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RAMBO III

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, June 21, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: With ‘First Blood’ and ‘Rambo: First Blood Part II’ under his belt, Sylvester Stallone made it a trilogy with this one, another hit for the actor-filmmaker (the 16th biggest moneymaker of 1988). Now, each of the first three ‘Rambo’ movies has earned a new 4K release from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, so here’s my review of the third film in the franchise, ‘Rambo III,’ which was originally published in the Deseret News on May 25, 1988. (A fourth film was added to the series in 2008, the simply titled ‘Rambo,’ which Stallone also directed, and a fifth, the cryptically titled ‘Rambo: Last Blood,’ is scheduled for release in September. And perhaps it should be noted that Stallone also wrote or co-wrote all five films.)

Do you find that while you’re watching movies that star Arnold Schwarzenegger or Clint Eastwood or Sylvester Stallone that you are anticipating the moment when you’ll hear the latest memorable tagline?

Schwarzenegger’s “I’ll be back!” Eastwood’s “Make my day!” Stallone’s “You’re the disease; I’m the cure!”

Watching “Rambo III” I realized that the Sly ironic remark has become as expected as Rambo blowing up a helicopter with a crossbow (what would he do without explosive-tip arrows?).

And, true to form, in “Rambo III” there are a couple:

Rambo himself tells the evil Russian colonel “(I’m) your worst nightmare!” And at one point, captured Col. Trautman (Richard Crenna) is asked by the same evil Russian if he thinks Rambo is God. Trautman replies, “No. God would have mercy. Rambo won’t!”

     

Sylvester Stallone, left, Richard Crenna, 'Rambo III'

But dialogue doesn’t matter. Indeed there isn’t much — Stallone probably says fewer words in “Rambo III” than any movie star since Charlie Chaplin.

Those who go to “Rambo” movies go for action. And “Rambo III” delivers the goods, no question about it.

Here’s Rambo shooting at a Russian helicopter with a machine gun. Here’s Rambo setting explosive devices all over the Russian compound. Here’s Rambo in a Russian tank playing chicken with a Russian chopper.

Well, you get the idea. And the most talked about single scene is sure to be the one where Rambo cauterizes a wound by becoming a human incendiary device. Or maybe the one where he blows up a Soviet soldier with the guy’s own grenade.

Indeed, Rambo is almost Indiana Jones on occasion here, and the only guy who carries a bigger knife is “Crocodile Dundee.”

But wait. The review’s almost over and I haven’t given any details about the storyline in “Rambo III.”

There was a story. I think.

     

Oh, yes. The film opens with John Rambo working in a monastery in Thailand, almost as if he’s in “Lilies of the Field” by mistake. Trautman asks Rambo to go into Afghanistan with him to stop a crazed Soviet colonel from torturing innocents. Rambo refuses.

But when Trautman goes it alone and is captured by the crazed colonel, Rambo decides to pay Afghanistan a visit after all.

From there on it’s action sequence after action sequence — and as ridiculous as many of them are, the movie manages to be violent cartoon fun. Some of the stunts are pretty spectacular and Stallone is obviously doing most of his own stunt work.

Fans will love it. Others won’t go anyway.

What more do you need to know?

“Rambo III” is rated R for expected violence and some profanity.