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Rambo

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Sylvester Stallone
Produced by Avi Lerner
Kevin King Templeton
John Thompson
Written by Art Monterastelli
Sylvester Stallone
David Morrell
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Julie Benz
Matthew Marsden
Music by Brian Tyler
Jerry Goldsmith
Distributed by Lionsgate (in co-operation with The Weinstein Company)
Release date(s) January 25, 2008 (2008-01-25)
(United States)
02008-02-14 February 14, 2008 (Germany)
Running time 91 minutes
Country United States
Germany
Language English
Burmese
Thai
Budget $50 million[1]
Gross revenue $113,243,155
Preceded by Rambo III

Rambo (also known as Rambo IV or John Rambo) is a 2008 American Action/War film starring Sylvester Stallone returning and reprising his famous role as legendary Vietnam veteran John Rambo. Stallone also co-wrote and directed the film. It is the fourth installment of the Rambo franchise, twenty years since the last film Rambo III. This film is dedicated to the memory of Richard Crenna, who played Col. Sam Trautman in the first three films; he died in 2003. Unlike the previous sequels, this film attempts to keep the serious tone of the original film.

Rambo holds the record with the most kills out of the entire Rambo series, with 236 kills[2] – Stallone justified this in a press conference by saying the violence in the film was to draw attention to the ongoing problems in Burma. It should be also noted that this is the first Rambo film that Rambo uses a handgun as weapon while in the previous films Rambo used mostly machine guns and submachine guns. Including the intake of $41,368,619 in DVD sales, the film's total gross revenue is $154,611,774.[3]

Contents

Plot

The film opens with newsreels of the crisis in Burma. Burma is under the iron-fisted rule of Than Shwe and takes harsh stances against the nation's pro-democracy movement. Rebels are thrown into a mine-infested marsh and then gunned down by the Tatmadaw, while the cigarette-smoking Burmese military officer Major Pa Tee Tint gazes grimly at the scene.

Former U.S. soldier John Rambo still lives in Thailand and now resides in a village near the Burmese border. He makes a living capturing snakes and selling them in a nearby village. He also transports roamers in his boat. A missionary, Michael Burnett (Paul Schulze), asks Rambo to take him and his associates up the Salween River to Burma on a humanitarian mission to give aid to Karen tribespeople. Rambo refuses but is convinced by Sarah Miller (Julie Benz) to take them.

The boat is stopped by pirates who demand Sarah in exchange for passage, which Rambo knows will lead to her rape, torture and most likely death of all on the boat. After negotiations fail, Rambo kills them all. Although his actions save the missionaries, it greatly disturbs them. Upon arrival, Michael says that they will travel by road and will not need Rambo's help for the return trip. The mission goes well until the Tatmadaw, led by Major Tint, attack. They kill most of the villagers and two missionaries and kidnap the rest, including Michael and Sarah. When the missionaries fail to come back after ten days, their pastor (Ken Howard) comes to ask Rambo's help in guiding hired mercenaries to the village where the missionaries were last seen.

Rambo agrees to accompany the soldiers. After seeing the destroyed village, they plan to save the hostages at a P.O.W. camp. Rambo helps Sarah and the others to escape. The Tatmadaw unit finds the hostages missing and organizes a massive manhunt. Everyone except for Rambo, Sarah, and the mercenary "School Boy" is captured. Just as the group is to be executed, Rambo hijacks a jeep-mounted .50-caliber machine gun and engages the Burmese army. Karen rebels join the fight to help Rambo and the mercenaries win. Major Tint attempts to get away, but is personally disemboweled by Rambo.

Encouraged by Sarah's words, Rambo returns to the United States. A silent last scene shows him walking along a rural highway, past a horse farm and a rusted mailbox bearing the name "R. Rambo." Then he sees the mailbox with the name of his father on it. (When previously asked if he had any living family, Rambo said his father might still be alive.) He makes his way down the gravel driveway as the credits roll.

Cast

Filming

Filming started on February 23, 2007 and ended on May 4, 2007. The movie was shot at Chiang Mai, Thailand as well as in Mexico and the United States in Arizona.

