People applauded at the end of 'Rambo.' Including me.

Rambo_lHere are the reasons I enjoyed Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo, or what my colleague Marc Bernardin has affectionately dubbed “the best movie 1986 never gave us.”

You can actually summarize the plot in one sentence: After reluctantly leading a group of naive missionaries into war-torn Burma, Rambo reluctantly busts their captive asses out. Sometimes, you don’t need five intertwining story lines. (Stallone’s scary-big forearms are mystery enough.)

Rambo’s “thousand-yard stare”: That’s what one of the mercenaries on Rambo’s team calls it. And after four films, I still love it. Sometimes, you don’t need to tell someone to “f— off” (although I appreciate it when Rambo does that, as well).

You know the bad guys are gonna get it. And that they deserve it. And that Stallone will know how to film it: Stallone, who co-wrote and directed the movie, overwhelms you with the brutality of the Burmese army so you don’t have to feel guilty for being alright with them getting an arrow through the head, or decapitated, or blown up. It’s like watching a wide receiver take a vicious hit in HD. The man knew what he was getting into, right, and it looks so awesome that you forget what a cheap shot it probably was.

This movie brings families together: Or, at least mine. I’ve mentioned before that Stallone is a Bierly favorite. Let me take you through last Saturday, aka our “Rambo Day:” I slept in, having traveled six hours after work Friday to get to my parents’ home. We went to brunch, then to a 1:30 p.m. matinee. As people entered the theater, my father judged whether they were “real Rambo fans,” or just there with one. When a bunch of loud twentysomething men came in chanting “Rambo! Rambo!,” I leaned over and told my dad, “Those are our people.” At the end of the film — after we all chuckled at what Bernardin would later term Sly’s “warrior-Farrah” ‘do in the final scene — we joined our people in a round of applause. Upon exiting the theater, we drove to get ice cream. It was now the perfect day. It got even better, however, when we stopped to get gas and my mother asked the young man at the pump to confirm her definition of a Gatling gun. (Don’t ask.) After she explained that we had just seen Rambo, the young man said he was going to see it that night and asked us whether you get to see decapitations. When we responded in the affirmative, he said, “Right on!,” and my mother personally assured him that he would enjoy the movie as we drove off, now discussing which action hero we’d each want to rescue us if we were being held captive. Clearly, the answer is Rambo. He gets the job done.

Who else enjoyed the movie?


Comments (52 total) Add your comment
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  • JillyRo

    Stallone’s “scary-big forearms mystery”, has been recently solved…’tis steroids.

  • Todd

    I’m pretty sure just you did, Mandy. Just you.

  • Todd

    I’m pretty sure just you did, Mandi. Just you.

  • Todd

    Oops. Sorry about spelling your name wrong. I typed too fast and noticed a little too late.

  • Dtom

    Why is this entry in the category of “I saw it so you don’t have to”? Wouldn’t it fall into the category of “I saw it, it ruled, and you should see it, too”?

  • J

    I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED it!!! I saw it early Saturday morning with a friend and we were the only girls in a theatre filled with men. Man, we cheered, applauded and made all sorts of noises just cheering John Rambo on. Especially when that commander was trying to get away. In fact, I was upset that he and that blonde woman went on and on about why or why not they should go into Burma. Why not just start with the action already?!?! Just beautiful.

  • M

    You go, Mandi! It’s nice to see an entertainment writer willing to be unhip and defend Rambo. Maybe it’s not as “cool” as Cloverfield, but it’s certainly more well-liked by audiences (and will probably prove more successful in the end). Keep it up, Sly–where’s my Cobra 2?

  • Hutchy

    Actually, Todd, it seems YOU are in the minority as you are literally the only person I know of who has seen the movie and thought it rocked, or hasnt seen it yet but wants to. But hey, your presidency of the “Too Cool For School” club is still intact, so thats something. For the record, it was awesome, hearing a full theater collectively go “OOOOOOOOH” at the last 25 minutes was great!!

  • Dan

    Rambo was everything I hoped it would be and more. It’s already easily my 2008 Film of the Year.

  • Kate

    Didn’t actually see it, but my dad and brothers did… they loved it and had a terrific Friday night just being guys. Their enthusiasm, generally concerning the reported awesomeness of every scene, made me sad I didn’t get to see it… and I’m a girl : )

  • harry

    can’t wait to see it myself!

  • Darrin Marsh

    One of the best movies ever, saw it twice, going again this weekend, cant wait for Rambo 5.

  • Gerald Chuah

    We all love Rambo don’t we? Especially after First Blood is drawn. It kinds of remind us of our fullest potential.
    Check out a new book on Sylvester Stallone called In the Eye of the Tiger: SURVIVAL PRINCIPLES from Sylvester Stallone’s Life & Films, which is currently available at http://www.stallonism.com . You can download the first chapter of the book for free. Also checkout the awesome gallery.
    The book is the first in the world to take inspirational lessons from the words of Stallone, and his blockbuster movies. – Rocky, Rambo, Over The Top, Cobra, Lock-Up, etc.
    Like a blast from the past, now all these lessons are available to you !
    Checkout http://www.stallonism.com right now and you will be amazed!
    For interview with the author, please send e-mail to:
    Gerald Chuah
    gchuah@gmail.com
    YOU CAN DO IT!
    Gerald

  • Gerald Chuah

    We all love Rambo don’t we? Especially after First Blood is drawn. It kinds of remind us of our fullest potential.
    Check out a new book on Sylvester Stallone called In the Eye of the Tiger: SURVIVAL PRINCIPLES from Sylvester Stallone’s Life & Films, which is currently available at http://www.stallonism.com . You can download the first chapter of the book for free. Also checkout the awesome gallery.
    The book is the first in the world to take inspirational lessons from the words of Stallone, and his blockbuster movies. – Rocky, Rambo, Over The Top, Cobra, Lock-Up, etc.
    Like a blast from the past, now all these lessons are available to you !
    Checkout http://www.stallonism.com right now and you will be amazed!
    For interview with the author, please send e-mail to:
    Gerald Chuah
    gchuah@gmail.com
    YOU CAN DO IT!
    Gerald

  • Charlie Puritano

    Rambo was friggin great. Lisa Schwartzbaum turned her nose up at it like she did to the Matrix (calling it a lame Keanu Reeves ‘vehicle’). Ignore her. Go see it!

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