I don’t often stop watching a movie at home or walk out of a showing in a theater. I have suffered through some terrible movies from beginning to end, just to see how the movie turns out. It takes a very special, in a bad way, kind of movie to make me stop watching. Rambo is one of those special bad movies. I watched about a third of the film before I stopped the Blu-ray, ejected the disc and moved on with life.
I tried to sit through more of the film, but I couldn’t. First, there was a lack of any inciting incident in the first act to setup the conflict for the protagonist. Yes, there are hints of a “bad guy” in the Burmese General and his hilariously over-the-top violent soldiers. But, after 30 minutes of meandering, the protagonist, Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has yet to meet this General. Who Rambo does meet are some missionaries who want a ride up river. These missionaries include Burnett (Paul Schulze) and Sarah (Julie Benz). At this point, the movie feels like it’s floating down the river without a paddle.
The first thirty minutes (and I assume the rest of the movie) included some moments of quiet. There are picturesque shots of landscape, montages of Rambo being an everyday man (ie. catching king cobras and machining propeller blades) and the wooden acting of just about every English speaking actor. These quiet moments are punctuations to the longer sequences of violence.
The violence is not only over-the-top, it is gory, persistently in-your-face and plain horrific. It is hyper-violence pretending to be an action scene. Maybe that’s what Stallone (who directs) was aiming for – hyper-violence in order to show the horrors of war. If that’s the case: Bravo, mission accomplished. If not, it is just violence porn. I did not find either approach in anyway entertaining.
So, yes, take this write up with a grain of salt. I did not finish the movie, I could not finish the movie and I would not finish the movie. A movie full of exploding human bodies, limbs blasted into the air and bloody bits dropping from the sky… that is not the kind of movie that I want to subject myself to.