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Rambo a.k.a. “Rambo 4,” “Rambo IV”

MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for strong graphic bloody violence, sexual assaults, grisly images and language
not reviewed
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Action, Adventure, Thriller, Drama, Sequel
Year of Release:
USA Release:
January 25, 2008 (wide); DVD: May 27, 2008
Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn't this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer

What kind of world would you create? Answer

Anger in the Bible

A single man or woman can help change the world. Read about some who did with faith and God's help…
Jesus Christ, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David

Featuring: Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden, Graham McTavish, Rey Gallegos, Jake La Botz, Tim Kang, Maung Maung Khin, Paul Schulze, Cameron Pearson, James Wearing Smith, Supakorn Kitsuwon, Ken Howard
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Producer: Peter Block, Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, Kevin King, Josef Lautenschlager, Florian Lechner, Avi Lerner, Russell D. Markowitz, David Morrell, Trevor Short, Sylvester Stallone, Andreas Thiesmeyer, John Thompson
Distributor: Lionsgate

“Heroes never die… They just reload.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Twenty years after the last film in the series, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has retreated to northern Thailand, where he's running a longboat on the Salween River. On the nearby Thai-Burma (Myanmar) border, the world's longest-running civil war, the Burmese-Karen conflict, rages into its 60th year. But Rambo, who lives a solitary, simple life in the mountains and jungles fishing and catching poisonous snakes to sell, has long given up fighting, even as medics, mercenaries, rebels and peace workers pass by on their way to the war-torn region.

That all changes when a group of human rights missionaries search out the ‘American river guide’ John Rambo. When Sarah (Julie Benz) and Michael Bennett (Paul Schulze) approach him, they explain that since last year's trek to the refugee camps, the Burmese military has laid landmines along the road, making it too dangerous for overland travel. They ask Rambo to guide them up the Salween and drop them off, so they can deliver medical supplies and food to the Karen tribe. After initially refusing to cross into Burma, Rambo takes them, dropping off Sarah, Michael and the aid workers…

Less than two weeks later, pastor Arthur Marsh (Ken Howard) finds Rambo and tells him the aid workers did not return and the embassies have not helped locate them. He tells Rambo he's mortgaged his home and raised money from his congregation to hire mercenaries to get the missionaries, who are being held captive by the Burmese army. Although the United States military trained him to be a lethal super soldier in Vietnam, decades later Rambo's reluctance for violence and conflict are palpable, his scars faded, yet visible. However, the lone warrior knows what he must do…”

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See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—“Rambo” holds up the reputation it has built for itself. There is no finding anything other than entertainment value in this movie. You could argue that it had Christian themes, even though the “Missionaries” are complete idiots, the point of the film was not to show the depravity of man, it was to show the awesome radness of rambo. Which it did very well. The language was over the top, and as SHOULD be expected from a rambo movie, the violence was the highlighted portion of the movie. Do not watch this movie if you are easily disturbed
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Daniel Robison, age 19
Positive—I just got the chance to watch this movie and yes, it is very gruesome but it is realistic. I read these comments from christians that marked it as negative and walked out. It is very sad because it just boils down to they wanted something to gripe about.
The movie did show children getting blown up and women being raped yes, it is very hard to see but it is really happening in this country. If you rent the dvd and watch the extras you learn more about this country and how this movie brought awareness to this problem and hopes that we can help change it.
If you walked out of the movie fine, that is your choice. I have to admit it was hard for me to watch because I have children and my heart is in saving children but that doesn't constitute giving this movie a bad rating and saying it isnt christian and I thought Stallion was christian etc.
State your opinion and move on don't tear down a man or a movie you do not understand… that isnt very christian.
The movie was incredible and it made me want to do something to help the people of this country and it left a Web site you can go to and that is what me and my husband are going to do I hope you will choose to do the same.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Brittany Regan, age 28
Positive— “Rambo” was an all-round excellent experience; I was simply overjoyed by its obviously Christian themes and good portrayal of justice and allegorical display of God's wrath. “Rambo” is an epic, poetic film the viewing of which will be a beneficial experience for those watching. Don't take children to the film, due to its realistic portrayal of the negative side of war in the third-world.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Yourmom, age 23
Positive—I went to see this movie on openining night. I had heard rush limbaugh interview stallone on friday, and limbaugh recommended it. I went to see the movie knowing it would be violent, and it was extremely violent, but it was a war movie, and that it what war is. to me, they mad the missionaries seem pacifist, and at the end of it, one appreciated what stallone did. What bothered me about the movie, and this may seem trite, (and it don't mean for it to) is that Stallone is apparently a new Christian. I don't know if he was converted before or after filming. However, Stallone used the f-word several times in the movie, and it stunned me hearing this, if he is a Christian. I know that obscenities are used in war, but he wrote this movie. I thought that the movie was good overall, extremely violent, but, again, that's the way war is.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Bill Boylston, age 49
Positive—Many folks will go into “Rambo” expecting an action film, and, if critics are to be believed, a mediocre-to-poor movie experience. While horrendous, nihilistic films such as “No Country for Old Men” are lauded, Stallone's latest movie, daring to elicit images of faith and Christianity in a world gone wrong, is slammed.

