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  Publicity Stills of
"Rambo 4"
(Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Action/Adventure
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Paul Schulze, Matthew Marsden, Graham McTavish, Rey Gallegos, Tim Kang, Jake LaBotz, Maung Maung Khin, Ken Howard
RunTime: 1 hr 33 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: M18 (Violence)
Official Website: http://movies.break.com/rambo/

Opening Day: 24 January 2008


Twenty years after the last film in the series, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has retreated to northern Thailand, where he's running a longboat on the Salween River. On the nearby Thai-Burma (Myanmar) border, the world's longest-running civil war, the Burmese-Karen conflict, rages into its 60th year. But Rambo, who lives a solitary, simple life in the mountains and jungles fishing and catching poisonous snakes to sell, has long given up fighting, even as medics, mercenaries, rebels and peace workers pass by on their way to the war-torn region.

That all changes when a group of human rights missionaries search out the "American river guide" John Rambo. When Sarah (Julie Benz) and Michael Bennett (Paul Schulze) approach him, they explain that since last year's trek to the refugee camps, the Burmese military has laid landmines along the road, making it too dangerous for overland travel. They ask Rambo to guide them up the Salween and drop them off, so they can deliver medical supplies and food to the Karen tribe. After initially refusing to cross into Burma, Rambo takes them, dropping off Sarah, Michael and the aid workers...

Less than two weeks later, pastor Arthur Marsh (Ken Howard) finds Rambo and tells him the aid workers did not return and the embassies have not helped locate them. He tells Rambo he's mortgaged his home and raised money from his congregation to hire mercenaries to get the missionaries, who are being held captive by the Burmese army. Although the United States military trained him to be a lethal super soldier in Vietnam, decades later Rambo's reluctance for violence and conflict are palpable, his scars faded, yet visible. However, the lone warrior knows what he must do...

Movie Review:

I can fully comprehend if you don’t understand the existence of John Rambo or Rambo 4 in this review context. For God’s sake, the man has been around for ages in cinematic history since 1982 to be precise. Many young cinema-goers won’t have much idea about the character Rambo perhaps the sheer mention of the name Sylvester Stallone might still ring a bell.

As a Vietnam War veteran, Rambo in the past had been recruited for secret operations and has even fought the Soviets but for now, he is living in recluse in Thailand, catching snakes and collecting scrap metal for a living. That is until a group of Christian missionaries enlisted the help of Rambo to transport them to Burma where the merciless Burmese military rule. No prizes for those who managed to guess what will happen in the second act.

Stallone who co-wrote the script infused real-life documentary footages of the atrocities committed by the Burmese/Myanmar military during the opening of the movie. Rape, villagers being brutally killed and shots of highly-decomposed bodies are just some of the highlights. This is enough to capture your attention. Effectively, Rambo 4 is a one-man mission against many. Which instalment of the Rambo series is not?

However with one exception this time round, the mission seem genuinely real. John Rambo is fighting an existing enemy. You heard of missing missionaries and people being captured by militias in the news all the time. And Stallone never shy from the reality. The level of carnage here is not for the squeamish. Bodies being blown up by landmines and dismembered limbs are everywhere. There’s even a shot of a child being bayonet. You get the picture.

Last year, Stallone manages to redeem his flagging career with the success of “Rocky Balboa”. But with “Rambo 4”, the message is never clear, it started out on an educational tone but ended with a 30 minutes finale that will make “Saving Private Ryan” and even the “Saw” franchises look even tamer than a lion.

By the time the credits rolled, all you remembered you just walked down memory lane with an old friend, John Rambo accompanied with the familiar themes from the late Jerry Goldsmith. Yes his trademark bow and arrows are still around. John Rambo uttered the words, “Live for nothing or die for something”. This perhaps best sum up Stallone’s way of ending this well-known franchise.

Movie Rating:

(Rambo 4 is pure escapism)

Review by Linus Tee


. Rocky Balboa (2006)

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