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Rambo (18)

PUBLISHED: 14:34 29 February 2008 | UPDATED: 13:13 24 August 2010

Sylvester Stallone as

Sylvester Stallone as "John Rambo" while shooting in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo by Karen Ballard

Rambo (18) www.sonypictures.co.uk/ movies/rambo/index.html I feel like I am 20 again - but with arthritis, Sylvester Stallone said of returning to the role of John Rambo after two decades. It s quite an apt comment, really, be

Rambo (18)

www.sonypictures.co.uk/ movies/rambo/index.html

"I feel like I am 20 again - but with arthritis,' Sylvester Stallone said of returning to the role of John Rambo after two decades.

It's quite an apt comment, really, because the same can be said of this self-indulgent, blood-soaked, arthritic shuffle down memory lane.

There's no doubt that Stallone, at 61, can still cut the action hero mustard in the physical stakes, but the crippling weakness of this film lies in the lazily constructed script that, despite its best intentions of highlighting the Burmese civil war (the longest civil war in history, we're soberly reminded at the start of the film), offers little food for thought between the frequent outbursts of spectacular carnage.

Set 20 years after Rambo's last rumble, the film begins in Northern Thailand where, in contrast to the civil war raging in neighbouring Burma, Rambo now lives a solitary, peaceful existence as a boatman on the Salween River.

But, of course, he finds himself back in combat mode soon enough, when a group of missionaries, led by Sarah (Julie Benz) and Michael Bennett (Paul Schulze), ask him to guide them up the river into Burma to deliver medical supplies and food to the persecuted Karen hill tribe people.

He gets them to their drop-off spot safely, but less than two weeks later; he is visited by a pastor who tells him that the group is being held captive in a Burmese army camp.

Despite his reluctance to revive his violent past (his angst is illustrated through an obligatory flashback pastiche of the three previous Rambo films), he agrees to take a group of mercenaries up river into the war zone to rescue the missionaries.

What follows is a relentlessly violent, rollercoaster ride of big guns, big explosions, and big boring clichés that does little more than rack up a staggering body count (reportedly 236 - I lost count around 50) and showcase cheap special effects that were barely acceptable at the time of the last Rambo film.

Even worse, it's all been done before; a snarling Rambo single-handedly takes out the entire army of bad guys; the cavalry shows up just in time, the bad guys suffer incredibly grisly deaths, etc etc.

It's all so Ram-boring....

Damian Tully-Pointon

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