With Rocky Balboa, Sylvester Stallone accomplished something that I thought was impossible: he made a sequel to a beloved film that somehow apologized for all the other pointless sequels in that franchise and redeemed the character (and my opinion of old Sly’s talents as an actor and filmmaker). I went into Rocky Balboa with an extremely pessimistic disposition (as is my way), and was pleasantly surprised with the final results. I loved every minute of that movie.
And that’s why I was feeling cautiously optimistic when I popped Rambo into my DVD player this week. I didn’t expect a movie as good as Rocky Balboa, but I thought Stallone would be smart enough to tap into what made First Blood work and avoid the mindless action and dubious ideology of that film’s sequels. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only does Rambo suck – bad dialog, terrible story, wooden acting – it’s a horribly bleak film that offended me to no end.
I would have no problem with Rambo’s mindless violence and excessive gore if it wasn’t for the fact that Stallone wants it to mean something, and the message is this: violence is the only way to effectively bring about change.
I shouldn’t be surprised, since the ideology of the previous Rambo films was just as muddled and offensive as anything on display in Rambo. Let’s do a quick recap of the fucking ridiculous political notions found in these films.
First Blood: Ah, Stallone’s monologue at the end...
Why is Rambo a mentally unstable shell of a man? Was it the intense military training? The horrors he saw and committed in
? The alienation Rambo felt after coming home to a country not ready to deal with the young men who served in Vietnam ? that war
Nope. It’s because he couldn’t finish the job. If only Rambo could have been given the resources needed to win
, he’d be as right as rain – because nothing gives one emotional closure like killing a bunch of fools. Oh, and some hippies spat on Rambo when he came back from the war, which made Rambo cry. Am I the only one who watched Rambo’s end monologue and thought of the end of just about every Scooby-Doo episode, when, after being caught, Old Man Peabody revealed his whole dastardly plan. I can imagine Rambo saying, “I was going to bomb that country back to the stone age – and I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling hippies.” Vietnam