While filming near Burma, 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."[4]

Alternative titles

The most recent installment of the Rambo franchise has undergone many name changes during pre-release, and has been known as the following:

  • Rambo IV - The title used in Brazil and Russia (Russian: Рэмбо 4), due to the fact that First Blood was originally released as simply Rambo (or as Rambo: First Blood in Russia (Russian: Рэмбо: Первая кровь)) in those countries and also this is how the film is completely known and referred to as by fans and the public.
  • John Rambo - This was the original working title for the film but was changed because Stallone thought that audiences might think that this is the final film in the Rambo series. In many other countries, the title John Rambo is kept because the first Rambo movie, First Blood, was released as Rambo in many foreign territories.
  • Rambo: Regreso al Infierno - (Rambo: Return to Hell in Spanish) - The name of the film in Mexico and Latin America, and In other Latin countries, the film was re-titled from Rambo: Regreso al Infierno to John Rambo: Vuelta al Infierno (John Rambo: Back to Hell in Spanish) and in some other Latin regions, the film's original title John Rambo still remains.
  • Rambo: El Regreso - (Rambo: The Return) in Chile, as First Blood was also known as Rambo in those territories.
  • Rambo 4: John Rambo - Back to Hell - Singapore title

On October 12, 2007, Lionsgate announced that the film title was being changed to Rambo: To Hell and Back. After some negative feedback from the online community, Stallone spoke with AICN's Harry Knowles[5] and said:

"Lionsgate jumped the gun on this. I just was thinking that the title John Rambo was derivative of Rocky Balboa and might give people the idea that this is the last Rambo film, and I don't necessarily feel that it will be. He's definitely a superb athlete, there's no reason he can't continue onto another adventure. Like John Wayne with The Searchers."

Music

Brian Tyler composed the original score for the film. Stallone wanted Tyler to incorporate Jerry Goldsmith's original themes into the movie. He did not rely on Goldsmith's actual theme, though he used it enough to tie this film to the others, musically, and also based his own theme and orchestrations on the style of the original to maintain the musical series. The soundtrack includes 20 tracks.[6] Brian Tyler also composed the soundtrack to The Hunted in 2003, a film with striking similarities to the first Rambo film, First Blood.

  1. Rambo Theme 3:34[7]
  2. No Rules of Engagement 7:09
  3. Conscription 2:55
  4. The Rescue 4:04
  5. Aftermath 2:33
  6. Searching for Missionaries 7:07
  7. Hunting Mercenaries 2:44
  8. Crossing into Burma 6:59
  9. The Village 1:44
  10. Rambo Returns 2:44
  11. When You Are Pushed 2:26
  12. The Call to War 2:52
  13. Atrocities 1:40
  14. Prison Camp 4:42
  15. Attack on the Village 3:01
  16. Rambo Takes Charge 2:23
  17. The Compound 7:48
  18. Battle Adagio 3:10
  19. Rambo Main Title 3:30
  20. Rambo End Title 2:59

Box office

Rambo opened in 2,751 North American theaters on January 25, 2008 and grossed $6,490,000 on its opening day,[8] and $18,200,000 over its opening weekend. It was the second highest grossing movie for the weekend in the U.S. and Canada behind Meet the Spartans.[9] The film has a box office gross of $42,754,105 in the United States and in Canada and a gross of $70,489,050 in other territories, giving it a worldwide total of $113,243,155.[10]

The film has grossed $41,368,619 in DVD sales, bringing its total film gross to $152,209,706.[11][12][13][14]

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".[15] UCI followed suit in its Republic of Ireland cinemas, which were managed by Odeon.[16] The film was, however, shown in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland 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.[17]

The film was rated R by the MPAA for strong graphic bloody violence, sexual assaults, grisly images and language.

Critical reception

Critical reaction towards the film has been mixed; it earned a 37% rating on movie review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes.[18] In his review for the New York Times, A.O. Scott wrote, "Mr. Stallone is smart enough — or maybe dumb enough, though I tend to think not — to present the mythic dimensions of the character without apology or irony. His face looks like a misshapen chunk of granite, and his acting is only slightly more expressive, but the man gets the job done. Welcome back."[19] Michael H. Price of Fort Worth Business Press wrote, "Stallone invests the role with a realistic acceptance of the aging process, and with traces reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart in 1951’s The African Queen and Clint Eastwood in 1992’s Unforgiven — to say nothing of the influences that the original First Blood had absorbed from Marlon Brando in 1953’s The Wild One and Tom Laughlin in 1971’s Billy Jack."[20] Jonathan Garret (a former writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution) said in an interview: "Rambo is the most violent movie I have ever seen. The last 11 minutes of the film are so violent, it makes We Were Soldiers look like Sesame Street".

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.[21][22]

Reception in Burma

The Burmese military junta has ordered DVD vendors in Burma not to distribute the film due to the movie's content.[23] Rambo is available on bootlegs however, and it is a great hit amongst the Karen Freedom Fighters and Burmese exiles critical of the Burmese military dictatorship.[citation needed] 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."[24] Also, overseas Burmese have praised the movie for its vivid portrayal of the Burmese military's oppression of the Karen people.[25]

Home video release

The DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions were released in the U.S. on May 27, 2008. The DVD is in 1 and 2 disc editions. The Special edition has a 2.40 anamorphic widescreen presentation and a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track. The single editions have a standard 5.1 Dolby Digital track. The Blu-ray Disc has Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS HD 7.1 Tracks. The DVD and Blu-ray on disc one have the film, deleted scenes, 6 featurettes, and commentary by Sylvester Stallone. The Blu-ray also has 2 extra special features, that includes a trailer gallery.

