Sunday, March 30, 2008

John Rambo

Potentially John Rambo could have had more punch than the boxer movie Rocky Balboa, but it’s a dud. At least with Rocky you had some nostalgia albeit forcefully jammed down the movie goer’s throats with some old clips and locations.

This movie is emotionally dead. Such a big waste of opportunity if you think about it considering its intent was, like Rambo III, to try to bring attention to a war torn country: Burma in this case. But when part III succeeded, part IV failed.

John Rambo had the usual elements of war. There was all this brutal killing of civilians, but the problem is none of whom were any character of note. Genocide notwithstanding I did not feel any emotional connection to slain civilians – who were they; why were the soldiers killing them; what do they do.

And other than having innocents I cannot relate with and probably the biggest problem of this movie is that there is no worthy villain that the audience can hate. On paper, Major Pa Tee Tint (Maung Maung Khin) is supposed to be Rambo’s main enemy. Other than doing young boys at night, I have no idea what this character is supposed to do. I can’t remember if he even fired a gun or even discussed strategy with his men. This Burmese major is so forgettable that I had to look up at if this character even had a name.

The main character, John Rambo, is the only thing right in a movie filled with disappointments only because Stallone looks and feels the part. But unfortunately at least for this sequel the character looked old. I don’t mean physically old, though Stallone has aged a lot since the last sequel; but old because of the lack of fire that was so loved of John Rambo.

Maybe it was the lack of action sequences. Maybe it was the bad script. John Rambo no longer impresses me with fear as a Vietnam Vet and Green Beret with emotional issues. He no longer elicits empathy as a man with nowhere to go. But apparently he has a father no one knew in past sequels. And again like the rest of the film, I saw no father nor heard any talk of who he is.

There is just no depth in anyone in this film. It’s like all the life went with actor Richard Crenna (god rest his soul) who played Col. Trautman, Rambo’s sidekick and Commanding officer. Now there was the time when this franchise had decent banter.

The movie ends with Rambo walking into the farm of his father. If we go by Stallone’s age, that father should be just about 80 years old. Maybe the character has other family, then maybe Rambo is his only heir, but hopefully this is the end of the road for our favorite Green Beret. Let him be the son he never was to his father. No more missions!

Let’s not resurrect characters that should have been retired already!