This was truly a special year at the movies for me. I got to see a brand new Rocky, Die Hard and Rambo movie all with the original actors. That is truly my childhood.
Rambo is the best Rambo since First Blood. First Blood was a fantastic movie, tragic for its commentary on how we treat our veterans, and awesome for turning backwoods America into a war zone. Rambo is more like the sequels with John Rambo on a rescue mission with big kills, not survival.
We pick Rambo up gathering snakes for a Thai snake show. Yes, Rambo gets the motherf***in' snakes for the motherf***in' show. He's obviously disgruntled, blatantly says, "F*** the world." That's where he is now, and rightfully so given what he's been through.
His simple philosophy is resigned, yet it's kind of true. Look where we are. Yet he gives in to the hopeful missionaries, but more to protect what he considers the naïve one than to buy into their philosophy. And the way things go, he's only proven right.
We get some flashbacks and vague references to Rambo's past just to ensure the chronological connection. The missionaries do some good deeds, helping maimed children, but not for long. When the violence happens, it's bloody limbs and guts spraying around.
The violence is extreme but the point is reality. You bring a pretty blonde girl on a missionary trip a corrupt militia country, and they're going to want to rape her. Rambo knows that, she even knows that, so the film does not shy away from it. This isn't one of those happy war films where they just shoot people. In real war, sh** happens.
But let's not get too deep, because this movie is all about fun. Stallone knows how to build and release tension. Confrontations build to violence, pursuits build to escape or not, traps lead to explosions and the whole movie builds to an insane final battle full of glorious gore.
You've got to respect the creative gore. Anyone can just show body parts and innards. Stallone came up with all sorts of new ways to explode and dismember people. There is massive carnage and destruction. This is Rambo's most thrilling adventure yet.
Stallone is back. Rambo is back. It even ends with a nice bookend to First Blood. You might pick apart some of the plot or some of the mercenary dialogue, but that's not the point. The point is to give Rambo fans the ultimate Rambo movie.