Sunday, March 16, 2008

Saturday in the Theater with Rambo

I spent yesterday catching up on some final things I wanted accomplished before my spring break ends (it's back to school tomorrow), and hanging out with some friends I might not see again for a while.

I met some folks from the Dispatch Forums for breakfast and enjoyed it immensely. I've been posting there for years and it was nice to put faces to some of the names.

Then it was on to Winston-Salem to get a haircut (my hairdresser is an hour and a half away from school...so I try to visit her whenever I'm in town), then I met up with my best friend to see Rambo. Yes...Rambo. I was overtaken by a strange urge to see Stallone's latest action flick recently, so she promised we'd go see it once it came to the $2 theater. And, believe it or not, I loved it. Seriously, I had a blast, and no one is more surprised about it than me.

Of course the dialogue is hokey and much of the acting is bad...but you know what to expect going into a Rambo film, and Stallone delivers it in spades.

It is a highly efficient movie that is successful in its aims, and nothing more, which makes it hugely entertaining. It's a ripsnorting, balls to the wall shoot-em-up without any regards for political correctness. It's ideology may be skewed (as a bleeding heart liberal, I would have trouble applying its values to reality), but it's undeniably fun, and I was caught up in it from the get go. So much so I went out and bought a copy of the original First Blood because suddenly I just can't get enough Rambo.

We were practically the only ones in the theater, so when John Rambo first appears on screen, or every time he would appear behind the bad guy to save the day, and I would lean over to my friend and whisper "RAMBO!!" in her ear. This is a highly interactive movie...you can't just sit there and take it. Like Snakes on a Plane before it, this is an audience participation movie.

Once it gets going it doesn't let up, the last 30 minutes is pretty much a dialogue free massacre at the hands of our hero, filled with exploding heads, severed limbs, and spilled viscera.

But it knows its place in the grand scheme of things, unlike the similarly gruesome but oh-so-self-serious Hostel films. Rambo may be violent but Stallone is having fun, unlike Eli Roth who is getting his rocks off on cruelty and suffering. Rambo delivers no more and no less than what is expected of it...and it does it with zest and glee. And it's hard not to appreciate that. I'd see it again in a heartbeat, and for that I give it a pretty solid three stars.

Yeah I know...strange huh?

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