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Vol. LXII, No. 5
 
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
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Cinema

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.


DON’T WORRY, I’LL GET US OUT OF HERE SOMEHOW: Rambo (Sylvester Stallone, right) reassures his girlfriend Sarah (Julie Benz) that he will figure out a way to safely escape the clutches of the Burmese soldiers who were holding her hostage.

Rambo IV: Stallone Is in His Sixties and Still Saving the Day

Sylvester Stallone may be in his sixties, but he hasn’t lost the skills necessary to writing, directing or performing in action movies. He proved that a year ago with Rocky VI, which was essentially a remake of his Academy Award-winning Best Picture of 1976. And now he does it again in Rambo 4, a revival of the charismatic character he first introduced over a quarter century ago. John Rambo is a Vietnam War hero from Texas whose post-traumatic stress disorder was compounded by the fact that the veterans of his era weren’t welcomed back to America with open arms.

As the latest installment opens, we find him living alone on the banks of the Salween River in northern Thailand. He has finally made peace with his tortured past and now divides his time between fishing on his longboat and catching poisonous snakes in the jungle. Even though there is a decades-old civil war raging just across the border in Burma, Rambo has no interest in venturing anywhere near the conflict.

Everything changes when missionaries from the Christ Church of Colorado arrive, announcing their plan to bring Bibles and much needed medical supplies to the victims of the ethnic cleansing taking place in Burma. Having heard that Rambo is the best river guide in the region, the nave missionaries ask him to take them into Burma aboard his rickety longboat. After repeatedly telling them in no uncertain terms to “Go home!” and warning that “You’re not going to change anything,” he succumbs to the entreaties of Sarah Miller (Julie Benz) who wraps him around her little finger and gets him to ferry them into the war zone.

Unfortunately, a couple of weeks later a panicky Pastor Marks (Ken Howard) shows up saying that his parishioners have been taken hostage by the Burmese army and that the U.S. embassy has refused to get involved. Afraid that Sarah is in mortal danger, Rambo reluctantly picks up a gun again and leads a rag-tag team of mercenaries on a bloody rescue mission.

At this juncture, the movie morphs into the familiar fare associated with the high body-count Rambo franchise, replete with hand-to-hand combat, automatic weapons, and visually captivating pyrotechnics. The film dehumanizes the Asian bad guys by portraying them as sadists and godless rapists who are lusting for Sarah.

Not to worry, geriatric Rambo still saves the day!

Very Good (3 stars). Rated R for profanity, sexual assaults, grisly images, and graphic violence. Running time: 95 minutes. Studio: Warner Brothers.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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