True to form, this is a movie about the brutality and evil human beings are capable of; expect cursing, God's name called in vain, townspeople being killed in ethnic cleansing and sadistic games, local women being sexually assaulted (although the actual rapes are omitted) and a high body count as the rescue team / mercenaries clash with the Burmese Army, or SDPC.

As with the first three “Rambo” films, the fourth movie functions as a beacon to Western moviegoers to the plights of a people who are, for whatever reason, not receiving proper media attention. The first film was concerned with the treatment of returning Vietnam Veterans, the second film dealt with the possibility of American POWs in Vietnam, the third film was about Russia's War against Afghanistan, and the fourth film is about the systematic slaughter and relocation of various ethnic groups in Burma or Myanmar.

In the movie, appropriately, two theological camps are depicted:
While John J. Rambo, at the outset of the movie, seems atheistic, the mercenary commander (Graham McTavish) is openly so, famously saying to a Christian Missionary he is rescuing “God didn't save you, I did.”

The Christian Missionaries, on the other hand… speak to all Christian values, and this is important. At no time are any of them displayed as losing their faith, and the wife of the mission leader never casts an eye towards John Rambo over her husband, although she does attempt to reach him through words. The effect of this, you will have to see the film and wait for the ending.

The film is ultimately more complicated than its surface; it serves to educate through entertainment, without beating the viewer over the head as to its Christian message (which will appear subtle to non-Christians who don't know what to look for), but giving the viewer a thorough thrashing as to the harsh realities of war and abject cruelty of people over another, largely defenseless, group. Do not take your children, but do watch this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
David Rodriguez, age 32
Positive—I'm positive about the story, but understand that some would be extremely disappointed if we didn't deal with real concerns for the Christian moviegoer. The language is offensive—about like a public school hallway—including specific statements by Rambo early in the film. There are a few scenes with nudity—portraying rape and intimating forced homosexual relations—showing the brutality of the antagonists. The graphics are the most violent I've seen in cinema, yet are faithful (to a degree) of battlefield horror. This is not the movie for children, the church youth group, and not necessarily your date (including your wife.)

The truth is I'd have hated this film if I'd watched it through morality and looking for what is wrong with culture. It would have proved that Christians can't trust Hollywood to do anything but produce over-the-top CG violence for the sake of violence. Instead, I watched it with a sense of reflection on the story of John Rambo—a man uncomfortable with who he had been created and trained to become—a man with a death wish. All along the series of films he has merely survived, but in this film, finally, he begins to understand that for him to find peace he must live and come face to face with being a warrior. Rambo recognizes that he was created to be a warrior and, ultimately, warriors die.

