Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Unseen #58: Rambo III

Why’d I Buy It?: Came in the Rambo boxset.

Why Haven’t I Watched It?: Well hell if I’m not going to watch Rambo II why the hell would I watch Rambo III? This is a movie that was considered unfortunate BEFORE it ended up accidentally endorsing the tactics and mindset that ended up leading to 9/11.

How Was It?: Look there’s no getting around the fact that Rambo III might as well be called Hindsight Is 20/20: The Movie. When you think about it the film really is a pretty fascinating cultural artifact. When it was released it was just another piece of anti Ruskie propaganda and now it still is a Propaganda film FOR THE EXACT OPPOSITE SIDE IT WAS PRODUCED AS PROPAGANDA FOR!!! Has this ever happened before? It’s like being in Oceania and coming across a piece of propaganda published by the Ministry Of Truth that is against Eurasia and has failed to go down the Memory Hole during one of the weeks when everyone is supposed to be hating Eastasia. It is most double plus ungood and confuses my belly feel.

The movie is filled with Long sequences in which Stallone has concepts like Jihad and Mujahideen explained to him and he nods with sage approval. Something, I would be willing to bet an awful lot of money on, which he would not do today. This is coupled with other long monologues extolling the bravery of the Afghani People and how they will never buckle under the weight of their monolithic technically superior foreign invaders.

Lots of lines like…

This is Afghanistan... Alexander the Great try to conquer this country... then Genghis Khan, then the British. Now Russia. But Afghan people fight hard, they never be defeated.


'May God deliver us from the venom of the Cobra, teeth of the tiger, and the vengeance of the Afghan.'

Which is dialogue that I'm also relatively certain wouldn’t show up in a movie today.

If strain to look past the staggering amount of cognitive dissonance that powers the movie, well it’s not really that bad. To the point where I’m actually kind of disappointed by that, I was holding my breath for a disaster of epic proportions. But it’s just your average mediocre overblown eighties action movie (Which I think makes the whole propaganda angle stranger. Incompetence would make it just another bad element among many). There are some good moments of shit blowing up real good, Including a helicopter battle where Stallone actually displays a fair amount of skill at framing and geography. If anything it’s a bit smoother then Rambo II because while that one started off as a pretty compact film before swinging wildly into overblown gore cartoon territory, Rambo III is in that vicinity the entire time. All in all I think more Russians are killed in this movie then in the battle of Stalingrad.

Any resemblance to the damaged haunted vet Stallone played in First Blood is purely coincidental. Anyway Rambo III is definitely worth seeing. If only so you can confirm for yourself that it exists.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go prepare for my two minutes of hate.


Matt Keeley said...

I guess The Living Daylights would be a good film to watch with this – another movie where the hero helps Afghan resistance to those perfidious Commies.

Neil Fulwood said...

Big Sly is watching you ...

Joe said...

The gulf in quality between Rambo III and Rambo IV (yes, I know that's not the title, but seriously, fuck everyone involved in the titling of this franchise) is staggering. I went to see Rambo IV at the cheap theatre on dollar tuesday expecting a trainwreck and got a seriously badass action movie. Not a campy one, but a SERIOUSLY BADASS action movie.

Which is weird, because it follows Rambo III, which is the worst of the series. Like, by a lot.

Bryce Wilson said...

@ Matt: Excellent point.

@ Neil: It certainly would be an interesting twist.

@ Joe: I have a deep affection for Rambo (IV). If only because it has what is indisputably Sly's greatest Kill Face of all time (right before he kills the 50 Cal operator with a machete.

In fact I credit liking Rambo so much with my inability to enjoy The Expendables.

The Film Connoisseur said...

And now The Expendables is anti capitalism...goes to show ho much people change from time to time. Or maybe how movies simply sell themselves by talking about themes and ideas that are popular at the time they are made. Right now revolution is selling at the movies..

I remember this one being a big action spectacular, but I havent seen it in ages! Time for a re-watch!

Bryce Wilson said...

Very true. Rage against the machine by the machine.

BRENT said...

Isn't it funny how the worm turns!! Sure Rambo 3 is all nonsense but back when it was made the US was backing the Taliban against the nasty Russkies and yet almost twenty years later it turns on its former protectees and boots them out of power.
A bit of egg on the face now isn't there?! I bet Sly and a few others wish part 3 could be quietly swallowed up in some deep dark hole!!