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Monday, July 14, 2014

Rambo (2008) - The return of the reluctant hero - starring Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz and Paul Schulze

Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as the Vietnam War veteran John Rambo (previous ones include Rambo/Rambo IV/John Rambo) in 2008, twenty three years after he appeared in the first series in 1982; there have since been sequels, Rambo being the latest, directed and written by Sylvester. The film and audiences will miss the familiar face of Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna), who unfortunately  passed away in 2003 (and to whom the movie was dedicated). It’s been two decades since his narrow escape from the Russians in Afghanistan where he went to rescue American soldiers. Now, his presence is commandeered not by the government, but by a priest, who seeks his help in rescuing missionaries held hostage by the Burmese military regime.
Major Pa Tee Tint  (Maung Maung Khin) is a cold hearted killer, and he heads a band of soldiers of the Tatmadaw or Mynmarese Armed Forces through the dense tropical jungles of Burma, looting and instilling fear in the hearts of simple village folk who are at the receiving end of the soldiers’ brutality. The Major sends in the villagers to clear land mines, watching them die without any remorse, his men forcibly conscripts young men, even children into the Tatmadaw.

John Rambo now lives in Thailand, in a border village close to Burma. He earns his living ferrying people down the Salween River or selling snakes. A priest and missionary Michael Burnett (Paul Schulze) seeks his help when a group of missionaries are in trouble, they were captured on a mission to lend aid to the Karen tribe. At first, Rambo refuses, saying he has no hope of being of help unless he has weapons; however, another woman, also a missionary , by the name of Sarah Miller (Julie Benz) persuades him and he agrees to help out.
As they travel the River, they are confronted by pirates, who want to trade a safe passage in exchange for Sarah. John tries to make them see sense, when all else fails, he shoots them down and dumps a body to conceal the event, whilst burning the others. The priest, Michael is mortified at the blatant display of violence, and he tells Rambo that once the missionaries are safe, his services will not be needed. He agrees, and all seems to go well, until the Tatmadaw fall on them, killing two missionaries, and taking the priest and Sarah hostage. When the missionaries go missing for over ten days, Rambo is once again beseeched to help, by a pastor (Ken Howard), who now has with him hired mercenaries who will aid him in the mission.
Rambo sees Sylvester Stallone considerably aged, but still sporting the trademark long hair and bandana. The film never went down well with the critics, however audiences welcomed the older John Rambo, in a role without the support of his shadow, the Colonel. Owing to the negative portrayal of the Tatmadaw, the film was banned in Mynmar. The film crew and Stallone faced a number of dangers as they shot the movie, they were sitting ducks for the Burmese Army, who fired at them many times - add this to the outcome, the thrill is definitely there, even after more than two decades!

Rambo (2008) - The return of the reluctant hero - starring Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz and Paul Schulze

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