Redemption and a sense of completion fill the story—it's the kind of movie that you can meet the guys for and then go sit at the diner/coffee house and open dialog about redemption, man's deep need for peace, and where peace can be found.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Joe D. Smith, age 44
Positive—I saw this movie opening night, and it has stayed with me ever since. This movie so accurately portrayed the evil that man, without God, is capable of. To think that these acts of torture and cruelty actually happen in Burma. May God save those people. Is this what King David faced when he and Israel went to war? Of course, not the modern weapons, but the sheer hatred, the brutality, the lack of concern for life, the lack of respect for God?

Is this what will happen to us if America turns from God? Is it really a waste of life to go into these areas and try to bring the peace of Christ? Rarely does a movie cause me to ask so many questions, but this one did and still does. An excellent movie!! I salute Stalone for his bravery in making this film. Please, PLEASE don't take little ones. There sat beside me a young man of maybe 9 years old and his younger (yes, younger) brother. Each time someone was shot or hit a mine, the young man cheered as if watching a video game. My heart broke for that family and those young boys. Be prepared to cringe. Be prepared to be shocked. Be prepared to think.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
B Grupp, age 43
Positive—The first time I viewed Rambo 4, I thought, “Oh my, this is so unrealistic.” I did some research and found out that some of the first people to view this movie were Marines. They said that this movie was the closest to realistic they have ever seen. They said that some of the things that happened in this Rambo were under-done and would actually be a lot worse.

This movie does have quite a bit of bad language. It is graphic in what it shows. The sad part is, these horrible things actually do go on in real life. I believe that this movie is so graphic because it is telling us that this is really happening in the world today. “Rambo” is a high action/adventure film worth seeing!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Bob G. Stevens, age 45 (USA)
Positive—The story is very straightforward: a group of missionaries seek a burned out Rambo for his help to guide them up river into Burma. Rambo, hardened by war and the atrocities of man (a central theme of this movie), is reluctant to take them at first, but at the insistence of the lone female missionary, the big ol’ grizzly bear softens up and takes the group for free. Days later, he is visited by a church pastor whereupon he is notified of the group's MIA status so to speak. A band of mercenaries are rounded up with Rambo more or less their guide, and the rest of the story is not hard to guess at. That's okay. The Rambo movies are action flicks, and that's certainly what this movie delivers. The one thing I really like about this movie, aside from our hero kicking butt and taking names and the film's ending, is the band of mercenaries. ***SPOILER*** They all survive. Generally, in this sort of genre, the group of heroes are usually picked off one by one until only the leading man is bloodied up yet still standing. I like Rambo's approach because it is very successful at making you root for the good guys (so it would have been a crying shame if they were killed off); after watching a lot of onscreen genocide, halfway through the film you're ready for justice to be served. The violence is unlike anything I've ever seen in a movie.

That's not to say it's over-the-top or necessarily hokey. Some of it is towards the end, but for the most part, it's fast, intense, and very graphic. Allegedly the film was slated to receive the “commercially unfriendly” NC-17 rating, but upon appeal, the MPAA bumped it down to an R. In my humble opinion, it should have been given the NC-17. I won't divulge any details, but rather compare films. The manner in which the skirmishes are depicted is simililar to that of Braveheart: in-your-face, real-time warfare, not the slow-motion, graceful pacing of 300. Need I issue the DO NOT TAKE KIDS disclaimer? :)

There is a good deal of language (but by all means tame for an R film these days), mostly from the mercenaries and two f-bombs from a disgruntled Rambo. Guess what? This didn't bother me. If anything, it's toned down. In basic, I heard a slew of epithets daily—life was a living R movie. So I imagine ex-special forces guys are going to throw down some colorful metaphors as well. This movie is faithful to represent that. Does it justify the use of language and for that matter, is it ever really justified to swear? No. Paul tells us to remove all filthy communication from our mouths.