The 2-disc DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions have a digital copy of the film. There is also a 6 disc DVD set of all four Rambo films, packaged in a limited edition tin case with over 20 bonus features. A Blu-ray set with Rambo 1-3 was also released.[26][27][28]

The DVD was released in the UK on June 23, 2008.

Despite its average sales at the box office, the DVD version of Rambo sold considerably well. As of now it stands 19th place of the top selling DVDs of 2008 with 1.7m units sold and an overall gross of $37m. Since the intake of $41,368,619 in DVD sales, the film's total film gross is raised to $154,611,774.[29]

Director's cut

When asked about the moral of the film in a Daily Yomiuri Online interview, Sylvester Stallone mentioned that he will be doing a Director's Cut of the film, which will go by the original title of John Rambo.[30] Nevertheless, the news became most well known after a May 2008 interview with Jay Leno when he announced the work of a director's cut, and that the proceeds would go to Burma. On top of this, an online petition appeared shortly after the announcement in order to "motivate" Stallone in completing this new cut. At the 2008 Comic-Con, it was vaguely announced that the director's cut (or as they labeled it, "extended cut") would be released in 2009, though no other specifics were given.[31] Additionally, the director's cut premiered at the 2008 Zurich Film Festival.[32]

References

  1. ^ Rambo 4 Gets a Budget! - MoviesOnline
  2. ^ "Accurate Rambo Kill Chart". The Imagi-Nation. May 3, 2008. http://www.freewebs.com/the-imagi-nation/rambodeaths.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  3. ^ www.the-numbers.com/movies/2008/RAMB4.php
  4. ^ Sylvester Stallone describes Myanmar 'hellhole' - 03 Oct 2007 - NZ Herald: World / International News
  5. ^ Whoa Whoa Whoa... Who says it ain't gonna be called JOHN RAMBO? - Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news
  6. ^ http://www.soundtrack.net/albums/database/?id=4762
  7. ^ http://www.soundtrack.net/albums/database/?id=4762
  8. ^ Rambo (2008)
  9. ^ Yahoo! Movies - Weekend Box Office and Buzz
  10. ^ "Rambo 2008". boxofficemojo.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=rambo08.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  11. ^ www.the-numbers.com/movies/2008/RAMB4.php
  12. ^ Asian Pacific Post - Rambo’s unusual rescue in Burma
  13. ^ EuroNews - Rambo: Burma activists thank Stallone
  14. ^ The Burma Campaign UK - Rambo Draws World’s Attention to Forgotten Crisis in Burma
  15. ^ "Rambo shot down in flames as cinema chain snubs latest film". The Times. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article3419539.ece. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  16. ^ UCI
  17. ^ "Pas d'écrans suisses pour George Clooney". Sortir.ch]. http://www.sortir.ch/cinema/journal/cinema_dossier. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  18. ^ "Rambo Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. 2008-08-10. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/john_rambo/. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  19. ^ Scott, A.O (January 25, 2008). "Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Jungle". New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/movies/25ramb.html?th&emc=th. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  20. ^ ‘Rambo’ restores Stallone’s signature character to a near-original essence - Fort Worth Business Press
  21. ^ FAQ page at DavidMorell.net
  22. ^ "Rambo's Dad Talks". film.com. http://www.film.com/movies/story/rambosdadtalks/11597472/18284540. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  23. ^ Junta takes aim at latest Rambo movie - Yahoo! Canada News
  24. ^ Rambo (2008) - Trivia
  25. ^ YouTube - Latest Rambo Movie Rouses Hopes in Burma
  26. ^ Rambo DVD Release - DVD Active
  27. ^ Rambo 6 DVD Set - DVD Active
  28. ^ Rambo DVD and Blu-Ray details
  29. ^ www.the-numbers.com/movies/2008/RAMB4.php
  30. ^ "'I want people to be upset': Stallone hopes violence of 'John Rambo' will get people thinking". Daily Yomiuri Online/PopMatters. http://www.popmatters.com/pm/article/58914/sylvester-stallone-hopes-violence-of-rambo-will-get-people-thinking/. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  31. ^ "SDCC 08: DVD Producers Panel". IGN. http://dvd.ign.com/articles/893/893657p1.html. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  32. ^ "Rambo D.Cut premiere". JoBlo. http://www.joblo.com/arrow/index.php?id=13476. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 

External links








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