Running Time: 91 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Sylvester Stallone (starring, co-writing, and directing), Ted Kotcheff (director of FIRST BLOOD and WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S) as technical consultant, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden, Hal Hartley alum Paul Schulze, Graham McTavish.Tag-line: "Heroes never die...they just reload."
Best one-liner(s): "Fuck the world. " -John Rambo
Alternate titles: JOHN RAMBO, RAMBO IV: THE END OF PEACE, RAMBO IV: IN THE SERPENT'S EYE, RAMBO IV: PEARL OF THE COBRA, RAMBO IV: TO HELL AND BACK.
Body Count: 236.
Best reason to see it in 3 words or less: Rambo nightmare sequence.
Best socially conscious reason to see it: Banned in Myanmar, freedom fighters have adopted it as a rallying cry, even quoting it on posters and flags. Upon hearing about its effects, Stallone said it was the proudest moment of his film career.
RAMBO movies are like snowflakes. No two are quite the same. FIRST BLOOD is the postwar 'Nam vet experience by way of Jack London-esque survivalism, RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II is like THE DEER HUNTER if it was directed by Ronald Reagan, and RAMBO III is kind of like if Walker, Texas Ranger -not Chuck Norris, but his character- directed a remake of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. After the cartoonish lunacy of III, I was expecting to kind of make fun of IV. I was gonna jump on the bandwagon of people saying Stallone looked like an aged, overweight Native American, etc.
But Stallone has made a genius film here. He's taken Rambo seriously again, something that hasn't happened since part I when he had two time Tony winner BRIAN DENNEHY's talents to play off of. RAMBO IV is as if Rambo himself directed a RAMBO movie, and in this fictional universe where Rambo directs movies, I think his favorite film and biggest influence is SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Actually, this fictional scenario is probably pretty close to the truth. But it doesn't matter, because RAMBO IV spells quality any way you slice it. And it will be sliced, diced, have its limbs blown off, and its kids flamethrowered. This movie is brutal.
And it's brutal because III was so glib, so superficial. RAMBO IV reminds us of the agony and horror that transformed Rambo the civilian into Rambo the instrument. We live in a gruesome world with horrors taking place in its far corners as well as its center stages, and in part IV, Rambo reclaims the fact that he is a man, not not some jingoistic tool to be used and cast aside.
Not since part I when he lashes out madly at his American tormentors have we seen Rambo truly decide to follow his own path, and to see it is a triumph.