Later in the same chapter (Col. 3), he says “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”. We're called to live for the Lord in every aspect of our lives, and that includes what comes out of our mouths. Am I condoning the profanity in Rambo or any other movie? Of course not. But with this movie, language is obviously an inherent element of war or military life, so it's to this movie's credit for including that much more realism. Good stories always resemble actuality in as many planes as possible.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Jacob Keenum, age 21
Neutral—Aside from the violence and gore and language, this was a very thought-provoking movie regarding the outreach of the gospel in hostile countries.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jeff, age 39 (USA)
Neutral—If you saw the latest “Rocky” movie, then you may have picked up on a bit of Christian themes scattered throughout. “Rambo” also has a definite view on Christianity as well, mainly in the area of missions work. Some characters in the film think highly of the Christian characters, while others think they have no business going anywhere outside their hometown, while yet others have an overly neutral view of them and are just there to do their job (or something).

First off, I think it would be best to just get the offensive issues out in the open for those who would rather know right away if this is the type of movie they would even consider seeing.

Probably the cussing would be the biggest problem I found in this film, it is also extremely gory and has 2 brief shots of nudity (a rear end and breast shot).

I counted somewhere near 34 f-bombs, along with about 21 other cuss words scattered throughout, including 2 g-d's and a misuse of the Name of Jesus. The film also has a nude rear end shot of either a man or woman (couldn't tell) and a shot of a topless woman during a scene where a group of “bad guys” are sexually/physically assaulting a group of women (it didn't seem to be for the sake of just throwing something sexual in though). Not to say that justified it being there. Many people are shown being blown apart pretty much all through the film. The “bad guys” also are shown shooting children.

Now for the pro's (if you would desire to describe them as such). The visual effects were very impressive. I found the film to be very real in it's revelation of what is going on in the world around us today. It is brutally true to the violence and sin in the world and shows how Blessed we really are here in America. It also teaches why we should Care about others and not to be so quick to think we have it so bad when something petty happens to us.

This film also reveals how brutal warfare really is, unlike it's previous outings. I found it interesting that when I walked into the theater that people were laughing and giggling about seeing an “action film” and that after the opening scene of the film, everyone pretty much turned somber and serious. I would not say I found the film to be so much of “entertaining” as I would an eye opener to the reality of war and the evils of mankind.

The two most recent films I would compare it to in it's intensity of violence would be “The Passion…” and “Apocalypto,” the latter (in my opinion) being pretty much pointless in it's relevance for today. “Rambo” I did find relevant in it's description of modern day events around us. While “Rambo” isn't what I would call a film I’d watch to be “entertained” per-se', it does serve it's purpose in it's own way. However, I could have done with an edited version, seeing as I failed to see the relevance in actually showing nudity or the constant cussing throughout, mostly done by the “good guys” (one in particular), including 2 f-bombs by stallone himself right off the bat.

I have heard lots of comments thrown around about this film being “too violent,” mainly by the same crowd who claimed “the Passion” was “too violent.” Personally I wonder if it's just that so many people have become desensitized to reality by the fake versions we are all presented through television, movies, and the media these days. If you could watch through “the Passion,” or “Apocalypto,” then you probably won't have much trouble dealing with the violence in “Rambo,” but the question would probably come down to, is it really worth your time to sit through the rest of the content as well? You could always just do your own research on missions/the reality of war and violence in our world today/ and find out about the 60 year war over in Thailand on your own time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Chris, age 30
Neutral—First let me start with the negatives. This is, by far, the most gory movie I have ever seen!! The graphic nature of all the killing scenes was way over the top. Even my husband, who enjoys gory movies, says it was too much. The amount of limbs and heads being blown off or cut off are too many to count and every detail is shown. If you don't like gore, don't go see this movie! I was even brought to tears because of the reality that this sometimes does happen.

