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Rambo (2008) Poster

(2008)

Trivia

Sylvester Stallone specifically wanted the film to be set in the midst of the most brutal ongoing global conflict that was basically ignored by the public and media. After ruling out established (and well-known) conflicts in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, Stallone talked to international experts who told him about the Burmese junta's mass murder of the Karen people. He then set the movie's storyline in the middle of this genocide.
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Rambo was banned in Myanmar (formally Burma), and bootlegs are a hot item. Burmese Freedom Fighters have even adopted dialogue from the movie as battle cries, most notably "Live for nothing, or die for something." Sylvester Stallone said "That, to me, is one of the proudest moments I've ever had in film."
Maung Maung Khin, who played the Burmese dictator Tint, fought for the Karen Rebels in real life. He was afraid his family would be murdered if he took this role, but he took it anyway.
Julie Benz was cast as Sarah because Sylvester Stallone was a big fan of the TV show Dexter (2006) in which she stars.
Rambo's knife in this film is a primitively built golok made out of a slab of metal as opposed to his expertly crafted survival knives in the other films. Sylvester Stallone actually stayed up all night filming the scene of him forging the knife like you see in the film, although due to time constrictions, he had to do it all at once without cooling the blade. They went through about seven pairs of heat protective gloves due to this. Sly claims after making the knife, he had a rather warm handshake.
Averages 2.59 killings per minute.
Originally, Rambo was supposed to hold the M2 .50-cal. machine gun in his hands and fire it, but when fully assembled the weapon weighed 120 lbs. Sylvester Stallone was still capable of holding and firing it but it was too cumbersome for quick movements, so it was mounted on the back of a jeep instead.
The first Rambo film where Rambo uses a pistol. Also the first Rambo film without a helicopter. Most notably, it is the first Rambo film completely without a scene in which John Rambo is without his T-shirt, showing his muscles. This is due to Sylvester Stallone's, extensive tattoo work on both shoulders, which he started getting in late July 2007.
James Brolin was attached to play the Col. Samuel Trautman role after Richard Crenna died of pancreatic cancer in 2003, but the role was written out of the script. Sylvester Stallone considers the character to have died on the same day as Crenna, who appears in an archival flashback in Rambo (2008).
Many critics and audience members felt that the horrific wounds inflicted by the M2 .50-cal. heavy machine gun in the finale were so gory that it was unrealistic. However, returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who had used the M2 in combat noted that the wounds were quite accurate, and if anything, toned down from reality. In the audio commentary on the DVD and Blu-ray versions, Sylvester Stallone himself makes note of this fact.
The first Rambo film where Rambo works with a team, rather than going solo. It is also the 1st film in the series where Rambo works as a mercenary rather than as a secret government operative.
The first Rambo film directed by Sylvester Stallone.
In his commentary for First Blood (1982), author David Morell cites the inspiration for John Rambo as being World War II hero and later Hollywood actor Audie Murphy. Rambo's last stand in the finale is very similar to the actions Murphy took that resulted in his being awarded the Medal of Honor--manning a 50.-cal. machine gun mounted on a vehicle (in that case, a tank) and singlehandedly holding off hundreds of enemy soldiers, killing dozens. However, in Murphy's case the tank he was firing from had been disabled and was on fire, and the cannon shells and ammunition it was carrying could have exploded at any moment.
The first Rambo film to break the pattern of greatly escalating the budget from one film to the next, it cost $50 million, while it's predecessor Rambo III (1988) cost $63 million.
In many countries, the first installment, First Blood (1982) was re-titled "Rambo", so the title for the fourth installment had to be changed accordingly. In several countries, including France and Germany, the film is called "John Rambo." In Russia, the film is called "Rambo 4."
Ted Kotcheff who directed First Blood (1982), the original of the Rambo series, acts as a technical consultant on this particular installment.
During its long development process, this film went through a number of story premises. One unproduced script featured Rambo living a quiet life with wife and child, until white supremacists kidnap his family. Another found Rambo trying to stop a hostage situation at the United Nations, where he is working as a diplomat, when terrorists (including Rambo's adopted son) take control of the UN headquarters in New York.
During the montage after Rambo is asked to transport the mercenaries, it shows the alternate ending to First Blood (1982) where Col. Trautman (Richard Crenna) would have ended Rambo's revenge on Teasle by shooting him in the abdomen.
Rambo is addressed as "boatman" during the movie. From Greek mythology, "Charon" (the boatman) ferried souls to the land of the dead for money. Burma/Myanmar, with a 60+ year civil war and genocide, qualifies as the land of the dead. Also, the name of the rebel faction is "Karen" which is pronounced like "Charon".
The first Rambo feature in which he utilizes his bow and not his unique explosive arrowheads. In First Blood (1982) he did not employ a bow.
The first Rambo film to depict Rambo fabricating his knife/machete. Rambo III (1988) had a scene of Rambo forging his own knife, although not in the film itself, it is in the deleted scenes of the Ultimate Cut DVD.
The first Rambo film without the music of Jerry Goldsmith, who died in 2004.
Sylvester Stallone intended to make this film before Rocky Balboa (2006), but Rocky was green-lighted by MGM, so he had to put Rambo on hold.
At different points in script development, Luc Besson, Richard Donner and James Mangold were considered to direct.
The name 'Rambo' is mentioned only once in the whole film, namely when Rambo is awoken by pastor Arthur Marsh.
This is the first Rambo film without a companion novel by David Morrell, Rambo's creator. Morell wrote the novel "First Blood", the basis for the first Rambo film (First Blood (1982)), and novelizations of Rambo (2008) and Rambo III (1988).
With the exception of Schoolboy, none of the other mercenaries actually use the same rifles they deployed with. Instead, they requisition the Burmese AKSs/47s and dispatch them with it.
Odeon, a UK cinema chain with more than 100 screens, refused to show the film for 'commercial reasons'.
Thus far, First Blood (1982) and Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) both feature bowies produced by Jimmy Lile, where Rambo III (1988) and Rambo feature a bowie and machete respectively. Both were produced by renowned fantasy knife-smith, Gil Hibben.
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This and Rambo III (1988) are the only Rambo films so far in which John Rambo is not captured by someone or some organization.
This was the first non-"Rocky" film that Sylvester Stallone directed since Staying Alive (1983) 25 years earlier.
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Throughout the movie, Rambo's wearing almost the exact same clothes he wore in the opening scene of First Blood (1982).
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Production started during Thailand's rainy season. This area gets over 40 inches in six months. Sylvester Stallone recalled that the rain "lasted almost 30 days. It just beat on you without mercy."
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While filming near Burma, Sylvester Stallone and the rest of the crew narrowly avoided being shot by the Burmese military. Stallone described Burma as a "hellhole". He said "we had shots fired above our heads" and that he "witnessed survivors with legs cut off and all kinds of land-mine injuries, maggot-infested wounds and ears cut off." Stallone added that he "feared for his life" while shooting. "We were told we could get seriously hurt if we went on. It was horrifying."
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A working title for the film was Rambo: To Hell and Back.
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When asked what his take on the film was, First Blood writer David Morrell said:

