Initially I had no intentions of seeing this fourth installment of the RAMBO franchise. Why? Because while I really liked FIRST BLOOD, my memories of RAMBO II and III were of a more campy, 80s-type mindless action film generally made to exploit such traits. Those films, while enjoyable, where not made to be taken with 100% realism - but more rather as "movie-escapism". They were fun, popcorn movies. RAMBO is not that kind of film. In my opinion, this is the BEST film of the franchise (and if not the BEST, it's at least on par with FIRST BLOOD). Does this film have blood and guts and lots of explosions? Yes. But that's not why I watch these films. I'm not a "blood and guts" kind of guy - I can take it or leave it (mostly leave it). If it's thrown in "just to show it", for me it's pointless and a waste of film. But I don't think that that's why this film is so violent. The "blood and guts" of this film has purpose: (1) to show the harsh-reality brutalism of real-world, mindless, evil; and (2) to show the lengths at which one tortured man (John Rambo) is willing to push himself in order to put somewhat of a stop to such "real-world" evil. Many of the violent scenes are hard to watch (innocent people being killed), but they're there for a reason.
Stallone's acting and direction are excellent. As are the supporting actors. As usual, the John Rambo character is quite and subdued. He struggles with who he is (and even despises it), but this film helps to bring those inner struggles to a close by giving him one last opportunity at self-redemption. RAMBO hates WHO he is, and hates WHAT is: He's a "killing machine" - that's what he does BEST ... and he KNOWS IT. This film takes a serious look at a very serious issue (genocide); and inserts one fictitious movie character to see how this larger-than-life "superhero" would handle it - and he "handles" it as only RAMBO can - with blood, sweat and vengeance dished out par excellence.
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