The positive part is that it really softened my heart to these countries and the fact that they don't have the rights that we take for granted. There is no where for them to turn when the “government” takes their 12 year old boys away to be tortured, raped (not shown but implied) and turned into killers. The missionary(s) (mainly the woman) were so determined to bring God's word and medical help to these people they were willing to risk their lives. So true to life. Bottom line: If you believe what God's word teaches (Matthew 25:40), but you don't feel it in your heart, go see this movie gore and all.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Wendy S. Cossaboon, age 41
Neutral—…violent and gorefest action. I am neutral here. What Sylvester Stallone did for “Rocky Balboa,” he did with Rambo. Both films pay homage to icons that Stallone made it his own. In “Rocky Balboa,” he made a film that brought back the spirit of the Italian Stallion with a fitting conclusion, while, Rambo is not quite there. Stallone provided fan what they wanted, lots of actions. However, most surprising is how he told two very interesting story that most Americans are unfamiliar with:

1) the danger missionaries go through to reach people in conflicted area
2) the on-going atrocities in some southeast Asia countries
In recent memories, two of 23 South Korean missionaries were murdered in Afghanistan and the lives of five missionaries lost during in the mid 1950s in the memorable documentary “Beyond the Gates of Splendor.” There are many more and Stallone who is a recent convert to the Christian fold, like Mel Gibson, was brave and forged a violent epic about the plight of the Christian faith.

The story starts off that it's been twenty years and Rambo had retreated to Thailand near the border of Burma, now known as Myanmar. A group of missionaries came for his aid to gain access to a remote village in the conflicted Myanmar country. Rambo refused but reluctantly agreed and then learned later that those same missionaries have gone missing and had not been in contact with their church leader. Since the U.S. Embassy would not be involved, the church is relegated to use former soldiers turned mercenaries, including Rambo, to search and return their missionaries. Rambo once again, takes the job and the action comes at full force. There were moments, I held my breath from the shock of someone's throat got ripped off by Rambo, limbs chopped, head blown, bodies shredded by a machine gun, and many, many more graphic inexplicable violence.

With all of these killings, the question posed by one of the character to Rambo in the beginning, “What you think you did was right, but taking a life is never right.”

In the end, this character killed one of the opposing soldier with a rock. Is it self defense? Is it because they were at war and on the battle ground? Was he a hypocrite? It's only a movie, but in real life, if to save another, surely God will understand.

The other part of the film was the portrayal of atrocities and it very much touched me. I am Hmong, and there are many of us who were left behind in the Jungle of Laos after the Vietnam War. The Hmong were guerrilla soldiers under the C.I.A. directive and are being continuingly hunted and executed by the Laos People of Democratic Republic (LPDR) after some thirty years now.

Google or YouTube Hmong Chao Fa, “Hunted Like Animal,” or “Voices of Sorrow.” The news footage in the beginning of “John Rambo,” made me teary eyed, because these are real, not Hollywood made. This is a holocaust. After viewing the film, most of us will go back to our daily lives and maybe talk about how Rambo single handily out gunned the baddies, and that is what Hollywood wants us to remember, but if we can see the light, maybe we can change.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Mang Yang, age 35
Neutral—“Live for nothin’ or die for somethin’.” These seemingly pro-Christian words are not preached by any prominent church leader but gruffly spoken by the character John Rambo, not to a group of Christians but to a bunch of mercenaries in his new movie, a sequel of sorts, “Rambo.” However, he’s not trying to inspire the mercenaries; in fact he has several guns pointed at him whilst he himself is holding an arrow to one of their heads, a showdown of sorts.

But his words do spur the mercenaries onwards to complete a daring rescue mission that they were hired to carry out, the rescue of several Christian missionaries in one of the most troubled and violent places on Earth, Burma in Southeast Asia. And because these several highly trained mercenaries including the titular character are going up against over one hundred soldiers of the Burmese military junta, you know there’s going to be plenty of bloodshed, gunfire, explosions, violence and death.

The truth is, at this point in the movie, the viewer has already been privy to some pretty violent and haunting scenes already, more than hinting at the ultra violence that was to follow. But nothing could have prepared me for the sheer amount of violence in “Rambo.” In the opening scene we watch as hapless Karen tribesmen are forced to play an extreme game of Russian roulette; Burmese soldiers throw land mines into a paddy field and then force their frightened prisoners to run through the field. No more than 30 seconds into the movie, we are introduced to the graphic violence that will play a huge role in “Rambo” as one of the unlucky villagers steps on a land mine exploding in full gory detail. The others who made it safely to the other side of the field are then mowed down in a hail of bullets. The camera then pans across to introduce us to the movie’s main antagonist, the evil general of the Burmese army—if you can call a bunch of callous murderers, rapists, and sadistic torturers an army. After this thankfully brief and unsettling intro the movie picks up where Rambo III left off; John Rambo still resides in a village in Thailand near the Burmese border.

For a living he captures snakes for tourist shows and transports roamers in his boat. It’s not long into the movie when a group of missionaries approach him and ask him to take them up the river to Burma to a small village of Karen people to take Bibles, aid, and medicine. Rambo bluntly refuses, but is convinced by the only female member of the mission group, Sarah Miller, to take them up river.

Shortly thereafter, in one tense scene, Rambo and crew are stopped by Burmese river pirates who, after noticing Sarah, demand her in exchange for passage. After negotiations fail, Rambo kills all the pirates, much to the chagrin of the missionaries, especially Sarah’s very vocal husband, Michael. With Michael held by the throat Rambo explains his actions by reasoning “they would have raped her 50 times and then cut all your f**kin’ heads off!” Fair play, I thought, after all they didn’t just want to play a few rounds of golf.

After the group arrives at their destination Michael says that they will be going out by road and will not need Rambo’s help for the return trip. Needless to say, Michael is still a little sore at Rambo for killing the pirates—go figure. Anyways, the mission goes well until the village is attacked by the Burmese army, who kill one missionary and most of the villagers. The rest of the missionary group is then rounded up and forcibly taken.

When the missionaries fail to come back after 10 days, their pastor comes to Rambo, tells him that he fears the worst, and asks for his assistance in guiding a group of hired men, “mercenaries,” to the village where the missing missionaries were last seen. Rambo decides to accompany the mercenaries and pushes them to continue after they see the destroyed village.

What follows is part stealth rescue mission followed by all out war featuring some of the most extreme ultra violence my eyes have ever laid witness to. I won’t go into too much detail, let’s just say that when people are shot, stabbed and so on, it’s not as neat and tidy as Hollywood has depicted in the past; the violence looks and feels very real in the same vein as Saving Private Ryan, Munich, Savior, and more recently, “Flags of Our Fathers.”

If you haven’t seen the previous entries in the series then some scenes will be lost on you, such as the scene in which Rambo battles with who he is with flashbacks from the previous three installments of the Rambo story. Also you may not understand just why Rambo has all but given up at the start of the movie.

Stallone plays John Rambo very convincingly, after all it’s a character that he made his own; many action heroes come and go but there’s only one Rambo. And like his final chapter to the Rocky story, at the end of the movie there is finality to it all. Scratching for words I’ll put it this way—if this is the final Rambo movie then he went out with a bang! And like “Rocky Balboa,” “Rambo” seems at once desperate yet earnest. You can’t help but feel for both characters, after all between them they have been through so much, and there is a feel good factor in that both characters can now, hopefully experience some amount of peace.

But the question remains, how much is too much?

Admittedly, I found the violence extremely disturbing, and it’s not played for laughs, as it is in many of today’s hyper-edited action films. There’s something melancholy and unsettling about the carnage, and its aftermath. And unlike the majority of violent action flicks there are some extremely positive and moving moments to be found in Rambo.

One scene has Sarah challenging Rambo to see that things can be changed if only we would do something proactive, in another scene the missionaries are seen helping the sick and wounded as well as reading Scripture to them, and the fact that Rambo is willing to lay down his live for people he hardly knows is right out of Scripture, and unlike the mercenaries he’s not getting paid.

