Just saw the latest Rambo movie with my wife. We were expecting an entertaining action film that did justice to the earlier ones. I was also hoping it wasn’t so violent and mindless that it would put off my wife. The story picks up where we might expect John Rambo to be – still keeping a low profile in a small village in Thailand making a meager living all the while still making donations to the local monks (see Rambo II). Nearby, neighboring Burma, a very real military regime is committing unspeakable atrocities on the local people, and a missionary and relief group from some church in Colorado seek Rambo’s help in getting them into Burma. Rambo reluctantly accepts and drops the group in Burma. After not turning up for a while, Rambo and a group of mercenaries are sent in to extract them out. Of course, this is what the audience comes to see – Rambo kicking some major ass.

I’ve heard about how violent this movie is, but I was not prepared to see how graphic it all was. I was also not expecting any Rambo movie to be some sort of documentary of a real plight or to try to raise awareness of a people facing genocide. Not only did we sit through the whole movie, but we also watched the behind the scenes featurettes. Stallone mentions that he did not want the movie censored for the violence because it was real. Not only that but that what was really happening was even too brutal to show.

This is full scale genocide. I want an ‘R’ and I want the violence in there because it is reality. It would be a whitewashing not to show what’s over there.

I would urge people to watch the movie for the piece of entertainment that it is, but also to watch the behind the scenes features where Burmese people give their accounts of what is happening there. It absolutely breaks your heart. There was a shot of a man who just lost his leg to a land mine. He didn’t even look like he was in much pain, but when you saw what was left of his leg which was basically just bone, you cannot help but feel that the situation in Burma is unacceptable.

What’s sad is that for much of the American audience who left the theater watching this movie, most probably won’t give Burma a second thought – writing it off as a good plot device for Rambo to lay some major smack down on some bad guys. One reviewer on Amazon even comments that the audience among him didn’t even know if Burma was real. At various points the violence portrayed in the movie was so horrifying that it bordered on the absurd. It would be easy to write off that violence as Rambo trying to top the violence of previous films. I think most critics and reviewers wrote it off as such and totally missed the point. It’s a sad commentary on today’s society that the message just went way over their head.

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