Plot: What’s it about?
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has endured a life of violence and bloodshed, so much so that these days, he simply wants to live a life of isolation. Rambo resides in Thailand and earns his living as a boat operator, then spends his personal time alone with his thoughts and memories. After all the trials and tribulations, now he just wants to be left alone and in this place, he thinks he has found a refuge of sorts. So when a couple of Christian missionaries approach him for an escort into a dangerous area in Burma, he turns them down at first. He soon changes his mind, but finds himself back in the life he wanted to leave behind when the missionaries are kidnapped by violent military personnel. Now Rambo must do what he never wanted to do again, or else have the deaths of these two innocents on his hands…
After two decades of hibernation, Rambo was dusted off for one more balls to the wall adventure. Of course, this would be a double edged sword for fans of the franchise. On one hand, the prospect of one more John Rambo excursion is great news, but would it be a fitting conclusion or just another rehash? Rambo continues the trend of the franchise, which means each installment ups the ante on action, while focusing less on character and plot. If you watched First Blood, then skipped to Rambo, you’d be shellshocked as to how John Rambo reached this point. So if you were hoping for a return to form, then you’ll be let down, but if you just want one more over the top, one man army crusade, then Rambo won’t let you down. The violence here is so brutal and realistic, its hard to believe an R rating was assigned. So while Rambo isn’t the franchise hero I had hoped, it does deliver visceral thrills and for that, it is worth a rental.
Video: How does it look?
Rambo is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. This transfer isn’t quite perfect, but it is close enough to earn the full five points. The print is pristine, as it should be and allows the visuals to shine, which is just what happens. The image shows off immense fine detail, especially in close ups, but even in wider shots. The kind of three dimensional pop we want from high definition is all over here, just excellent work. The colors are bold and effective, with no errors to report, while contrast is slick and stark, with no detail loss. Simply put, this is a dynamic visual treatment that makes the most of your home theater, not quite reference, but damn close enough.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is impressive as well, thanks to an active and effective DTS HD 7.1 option. This is a Rambo movie, so the action is intense and that means explosions, arrows darting through the air, gunshots, and all kinds of other mayhem. In this mix, it all sounds loud and powerful, as if you’re in the path of danger yourself. I wouldn’t put this with the best of the best, but it is an excellent track and puts you right in the action. At the same time, subtle atmospheric elements also come across well and vocals never suffer in the slightest. A great soundtrack that fans are sure to enjoy. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The best supplement here is Sylvester Stallone’s audio comments, as he provides a sincere look back at this production, as well as the entire franchise. On this Blu-ray release, you can enable a special mode that offers visual commentary from Stallone, behind the scenes snippets, and additional interview excerpts. This option works quite well and is a great way to learn all about how Rambo became as it was. A total of six featurettes are offered, with just over an hour of total duration. As a whole, they provide a decent look inside the production, but alone, they’re shallow and promotional. Even so, you can find some worthwhile elements in almost all of them, so for fans, they’re worth a look. This release also includes some deleted scenes, the film’s theatrical trailer, and a second disc that provides a digital copy of the film, for use on your portable device.