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Rambo III
1988 - R - 101 Mins.
Director: Peter MacDonald
Producer: Buzz Feitshans, Andrew G. Vajna, Mario Kassar
Written By: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Marc de Jonge, Kurtwood Smith, Sasson Gabai
Review by: John Ulmer
John Rambo has become a type of screen legend. Whereas Arnie had multiple famous characters - The Terminator, Douglas Quaid, Dutch Schaeffer, etc. - Sly only really had two: Rocky Balboa and, of course, Rambo. But by this point in the film's series, John Rambo has become more than a man. More than a hero. John Rambo has become a movie franchise.

In this film, Rambo is practicing to be a Buddhist monk out in the middle of the Middle East - by kicking butt and raising money for the local Buddhist chapel. When an old comrade of John's asks for his assistance in some matter of war in Afghanistan, Rambo, being a strong, peace-loving, butt-kicking, machine-gun-toting, greased-up Italian Stallion, says no. But when he finds out his comrade has been held captive by those nasty Afghies, he rushes out farther into the Middle East to serve up some fresh Afghanistan carcasses! Yee-haw!

Sylvester Stallone has claimed he is returning to this film franchise as soon as he's done milking - er, filming - "Rocky VI." When I heard this, I thought back to the image of a younger John Rambo. I wondered what a near-sixty-year-old Rambo would look like. And then, after torturous mental anguish and personal pain, I finally got a mental picture of an older John Rambo. And Reader, when I did finally picture this, I also realized that I didn't really care to see another Rambo action flick after "Rambo III." At all. In fact, I think I'd rather die.

I've never seen "First Blood," a.k.a. "Rambo," nor "Rambo: First Blood Part II." All I know is what I have heard, and that is that the films are action classics. Do people look for actual quality in "Rambo" movies? I think anyone that does has a serious hole in their head. No, people look for action. Does "Rambo III" have lots of action in it? Sure does. Big explosions? Yep. Mountains of muscle? You betcha. But it isn't entertaining. WHAT? You heard me. It isn't entertaining. WHAT? Please, once was enough. Anyway, yes, it wasn't, isn't and never will be as entertaining as it could and should have been. And though there were tons of explosions, they became a bore after a while. Smart action films with explosions are fun to watch because (a) the explosions and shoot-'em-up action and (b) the plot. "Rambo III" has no plot - it is a wondering spectacle there for a simple purpose: To show lotsa explosions. And show lotsa explosions it does. But they just get tiring. So does watching Sly prancing around like an overfed, overbred, over-steroided ninni in a loin cloth with long, flowing locks of black, greasy hair. Can someone say, "Tarzan"?

This isn't quality action spectacular like "Die Hard," this isn't a smart, mean, vicious tale with a sharp focus such as "The Terminator" - it's just an action flick, and a pretty mind-numbing one at that. I felt like I wanted to fall asleep during this movie, and if that isn't a bad sign, nothing is.

The film is there for no reason. The plot, what little of it there is, is just an excuse for explosions, as I said before. We are led to believe that Rambo has been brought back to the battlefield to save an old comrade. But as I watched the film, I gained a sneaky feeling that the only reason Rambo was really returning was because he was getting paid 20 million for this flick. And that ain't a bad racket. No wonder Sly wants to do another.
Movie Guru Rating
Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable. Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable.
  1.5 out of 5 stars

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