While the nostalgic Rocky Balboa suggested Sylvester Stallone was the comeback king, Rambo proves he's a punch-drunk lunk. Thirty-three years after Vietnam, his ex Green Beret soldier battles the Burmese military and (we're guessing) rheumatoid arthritis to save a bunch of God-bothering Christian missionaries from rape, torture and being fed alive to hungry pigs. "Live for nothing, die for something," mumbles the po-faced OAP as he unleashes the dogs of war in a silly yet sadistic slice of cartoon action.
Still troubled by his 'Nam experience (hello black & white flashbacks) Rambo's working as a snake collector in Thailand when a bunch of US missionaries (including Julie Benz from Dexter) lure him out of retirement to escort them into war torn Burma. When government soldiers kidnap the God-fearing Americans, Rambo returns with a group of mercenaries led by Gavin McTavish's snarling ex-SAS man (who gets the movie's best line - unprintable here but something to do with Thai ladyboys) to rescue them.
"A TURKEY SHOOT IN A KETCHUP FACTORY"
The years haven't been kind to Stallone since helping Osama Bin Laden defeat the Russkies in Rambo III. The never-handsome star's turned into a dead ringer for his Spitting Image Puppet and has begun to look all of his sixty-plus years. Perhaps that's why there's none of the usual scenes of bare-chested Rambo being tortured, just endless close-ups of his biceps shaking as he fires .50 cal machine guns and plays with his bow and arrow. Rambo leaves no enemy alive and very few in one piece as mortars and heavy weapons turn human bodies into geysers of gore. It's less a war movie than a turkey shoot in a ketchup factory. It's also reactionary, tasteless and laced with nastiness: a jungle holocaust of civilian casualties and scenes of gang rape harking back to '80s style exploitation. Still, it could have been worse; they could have sent him to Baghdad...
Rambo is out in the UK on 22nd February 2008.