Similar to what appears on screen, the “Rambo” DVD extras uncomfortably mix cartoonish ultra-violence with the real-life suffering of Burmese refugees that stand at the heart of the pic’s storyline.
As revealed in one of the featurettes, “Rambo” was originally planned to take place in Mexico, but Sylvester Stallone preferred to take the storyline to war-torn Burma instead, where the titular hero eviscerates some truly evil Burmese nationals in order to save a group of Karin refugees (as well as the kidnapped members of Colorado missionaries). The featurettes awkwardly move from a fetishistic look at Rambo’s futuristic weaponry to a worthy but overly polished short documentary about Burmese refugees.
A handful of overlong deleted scenes were justifiably removed, as they tend to retread ground and waste time with talk. “Rambo” is a movie, like its hero, that has little use for the spoken word.
Stallone’s swift solo commentary is well-paced and never boring, but, as expected, the multihyphenate star takes it all a little too seriously. As director, Stallone’s strategy was simple: Pretend Rambo himself was calling the shots, which resulted in the film’s jittery hand-held feel, dark shadowy lensing and hyper-realistic gore.
While not exactly the sort of take-no-prisoners filmmaking style employed by Herzog on “Fitzcarraldo” or Coppola on “Apocalypse Now,” the “Rambo” shoot nonetheless appears to have been a long, soggy, bloody affair. Just like the movie.
Read the original Variety reviews: