(This is the eighth and FINAL review in a series of reviews of the entire Rocky / Rambo sequence)
Whew! I’m sure glad the Stallonefest is finally over. And I’m even happier to say that I now get to share with you the best video I’ve seen all week:
Unfortunately it’s not a Stallone movie at all — it’s this brilliant sketch from MadTV. Enjoy!
If you’re still interested in Rambo III, I should say that this movie pleasantly surprised me. Rambo III and Rocky III both came off as diamonds in the rough. Like Rocky III, Rambo III doesn’t take itself too seriously. For a moment, Stallone seems to have figured out that his audience primarily wants to see him blowing things up and occasionally cracking stupid jokes. In this regard, Rambo III delivers. Even better, there’s very little in the way of hand-holding chase scenes. We get to see Rambo basically unencumbered by whimpering women or atrophied POWs.
The premise of this film is that Rambo’s former commander has been taken prisoner by the Russians during their 1980s occupation of Afghanistan. Rambo, naturally, wants to rescue him, so he heads to the Pakistan/Afghan border to enter battle alongside the “freedom fighters” struggling to remove the yoke of Russian oppression.
The irony that we can only realize now is that the Afghani freedom fighters of the 1980s included some of America’s biggest enemies today — most notably Osama Bin Laden. It’s fascinating to watch the movie in that context, since otherwise this is the only Rambo that doesn’t problematize the nature of good and evil. The film portrays the good guys as unabashedly good, and the bad guys as downright horrific. Indeed, in an alternate ending offered on the DVD, Rambo is so impressed that he decides to permanently join forces with the Mujahideen, and the film itself is dedicated to the people of Afghanistan.
All in all, Rambo III, and in my book it’s not just the most entertaining Rambo film, it’s the best one.