Another really touching scene comes at the very end of the movie when Rambo returns home to his father for the first time since originally leaving for Vietnam back in the 1970’s. I don’t know for sure but I think this may actually be an allusion to Stallone’s own conversion and return to his heavenly Father a few years back.

As I understand it Stallone wanted to include some of his beliefs and faith into the movie. He said in a prominent Christian magazine, “I believe that you can have a Christian theme but you can’t hit it too heavy. You can’t hit 'em over the head with a hammer. You have to be subtle about it.”

It’s a shame the violence wasn’t more subtle and then maybe the Christian themes he so carefully weaved into the story would have come through a lot stronger and clearer. Instead, the hammer he was afraid to hit over the heads of the audience gets literally rammed into the heads of his enemies in the movie—and I’m not referring to the hammer of faith!

So what of the gobs and gobs of violence? Internet review site The Bloodshot Eye says, “Despite the odd stab at poignancy, “Rambo” is essentially pornographic in nature: It stimulates the audience’s (blood)lust, while also making viewers feel somewhat dirty about their instinctive response.”

I’m not sure whether I would go that far, but I do question how much is too much? I understand that to tell a story like this there needs to be a fair amount of violence but again, how far is too far? After all, the movie Proof of Life was similar in plot but the violence, although present, was minimal in comparison to Rambo, yet was a far better movie for it.

It would be fair to say that there are two schools of thought out there when it comes to this movie; 1) the violence was unnecessarily brutal and that no-one should have to sit through extended scenes of gratuitous violence; 2) the violence serves a higher purpose in that it shows what is actually happening in the world around us, outside of our comfort zones, and that war is not pretty in the slightest.

In response, Stallone has been quoted as saying that he hopes Rambo will shed some light on the troubles raging in war ravaged Burma. He makes a good point, “Burma is the most savage, pumped up, brutal human rights violation in the world. Burma is the largest genocide in the world. The civil war’s been going on for 60 years. As we speak people are going through hell. And I thought I’d also like to do something that sheds light on it.”

I would have to say that I probably still need some time to unpack “Rambo.” I can’t say I enjoyed it, per se, but it did make me thankful to God for the freedoms I enjoy on a daily basis. I thank the Lord that my children will hopefully never see this kind of violence and inhumanity up close and personal as so many have.

Also after watching this movie I have a new found respect for missionaries, those courageous men and women who give up everything and risk life and limb to go to those less fortunate with life saving medicine and in due course share the soul saving Word of God with them. One reviewer stated that the missionaries went to make a difference and that ultimately they should have listened to Rambo at the beginning of the movie when he said “You will change nothing.”

However, I was challenged by the scenes of the missionaries in the Karen village tending to the ill and wounded and sharing the Word of God with them. Shortly thereafter the village is a blazing inferno and most of the villagers lay dead or dying, the life from their mortal bodies snuffed out forever—but what of their souls? What if in those moments before the village was attacked some of those villagers gave their lives to Christ. They may have lost their Earthly lives but gained eternity?

