RAMBO (**) - Starring Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Paul Schulze, Matthew Marsden, Muang Muang Khin and Ken Howard. Directed by Sylvester Stallone.
Sly said he wanted to do another Rocky movie because he didn't like how Rocky V ended things, and Rocky Balboa was a worthy final chapter to Rocky's saga. He also said he didn't like how Rambo III left that character. Well, for what it's worth, this is better than Rambo III.
I never saw Rambo II, and it's been forever since I saw First Blood and Rambo III, but this movie feels like it could have been made twenty years ago. The dialogue's weak, the characters are paper-thin, and it gives us exactly what we think it will. It sets up a situation for Rambo to go shoot up a bunch of bad guys, and then he delivers on that.
I thought Sly did a decent job inhabiting the character, and I liked some of his directing choices too. He did a few tracking shots that snuck up on me. ("Hey, that was one continuous take!")
The final climactic battle plays like any M-rated video game where body parts go flying when you shoot people. Not as riduculous as Rambo III, as it's trying to make a political point about the inhumanities going on in Burma, but still, it's a Rambo movie. The villains are sadistic thugs who are there to draw our ire until we root for Rambo to blow them away.