then persuaded to lead a small group of mercenaries to rescue the good Christians and save the day.

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Will he succeed against all odds? Does the body count in the film reach 300? Is the book closed on the Rambo franchise? These very important questions get answered in an incredibly loud and bombastic 93 minutes.

First of all, let me say this. “Rambo” is the best action movie of 2008. Granted, it’s the only action movie that’s been released this year, but that’s beside the point. If you’re looking for old-school explosions, blood and lots of unintentional comedy, look no further than “Rambo.” Everything about this movie screams 1985, except the special effects, which are amazing. The bullets and flesh fly across the silver screen without the annoying use of digital imagery. Real stuntmen make the death scenes look and feel authentic.

To my surprise, our screening in Hollywood was almost sold out. I took six of my closest friends, including two very attractive females, Ramona and Anna. The guy to girl ratio in our theater was around 80 to 1, or about the same as you’d see at a Rush or Iron Maiden concert.

This is a movie for men or for people who are curious to see if a 61-year-old thespian can still kick some serious bad-guy butt.

From a technical standpoint, the cinematography, directing and editing are rock solid. I’ve read numerous reviews that make fun of the script and the acting. It’s a Rambo movie, for god’s sake. Were these so-called film aficionados expecting Hamlet? Reviewers continue to amaze me, and sometimes I even amaze myself because I actually enjoyed this film.

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