Yep, John Rambo is back and this time he's loose in Burma. Most of the mainstream critics are appalled [a welcome exception is A. O. Scott in the NYT]. I am not much of a fan of carnage films but I intend to see this one. Harry Knowles explains the appeal:
When Rambo gets started - he makes the nightmare monsters of horror films seem like the cuddly things you hang on a mobile above your baby's crib. He's not just death... he's really bad death. He's the closed casket version of death. No amount of mortician's wax is gonna fix the wreckage that he's going to do to the bodies he comes across... especially when the third act hits.
RAMBO would kick Jason Bourne's pansy ass!
And that, my friends, is something worth seeing.
How is it different, you ask, from the over the top carnage of "Shoot 'Em Up" which I panned? That film undercut itself by trying to wink at the audience saying, we don't take this stuff seriously and you are a fool if you do. But Stallone does take it seriously and, as Scott points out, raises the violence unleashed by his character to mythic levels in the process. It will be good to simply see John Rambo do his thing.
Read Harry's review here.