Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
When a group of missionary aid workers in Myanmar disappear into the vast green inferno, vigilante Vietnam War veteran John Rambo leaves his job as a Salween River boatman behind to accompany a group of mercenaries on a daring rescue mission. It's been twenty years since Rambo helped mujahedeen rebels fend off Soviet invaders in Afghanistan, and these days the former soldier lives a simple life in northern Thailand. But it's time now for Rambo to take up arms once more and mete out his own, unique, brand of justice.
For more about Rambo and the Rambo Blu-ray release, see Rambo Blu-ray Review published by Dustin Somner on July 30, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Paul Schulze, Matthew Marsden, Graham McTavish
Director: Sylvester Stallone
» See full cast & crew
Rambo Blu-ray Review
Not exactly the hyper-violent extended cut I was hoping for, but still worth a look.
Reviewed by Dustin Somner, July 30, 2010
Given the number of franchise reboots in recent memory, it wasn't terribly surprising when I first heard of Sylvester Stallone's intention to bring the Rambo franchise back to the big screen. After all, the reluctant action hero still resides among Hollywood's list of iconic characters, gradually acquiring a growing fanbase over nearly three decades. Though I wouldn't count myself among the devoted followers of the original trilogy, the film buff side of me always has a sense of reservation at the idea of someone tampering with such a beloved classic. Thankfully, those worries quickly abated during my initial viewing of Rambo, as I realized we were in for something much closer to the tone of First Blood (as opposed to the campy nature of the two sequels). I'm not suggesting the prior sequels are without merit, but somewhere during the course of the original trilogy the name Rambo became a bit of a parody, favoring style over substance. There's still a bit of that here, but we can thank Stallone for replacing the chest-pumping bravado with a gritty, personal take on the character.
Upon his return to Thailand (at the conclusion of the third film), John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) establishes a meager life as the boatman along the Burmese border. One day while delivering snakes to a local snake charming establishment, he's approached by a group of missionary aid workers who require his skills as a river guide in order to reach the war-torn villages of Burma. Knowing the dangers that would surely befall the na´ve travelers at the hands of the Burmese military, Rambo instructs the team to return home to the safety and security of their city-dwelling lives. This doesn't sit well with Sarah (Julie Benz), the bold female of the group, who proceeds with a relentless quest to change Rambo's mind. After a lengthy debate on a single person's ability to change a world full of atrocities, Rambo develops new-found respect for Sarah's selfless demeanor, and agrees to transport she and her friends to their destination beyond the Burmese border. Unfortunately, two weeks after delivering the passengers safe and sound, Rambo receives a distressing house call from their pastor, reporting the disappearance of the entire group. Teaming up with a pack of mercenaries hired by the church, Rambo departs back upriver to the exact location where he originally bid farewell to the Sarah's party. What they discover upon their arrival is anything but civilized, as a once thriving village lay smoldering among scores of lifeless bodies. Fueled by a desire to save Sarah from the military kidnappers that ravaged the village, Rambo and the mercenaries stage a daring midnight rescue in the heart of a Burmese military outpost, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.
Considering the fourth entry in the Rambo series was introduced on Blu-ray nearly two years ago, I'd imagine most folks are interested primarily in the changes that are introduced during this extended cut. Running barely over 8 minutes longer than its predecessor, I went into this viewing expecting a higher body count, more decapitations, and an abundance of over-the-top, limb-flying brutality. After all, the original version was such a boundary-pushing slaughter-fest that I anticipated at least a few uber-violent moments to be left on the cutting room floor. Unfortunately, if that's all you're looking for out of this extended cut, prepare to be disappointed. Rather than blood-drenched additions, we have several new and extended scenes that build on the relationship between Rambo and Sarah, plus several slight modifications or additions that are likely to go unnoticed to all but the most seasoned Rambo fans. The overall story arch remains intact, and the violence is only reduced on one occasion (see below), but it's difficult to fully endorse a new version that doesn't feel much different from the original. Depending on how you look at it, the fact that the new footage doesn't alter the pacing of the film should be reason enough to buy this version over the prior release (if we take a more is better stance), but owners of the original Blu-ray will want to carefully evaluate their decision to double dip for the film alone.
In order to fully dissect the changes in the extended cut, I viewed the original version and this edition in the same night, making it much easier to provide the following list of changes. For the record, these are scenes in the extended cut that do not appear in the original, or were altered in some manner for this presentation:
-The main title shot now appears with "John Rambo" prominently displayed across the screen.
-There's an additional scene of Rambo trapping a second snake at the beginning, followed quickly by a new scene of his deckhands playing with the snake on the boat.
-While Rambo is working the metal for a new propeller, Sara visits in an attempt to persuade him to change his mind on taking them upriver.