The violence may have been extreme and somewhat unnecessary, the story short on plot and the Christian idea’s buried beneath piles and piles of bodies, but Rambo wasn’t a total loss. If you are able to watch movies and read between the lines you may come away, dare I say it, slightly confused but blessed and thankful none-the-less. Otherwise you may only see the gore and come away wondering why you wasted your money and time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Christian St John, age 36
Neutral—My main objection to this film was the scene of a woman's breasts. I really am trying to stay away from films containing such material. There are other scenes of sexually related material as well. This film is EXTREMELY violent—but this is to be expected fom a Rambo movie. The violence did not bother me, especially considering it is a means by which we privileged people can see the genocides occur in areas where few even know exist. This is obviously not a film for children (including teens). The R-rating is very appropriate. I was disappointed in some of the acting as well.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Taylor, age 22
Negative—I rarely make comments on movies due to the subjective nature of the subject. This is an exception. To say that this film is offensive is an understatement. From a secular veiw point the acting is substandard. The special effects are so over emphasized, unrealistic and gruesome that you want to run from the theater. I felt that an old actor was try to make it so he did not have to do much acting. The scenes of villagers being raped and mutilated were offensive. We understand that it happens but to make a fictional entertainment display this kind of horror does no good. Morally the film is extremely offensive, making missionary endevors into 3rd world countries, especially ones with military turmoil, to be futile. unorganized and done by weak minded, arrogant people who, as in the film, would eventually see the wisdom of paramilitary brutality as thier ultimate right choice. One characters comment to a missionary “It wasn't God who saved you…” gave the whole message of the film. To spend money to support a film like this is, well…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
Thomas Prelle, age 55
Negative—My girlfriend and I just walked out of this film and when I say walked out, it's still playing and we each went home. We could only take about 20min. of it before we couldn't stand it anymore. We left when the village was getting shelled and the people (including children) were getting blown up, shot and a woman was getting raped. It was sickening and I don't see how this serves any purpose or any reason why anyone, especially God's children should want to take part in such a disgusting film. I don't think I've ever been more shocked and horrified than what this movie provided in just 20 min.

Just so you know, before I was saved, I used to love violent and gory movies. I saw every horror film, war film and completely endulged in it. The more graphic was the better for me, so it's not like I've never seen anything before. But I was so desensitized that nothing, even the real thing, didn't bother me at all. In truth, 9/11 didn't shock, scare or bother me at all. And that scared me then and still does now, looking back. But God has renewed me. The Lord has shown me the error of my way and has gratiously made me sensitive to violence again. Rambo made me sick like it should.

I had thought Sylvester Stallone to be a Christian which is why I felt okay about seeing this. I thought the story was about missionaries and his protection of them but that's clearly not the focus here. I thought it was R rated for some war like violence. But he goes so over the top with the excessive gore and even used the f-word 3-4 times in my short time with this movie. You can get the points across about oppression and oppressors without what's given here. This is just indulgence and shock value. Rambo is another one of those anti-hero movies. Where the hero is hero by default because he's less evil than the main bad guys but not really good. And with the real footage of torture and killing used at the beginning, he sets the stage for an action film? Are we supposed to cheer for him while he's killing as much as the guys killing everyone else? What's the point here?

Please, please, please dear brothers and sisters in Christ, don't see this. But if you do and enjoy it, spend some time with the Lord, in His light and glory, and inquire of Him if your heart is right. If you should enjoy it. Or ask yourself if you'd take Jesus or your children to see this movie. If you wouldn't, then why is it okay for you? Look and listen with God's eyes and ears. …Movies that contain profanity, violence/gore, nudity/sex scenes. Movies that are made by world for the world. Of course they enjoy it, but why should we? We are in the world but not of it. To sit through such films doesn't mean your strong in your faith as I've seen some quote, it means your trying to live 2 lives. We have to be all Christian, all the time. We have to know that God doesn't want us to indulge in these things. We are called to be separate and run from sinful things as they will only harm you. Please use wisdom and discernment in your forms of entertainment. It is written,'woe to them that call evil good and good evil'. Note: the devil uses many forms of bait when fishing for Christians.

P.S. I do not like or use the word “offensive.” I believe that also to be a secular expression, as they throw it around so liberally and even use it to describe Jesus and the Bible. I just had to use one of the provided moral ratings for the movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
Peter G Keller, age 32
Comments from young people
Positive—When I first viewed “Rambo” I was a little surprised at the amount of violence, although I do not think it is necessarily offensive. Rambo demonstrates the tragic realities in some parts of Burma in a very straight forward manner. I believe it is a good thing to be aware of this. So if you can stomach the gore I would recommend christians see this. just don't take anyone under 15.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jonathan, age 15