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Rambo (film)

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Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone
Kevin King, Avi Lerner, John Thompson
Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden, Graham McTavish, Reynaldo Gallegos, Jake La Botz, Tim Kang, Paul Schulze, Maung Maung Khin
Music by
Jerry Goldsmith (theme), Brian Tyler
Release date
January 25, 2008
$50 million
Box office
Preceded by

Rambo (also known as Rambo IV and John Rambo) is a 2008 American action film directed by, written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It is the first Rambo film since the critical flop Rambo III (1988) where, Rambo returns; the film was released in theaters in 2008; starring Sylvester Stallone as Rambo and Julie Benz as Sarah Miller. The film was well-recieved as the perfect conclusion to the series, but could have a sequel in the works.

Plot Edit

Burma is under the iron-fisted rule of Than Shwe and takes harsh stances against the nation's pro-democracy movement. The actual film begins with rebels being thrown into a land mine-infested marsh and forced to run across it before being gunned down by the Tatmadaw Army, while the sadistic Major Pa Tee Tint gazes grimly at the scene while casually smoking a cigarette.

Former U.S. soldier John Rambo still lives in Thailand and now resides in a small village near the Burmese border. He makes a living capturing snakes and selling them in a nearby village. He also fishes with his bow and gives the fish to local monks, as well as transporting roamers in his boat up and down the Salween River. A missionary, Michael Burnett (Paul Schulze), asks Rambo to take him and his associates up the Salween River into Burma on a humanitarian mission to give aid to Karen tribespeople. Rambo, convinced that he wasted his life fighting for false pursuits that changed nothing and angry at the world; refuses, as Burma is a war zone and their work will not make a difference, as it never does. However, Rambo is convinced by the kind-hearted 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 Michael. Upon arrival, Michael says that they will travel by road and will not need Rambo's help for the return trip and he intends to report Rambo for his hostile, albeit necessary, actions. 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, Reverand Arthur Marsh (Ken Howard) comes to ask Rambo's help in guiding hired mercenaries to the village where the missionaries were last seen. After waking him up, Rambo leaves and, unable to rest, builds himself a machete. During this time, he finally comes full circle and realizes that killing is what he is best at, no matter how far he has tried to run from it. 

After an intense boat ride where Lewis, one of the mercenaries, insults him repeatedly, Rambo attempts to accompany them on the rescue mission and grabs his compound bow, but Lewis rebuffs him. They head to the destroyed and abandoned village, where they meet Myint, a Karen rebel that helps guide them. But they are forced to hide from arriving Burmese soldiers gambling with the lives of local villagers by making them run across a land mine ridden rice paddy. They are worried about being discovered and forced to watch the atrocities the cruel soldiers are doing, but Rambo arrives and uses his bow to dispatch every single soldier and save the lives of the villagers. Worried about the soldiers coming after them because of their deaths, and angry at Rambo for disobeying his orders, Lewis shows little care for the lives of the imprisoned missionaries and orders the team to turn around, but changes his mind when Rambo holds an arrow to his eye.

With the help of the Karen, they reach the P.O.W. camp where the missionaries are being held. Schoolboy, a mercenary, shoots all the guards with his rifle and the mercenaries rescue the other missionaries, but Sarah has been captured by a drunk soldier that intends to rape her. However, Rambo arrives just in time and rips out the man's throat with his bare hands, killing him. Rambo helps Sarah escape and finds that the other mercenaries have deserted them for fear of their own lives. Two Tatmadaw soldiers find them and attempt to kill Sarah, but Rambo jumps on her as a human shield, but Schoolboy, the only mercenary that wanted to risk his life by waiting for Rambo and Sarah, kills them and they are able to escape.

The next morning, the Tatmadaw unit finds the hostages missing and organizes a massive manhunt. Rambo distracts the soldiers by ripping off a piece of Sarah's blouse and attaching it to a claymore mine, which he places underneath an unexploded "Grand Slam" bomb from World War II. The dogs sniff out the shirt right as the mine detonates and causes the bomb to explode, causing a gigantic explosion that kills many of the soldiers. Rambo leaves to distract more soldiers while Schoolboy takes care of Sarah. Schoolboy discovers that Tint's men have captured the missionaries and mercenaries and are now beating them severely.

But just as the group is to be executed, Rambo hijacks a jeep-mounted .50-caliber machine gun and engages the Burmese army in a massive gunfight. The resulting chaos provides the mercenaries with weapons and the missionaries with an opportunity to hide. Rambo kills most of the Tatmadaw soldiers with the machine gun, while Karen rebels later join the fight to help Rambo and the mercenaries win destroying a war boat on the way. This decisive intervention of the Karen Rebals completely succeeds and the Tatmadaw unit is wiped out. The cowardly Major Tint attempts to get away, but Rambo intercepts and disembowels him.

Rambo returns to the United States because after he was asked if he had any living family by Sarah, Rambo said that his father might still be alive. A silent last scene shows him walking along a rural highway, past a horse farm and a rusted mailbox bearing the name "R. Rambo" as he makes his way down the gravel driveway and the credits roll.

Cast and charactersEdit


John-rambo b

Poster for Rambo IV.

The director of First Blood, Ted Kotcheff, was a technical consultant for Rambo IV.

This is the first Rambo film where John Rambo uses a pistol. Also the first Rambo film without a helicopter. Most notably, it is also the first Rambo film completely without a scene in which John Rambo is without a shirt, showing his muscles. This is due to Stallone's, extensive tattoo work on both shoulders.

Like its predecessor, Rambo recieved mostly negative to mixed reviews from critics, who mainly criticized the film's excessive, albeit realistic war violence. Another high point of criticism from fans was the heavy use of CGI blood, rather than practical special effects. Despite the massively negative reviews, the film was said to be an improvement over its predecessor. Rambo is considered by some fans to be the best sequel because it delved further into the character of John Rambo, and was the first film to do so since First Blood. The film is now thought of by many as the perfect conclusion to the series.

David Morrell, author of the original First Blood, gave the film a positive review, and stated that Sylvester Stallone understands who the character of John Rambo is supposed to be. Sylvester Stallone stated that he wanted to do something important with the possibly last film in the Rambo series, and not just make another action film. This is why the film is set amongst the events of the Burmese genocide and why there is more drama to the characters.

Reaction from BurmaEdit

At the time of it's release, the movie was banned by the Burmese government. The military ruling party ordered DVD vendors in Burma not to distribute the film due to the movie's content. Despite having never been released there theatrically or on DVD, Rambo is, however, available there in bootleg (illegal) versions. Despite the film being unpopular among some of the population due to the negative portrayal of the Myanmar armed forces, the opposition youth group 'Generation Wave' copied and distributed the film as anti-government propaganda.

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. Also, overseas Burmese have praised the movie for its vivid portrayal of the military's oppression of the Karen people

Possible Sequel Edit


The title card for Rambo.

Main article: Rambo V

Sylvester Stallone has expressed interest in doing another film, Rambo V, but has stated that it will not be a war movie like the others because he would like to take the series in a different direction. The film is currently in "development hell" and it does not look like it will be made anytime soon.



External LinksEdit

Official website

Films: First BloodRambo IIRambo IIIRambo IVRambo V
John Rambo on: First BloodFirst Blood Part IIRambo IIIRambo IVOn-Screen Kills
Cast: Sylvester StalloneRichard Crenna
Video games: RamboRambo IIIRambo on FireRambo: The Video Game

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