- "I’m very happy because I wish the director’s cut had been the actual cut. The problem with releasing a film is when you revisit it a year or some later you see all the wasted possibilities that you didn’t pay attention to the first time because of a rushed schedule. The new one has a great deal more heart to go along with the physicality of the film."
- ―Sylvester Stallone on the extended cut.
The Extended Cut of Rambo is seven minutes longer than the theatrical version yet doesn't show any additional scene of violence. For many fans who had initially hoped for some new extreme content (and whose focus for the evaluation of Rambo was mainly on the depiction of gratuitous violence) this new cut is even a step backwards. Stallone even cut some violent scenes. One example is the scene with the missionary whose legs were severed by an explosion. The two versions are very different from another when looked at them in detail. The prolonged version has not only just been filled with additional content, but is also missing some scenes, be it partly or completely, which are contained in the theatrical version. So there is much more new material in the new version than the runtime difference seen below suggests. Stallone has inserted deleted scenes, placed some scenes differently, and worked on his main concern, the relation between Rambo and Sarah, often quite minutely. In this respect, he well succeeded as in the Extended Cut, it gets much clearer that Sarah is an important person for Rambo, who is risking his life for her. In the theatrical version, the old chap comes along a lot grumpier and repellant whereas in the Extended Cut more emotion is involved without resorting to overly pathetic scenes or ones too obviously pointing in that direction.
Differences between theatrical and extended versionsEdit
- There are a total of 103 differences, being:
- 44 scenes with alternative material
- 20 scenes removed from the theatrical version
- 12 extended scenes with alternative material
- 10 additional scenes in the DC
- 8 extended scenes in the DC
- 8 shortened scenes in the DC
- 2 extended scenes in the theatrical version
- Stallone originally wanted the film to be called John Rambo, similar to Rocky Balboa. However, studios wanted to leave the door open for further sequels, so they wanted to avoid naming the film similar to Rocky's last film.
- The Director's Cut is unrated, as most Director's Cuts are.
- To begin with, the first huge difference. Whereas the theatrical version steps on it right from the start with the land mine scene in the rice field, the Extended version starts in a lower tone with a presentation of Rambo's life at the moment.
- The film features an extended scene of Rambo and Sarah talking in the rain.
- Rambo cuts Sarah's bonds and tells her they're leaving the camp.
- Major Tint yells at a boy, tears open his shirt and throws him on the ground where he additionally kicks him. Then the boy gets back in line. In the theatrical version, there is only a shot from the side of Tint yelling.
- The Tatmadaw murders of two children are cut.
- Major Tint groping the boy is cut.
- Some frames of Schoolboy's gory headshot with a .50 caliber sniper rifle are cut.
- Sarah talks to Rambo about feeling guilty. Rambo tells her that it's "everybody's fault".
- Overall some violence is cut or expanded on and the characters, particularly Rambo, talk more.
- Sylvester Stallone wanted to make it more of his film, so he restored some previously deleted scenes that added to assist in character development and make the flow of the film more coherent. This is similar to First Blood or Rambo: First Blood Part II, because there is less action and time for more character screen time.
- There is an additional scene where Priest Marsh looks after Rambo who is starting towards the rescue mission with the mercenaries on the boat.
- In the extended cut on the boat, Lewis walks away from Rambo smirking and slightly shaking his head.
- In the extended cut, Schoolboy talks to Rambo some more and reveals that he was with the SAS along with Lewis.
- Rambo recognizes a wound on Sarah's foot and takes the time to bandage it, despite Sarah's protests, claiming that she doesn't want to slow them down.
- The ending is lengthened with Sarah looking at Rambo longer and Rambo is shown leaving, walking next to the truck. In the theatrical version, it cuts after Rambo turns around, not showing him actually walking away.
- Some great dialogue between Rambo and Sarah that was cut from the theatrical version is restored: "Go live your life 'cause you've got a good one." "It's what I'm trying to do." "No, what you're trying to do is change what is." "And what is?" "That we're like animals! It's in the blood! It's natural! Peace? That's an accident! It's what is! When you're pushed, killing's as easy as breathing. When the killing stops in one place, it starts in another, but that's okay... 'cause you're killing for your country. But it ain't your country who asks you, it's a few men up top who want it. Old men start it, young men fight it, nobody wins, everybody in the middle dies... and nobody tells the truth! God's gonna make all that go away? Don't waste your life, I did. Go home." (Some of Rambo's dialogue was worked into the theatrical cut, when he was forging his machete, symbolizing Rambo coming full circle)
- Sarah: It's like the same view goes on forever. It's so empty out there.
Rambo: Just looks that way.
Sarah: You know, you never told us your name.
Sarah: John. Lived here a long time?
Rambo: Long time.
Sarah: Where you from?
Rambo: Bowie, Arizona. Small place.
Sarah: What did you do there?
Rambo: Worked horses, mainly.
Sarah: Why'd you leave?
Rambo: I got drafted in Nam.
Sarah: Long time ago.
Rambo: Long time ago. Lot of years.
Sarah: And you just stayed?
Rambo: It's complicated.
Sarah: You have family back home?
Rambo: Father maybe. I don't know.
Sarah: Aren't you curious to see how things might've changed back home?
Rambo: Got to have a reason for that. What do you do stateside?
Sarah: I teach. Sixth grade. What?
Rambo: Now I know why you ask so many questions.
Sarah has to smile. Michael sees it and feels the need to intervene.
Michael: Any idea how much longer?
Rambo: Yeah, just a few more hours.
Michael: Maybe we should give the man his space. We should go over the schedule, okay?
Michael sits down again. Sarah looks to Rambo.
Sarah: We're engaged. He's a good man.
Rambo: That's good.
Sarah: I know you think you live alone out here, but there's always something pushing you. (This scene makes Michael a little less harsh and further develops Rambo and Sarah's relationship, and how someone caring about him brings out the best. Rambo was more unpersonable in the theatrical version)
- Marsh's Prayer: "Yes. Lord, make me your instrument of peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. Grant that I may not seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that we receive. It is in dying that we awake to eternal life." (Rambo requests that Reverand Marsh say a prayer for the missionaries, this is cut in the theatrical version)
- (Alternate village scene) Rambo: 'No, you're not.' Lewis: 'What did you say? I don't give a fuck who you are. You say another word and I swear on my kid's eyes I'll kill you. Let's go.' Rambo:'You're not going anywhere.' (this scene also features a frightened expression on Lewis's face when Rambo pulls his bow on him, as opposed to the blank stare he gives Rambo in the theatrical version.)
- (Alternate compound scene) Lewis: And if you risk your life one more time, I will fucking take your life right here.