-During the nighttime rain scene with Rambo and Sara on the dock, he explains his sad view on the world without pulling any punches.
-On the missionary trip upriver, there's an extended sequence where Rambo and Sara get to know each other better.
-In the new version, there's a single shot to the head of the bad guy lying on Rambo's boat dying (prior version had multiple shots).
-While passing the armored boat on his way back from Burma, Rambo grabs his knife out of a hidden compartment in his boat.
-After driving the armored boat toward shore, there's an extended sequence showing him burning the boat (and his knife along with it).
-Following the destruction of the village, there are alternate shots of villagers in cages and the hazing of the young boys.
-During the pastor's visit to enlist Rambo's help, he's instructed to pray (which he does throughout the scene where Rambo forges his blade). Later, the pastor watches as the mercenaries head downriver.
-While making their escape from the military village, Rambo discovers lacerations on Sara's feet and bandages them.
Rambo Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in 1080p utilizing the AVC codec (at an average bitrate of 22Mbps), John Rambo incorporates all of the strengths found in the original Blu-ray release, while seamlessly integrating the new footage as if there from day one. Fine object detail is abundantly clear, revealing every blood splattered CGI effect with almost too much precision (occasionally wavering into fake territory). Whether we're witnessing shots of the lush green jungle, or close-ups of actor's faces, every texture is exposed in a manner that gives the image an almost three dimensional quality. Considering the sense of depth found in the image, one would expect equal proficiency in the areas of contrast differentiation and black level consistency. For the most part the results are quite vivid, but the dark camerawork during several nighttime sequences proved a bit difficult for the transfer to keep up with. I'm confident the issue is present in the source material (likely requiring some black level adjustments in post-production), but it does detract slightly from the overall strength of the transfer. Fortunately, once the sun rises and we return to the well-lit exterior shots, the rich hues of the jungle emerge to restore our faith in Stallone's eagle-eyed sense of staging.
Rambo Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Perhaps it was just my ears playing tricks on me, but I felt the volume level on this release was a little higher than the prior edition. After only stepping away for several minutes between my double-feature viewing session, I quickly found myself fumbling with the remote to diminish the ensuing earthquake that pounded my home theater. Quite simply, John Rambo is the type of film that will literally take your breath away with the constant aural assault, leaving a lasting impression that begs to be revisited. Above all else, the main strength in the mix arrives in the form of extensive surround separation, which left bullets zinging from speaker to speaker until the precise moment when they strike their fleshy target. In the middle of the madness you can expect punctuated moments of LFE bliss, as explosions erupt from your subwoofer. Put together, these two elements may have hijacked the entire track, but thanks to the precise attainment of volume balance and clarity, the mix never tosses aside dialog or the musical score in favor of the abundant environmental effects.
Rambo Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Rambo: To Hell and Back (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 83:33 min): Structured as a complete production diary of the 42-day shooting schedule, this supplement can be played in its entirety or easily broken down over the course of multiple nights. In essence, this fascinating behind the scenes supplement displays on-set footage of the cast and crew while Stallone provides an enlightening after-the-fact commentary track. If you ever thought Stallone was simply a knucklehead action star with big muscles, this should completely change your opinion. During the course of the lengthy featurette, Stallone provides extensive history on the conflict in Burma, discusses his strengths and weaknesses as a director, and even comes across as quite the comedian from time to time.
Contrary to my original suspicions, I've been informed by the producer of this fine supplement that the original camera footage was shot in standard definition, leaving little reason to devote additional disc space to a 1080p upconversion. While this may seem disappointing to some viewers, the lack of a high definition transfer is worth the sacrifice in exchange for such fascinating content.
Rambo Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Forming a recommendation on the extended Blu-ray edition of John Rambo is almost an exercise in futility. On the one hand, we have Stallone's incredible production diary, which easily elevates this into "thumbs up" territory for the avid Rambo fan. However, the lack of meaty additions to the film itself leaves little cause for current owners to upgrade, creating a difficult decision between the two options. Both editions can be had for around the same price, but each offers a slightly different take on the film and vastly different supplemental features. If I had to make a recommendation between the two, I'd go with the new extended cut, but owners of the prior edition shouldn't feel too downtrodden if forced to stick with what they already have.
Rambo: Other Editions
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Rambo. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Rambo in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Rambo Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Rambo Extended Cut and More Blu-ray from Lionsgate in July - May 7, 2010
Lionsgate Home Entertainment has announced a set of catalog movies for release on Blu-ray on July 27 to tie in with the theatrical release of Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables: Johnny Handsome, Lock Up, Rambo: Extended Cut (with 9 minutes of additional footage) ...
Rambo Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
» Show more forum discussions for Rambo Blu-ray
Rambo Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Rambo Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.