By: Garrett Collins
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Kurtwood Smith, Marc de Jonge, Spiras Focas
Man, it is weird watching Rambo III nowadays. No, not because of Rambo’s new longer locks. No, not because the dude from That 70s Show shows up in it. The weirdness is summed up in the very last frame, when the words “This film is dedicated to the gallant people of Afghanistan” spreads across the screen. Yes, this is the one where Stallone’s character teams up with the Mujahedeen soldiers of Afghanistan to defeat the Russians. What is even more bizarre is that four weeks prior to this film’s release, the Russians had withdrawn anyway. So, the film was aged before it had even come out. Putting aside all of this, and what would eventually happen 13 years after this movie had come out, the film, quite frankly, isn’t very good anyway.
Stallone returns as John Rambo, who is sought out by Col Trautman (Crenna, who would make his final appearance in a Rambo film with this one) in Thailand, where Rambo makes money on the side by entering stick fights. After he fails to convince Rambo to once again go on a mission, this time to Afghanistan, Trautman decides to go it alone. Of course, while there Trauman and his agents are ambushed by Russian troops, and Trautman is imprisoned in a Russian base. This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and Rambo is once again infiltrating enemy lines, with a bratty kid in tow (a kid that Stallone reportedly did not like on the set). There is just no other way of putting this. Rambo III is boring, and sad to watch.
Yes, we fans get to see Rambo blowing things up and doing things like ramming a helicopter with a tank, along with the obligatory suturing up of a Rambo wound. But, I don’t know if it was the director (Peter MacDonald, who was only a second unit director on things like Superman, Empire Strikes Back, and, yes, Rambo: First Blood Part II before landing this gig), the script (by Stallone and Sheldon Lettich), or a combination of both, among other things. But, every single scene of Rambo conversing with and playing games with the people of Afghanistan really dragged the film down, and it took forever for some action to start happening. Ummm, your colonel, your second father, is being held hostage and you’re busy playing games on horses with natives (side note: the horse Stallone rides on is the same exact one used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)?
I suggest that if you were to have a Rambo filled night, just skip this one altogether. Yeah, Stallone goes through the motions and eventually gives us some action. But, it is really odd seeing someone infiltrate enemy lines with help from the Afghani army. Yes, it is just a movie. But, it is also a movie that is quite obvious in that no one has their heart in it. And, why would they? The script’s a mess, the lines are worse (even the “I am your worst nightmare” line felt flat when I first watched it all those years ago), and the ‘action’ is anything but. Get out while you still can. Before you press play on that blu ray player and you get stuck in what will eventually become your own ‘worst nightmare.’
1 out of 5