"I'm happy to report that overall I'm pleased. The level of violence might not be for everyone, but it has a serious intent. This is the first time that the tone of my novel First Blood has been used in any of the movies. It's spot-on in terms of how I imagined the character - angry, burned-out, and filled with self-disgust because Rambo hates what he is and yet knows it's the only thing he does well. ... I think some elements could have been done better, [but] I think this film deserves a solid three stars".
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First sequel in the series to be released 20 years after it's predecessor, all previous sequels were 3 years apart.
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John Rambo was also hunted by tracking dogs in First Blood (1982).
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On the first day of shooting, Sylvester Stallone tore part of his quadriceps running through the jungle.
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On sunny days, temperatures on set reached 120 degrees.
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The name "Rambo" is only said twice in this movie.
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Julie Benz began working for the U.S. Campaign for Burma after this movie was released. "I can't continue my life without trying to help the situation."
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While in the jungle, the actors carried rubber guns 1/3 the weight of the real weapons.
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Graham McTavish described meeting Sylvester Stallone at his audition was an "out of body experience."
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In an unprecedented move, Europe's biggest cinema chain (and the third biggest in the world), Odeon, controversially refused to show the film on any of its screens in the United Kingdom, blaming "commercial differences". UCI followed suit in its cinemas in Ireland which were managed by Odeon. The film was, however, shown in Ireland and the United Kingdom by other theater chains such as Empire Cinemas, Vue, Cineworld and Ward Anderson. The film was not shown in the French-speaking part of Switzerland due to legal and commercial problems with the distributor, even if it was available on screens of France and the Swiss German-speaking part.
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Sylvester Stallone described the Burmese River as "the most difficult terrain I've ever had to negotiate, including Cliffhanger (1993)."
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The film is currently banned by the Burmese government. The military ruling party has ordered DVD vendors in Burma not to distribute the film due to the movie's content. Despite having never been released there theatrically or on DVD, the film is, however, available there in bootleg versions. Despite the film being unpopular among some of the population due to the negative portrayal of the Tatmadaw, the opposition youth group Generation Wave copied and distributed the film as anti-Tatmadaw propaganda.

According to Karen Freedom Fighters, the movie gave them a great boost of morale. Burmese freedom fighters have even adopted dialogue from the movie (most notably "Live for nothing, or die for something") as rallying points and battle cries. "That, to me," said Sylvester Stallone, "is one of the proudest moments I've ever had in film." Also, overseas Burmese have praised the movie for its vivid portrayal of the military's oppression of the Karen people.
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Vinnie Jones was considered for the role of Lewis.
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Julie Benz was ten years old when Sylvester Stallone played in the original Rambo film, First Blood (1982).
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The entire jungle village was built and had to be moved to avoid being washed away in mudslides.
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Boars are known for their aggressive temperament. One of the boars on set got loose during filming and it took seven men to corral it.
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The haze in the movie's background isn't the weather. Farmers burn forests to create fields for their crops.
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When Slyvester Stallone ranked his preference of the Rambo films on the UK chat show Graham Norton, he ranked this one 2nd.
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John Rambo also fights off a flamethrower in Rambo III (1988).
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Highest body count of any Rambo film (466).

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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