John Rambo's former Vietnam superior, Colonel Samuel Trautman, has been assigned to lead a mission to help the Mujahedeen rebels who are fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but the Buddhist Rambo turns down Trautman's request that Rambo help out. When the mission goes belly up and Trautman is kidnapped and tortured by Russian Colonel Zaysen, Rambo launches a rescue effort and allies himself with the Mujahedeen rebels and gets their help in trying to rescue Trautman from Zaysen.Written by
A comparatively well-written opening 30 minutes gives way to the usual overblown one-man-army stuff
Living in a Buddhist monastery, making his living off illegal fights when he is approached by Colonel Trautman and Robert Griggs for help in a mission into Afghanistan to help fight the Soviet invasion. Rambo refuses and Trautman goes in alone but is immediately ambushed and captured. When Rambo hears this he throws off his peaceful ways and joins forces with the Mujahedeen rebels to launch a daring rescue mission deep behind enemy lines in Afghanistan.
Having seen Rambo's I-III in the last three weeks thanks to BBC3 I feel I have seen the series in the way I would like to have all at once and as quickly as possible. I didn't think much of part 2 and was prepared for an even more overblown part 3 however credit where credit is due, it is better than part 2 even if that is not saying a great deal. The film opens surprisingly well apart from a silly opening fight scene (he's a Buddhist right?) that is made even funnier by the fact that it has been spoofed by Hot Shots 2 really well. However after this nonsense we get a lot of dialogue that is actually quite good: funny ('it's blue'), interesting, sharp ('where is the glory here?') and quite a balanced look at the situation. Sadly, after 30 minutes of this the film starts to realize that people who have come to the cinema to see Rambo 3 have probably not come for the dialogue and hence we get down to a series of big action set pieces where Rambo takes on the world single handed.
Needless to say the film becomes a by-the-numbers affair from here on in baddies who can't hit a barn door, indestructible Rambo, young Afghan orphans in peril, cruel Russians, big explosions, OTT death scenes and so on. If this is all you want then you'll pretty much get what you're after; for my money the action was all a bit silly and overblown to be really involving zero tension and only the spectacle value of the action to keep you watching. As such I found it to be an average film at best but one that I quite enjoyed watching as a dumb action movie. To it's credit it does manage some funny lines during the rest of the movie ('surrounding them is out') but it is apparent to all that the script writer hats were taken off halfway through and replaced by the 'lets blow it all up' hats when Rambo faces down an entire Soviet army unit you pretty much know that this is not designed to tax your brain or be taken seriously!
The cast pretty much match their material. Stallone manages to have completely robbed Rambo of the interesting elements he had in First Blood and the attempts to give him depth by sticking him in a monastery for 10 minutes is just laughably inept! Crenna seems to enjoy himself in an undemanding role that allows him to do more shooting that the other films but that's about his lot. De Jonge is a better Soviet than the ham that was Berkov but he is still a pantomime villain most of the way through. Smith is a well known face but that's amount the limit of his value in this film although local support from Focás (there's a carry-on joke in there somewhere), Gabai and particularly Shoua as well as others are OK considering they are really just background or fodder.
Overall this is better than Rambo 2 simply because the writing is better in the first 30 minutes and it has some funny lines during the action, however this isn't saying much. The majority of the film is a big dumb action movie of the 'one-man-takes-on-the-world' ilk, if that's your thing then you'll love it, personally I prefer to be involved in the film and be tense and excited. Despite this I still enjoyed it a bit but only for what it was lots of things blowing up in stupid and OTT ways. Good for teenage boys (of all ages) but really not much worth for anyone else.
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