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Rambo (2008)

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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I play ww2 games all the time, it doesn't make a difference to me.

    Thats a good point, but with Call of Duty you know its a simulation...besides its nowhere near as sustained or brutal as Rambo.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    To be honest I'm only just watching Rambo now, so I can't comment on the actual scene until later on tonight. But before it colours my perspective I think the main point for me is intention. Now I'd actually disagree with the examples of Saving Private Ryan as a whole and Schindler's List's shower scenes as particularly responsible.

    Both were criticised at the time - the use of heathy looking women as the main characters, the shower scene actually leading to showers, the choice of black and white to sanitise the violence, the removal of the role of Schindler's wife all led to criticisms at the time for Schindler's List. Let alone the choice to make a film that showed one good German rather than investigate the true horror of war and the holocaust.

    With Ryan, the quick descent into a John Huston buddy movie, the protracted later action sequences in the film, the good guys vs bad guys attitude holding at the completely made up bridge-side Alamo also caused issues.

    However the intention holds - Schindler's List did show the horror as far as Spielberg felt he could - the beach landings in Ryan were incredibly violent exactly because he felt a responsibility to his father and other veterans to show as much as possible what happened.

    These intentions ultimately outweigh some of the mis-steps (or the percieved mis-steps if you disagree with the criticisms) because you can see what the director was trying to do with the film.

    However that's a long way from explotating a situation for profit, using real events to simple allow gore that otherwise wouldn't be acceptable. If the intention is purely to entertain, and not to challenge, then that isn't acceptable to me. That's why I think The Accused is a valuable film depsite how the rape is filmed and Last House on the Left and I spit on Your Grave are repulsive. It's why I think The Devil's Rejects is valuable and Ichi the Killer is gore-porn of no worth.

    It's worth being absolutely clear as well that some film makers really do make horrible films about real events purely to make money - not everyone cares if it makes you think, some really are just exploiting the basest and worst reactions in their audiences in order to make themselves rich. The uncut version of Death Wish 2 is the text book example - glorified violence, a snuff porn style rape scene, continually racist overtones, vigalantism at its most glorified - and very successful. I'm not even going to demean myself by mentioning the numerous films made set in concentration camps that feature scene after scene of abused prisoners.

    I recently saw a preview screening of Broomfield's Battle of Haditha - there's no doubt that many 1000's of American teenagers will be watching it to watch American soldiers kill a lot Arabs - but the intention remains to highlight a situation with the most truth possible. For all the possible interpretations of the audience that intention bears out the value of the film.

    However with Rambo - well I'm going to be watching it on two levels I guess - on one level to enjoy a violent action movie and after reading this to see if the violence in the film is intending to highlight a situation, or even the general violence of war and oppression, or simply to use a real situation to push the level of violence and gore beyond what would normally be acceptable.

    If it's the latter than Stallone is less of a man than I thought he was.

    And just to add - if you want to see the horrors of war done with both shock and reason then watch Come and See, the documentary Shoah or the concentration camp episode of Band of Brothers - however neither has a single moment of entertainment and maybe that's their strength - that to truly film something horrific you have to have a reason and a refusal to care at all about entertainment.

    Anyway, waffle over - off to watch Rambo, guess I'll give my opinion on that later...
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,194 Skive's The Limit
    Top post.
    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is a mystery
    But today is a gift
    That’s why it’s call the present
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    And just to add - if you want to see the horrors of war done with both shock and reason then watch Come and See, the documentary Shoah or the concentration camp episode of Band of Brothers - however neither has a single moment of entertainment and maybe that's their strength - that to truly film something horrific you have to have a reason and a refusal to care at all about entertainment.

    Hole in one

    Btw: my interjection of Saving Private Ryan was a comment on style rather than validity, although Ryan is miles above Rambo morally and aesthetically.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oh and as an aside to this whole thing, there is one other piece that made me feel this way.

    Strangely its a song called 'Angel of Death' by Slayer, which is an amazing instrumental track by I hate the lyrics...I can do without having atrocities related to me through my headphones, in a completely ambiguous context. I just listen to the instrumental version now.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah the thing with Slipknot's stuff is that things like the opening line to Disasterpiece are so gloriously over the top that it doesn't bother me in the same way.

    Neither does the stalking stuff because its non-descript. Plenty of other Slayer stuff is horrific, its just the Angel of Death that rubs me up the wrong way.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Quick question to Jim V, any idea if the Battle of Haditha is getting a national release? or have I missed it?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I know it was showing in a few select cinemas but the main showing is on Channel 4 during the week to mark the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq - as the centrepiece I'd imagine it'd be on March 15th, but may be on later in the week.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Jim V wrote: »
    I know it was showing in a few select cinemas but the main showing is on Channel 4 during the week to mark the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq - as the centrepiece I'd imagine it'd be on March 15th, but may be on later in the week.


    :thumb: Cheers, I'd read about this and completely forgotten it was coming out.
  • C FunkC Funk ********* Posts: 163 Settling in
    Rambo's mission to top the movie charts has failed.

    I wonder the real reasons behind odeon's decision not to screen it at any of its cinemas :confused:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think you can take a film like Rambo seriously.

    I knew it was going to be violent, i knew it was going to be set in Burma. I wanted to see it because i had enjoyed the previous three films and i knew what i was going to see would be unreal (whether or not violence like that is happening in the world somehwere right now).

    The fact its a Rambo film in my mind says 'unreal' to me straight away - i didn't watch it to see an accurate representation of what is happening in Burma at the moment. I just wanted to almost phase out and watch machine guns and explosions.

    The 'village scene' is bad - its not enjoyable to watch in a fun sense but it was gripping. I've seen far worse in films like Platoon - a 'village scene' where the americans are the ones commiting atrocities, and it was worse as it was a more realistic film.

    Rambo is not based on an historical event, its aimed at an audience who find mindless machine gun fire entertaining. Same way the Saw films (which i don't particularly like) are aimed at an audience who find that stuff entertaining.

    Entertainment is different from one person to another. What about gladiators in Roman times, or the spanish bull fights, even games like Gears of War (which i personally loved).

    The guy doing the radio review of it, criticising the use of the 'shaky-cam' - its unfair to suggest that historical, realistic films are only allowed to use that method of filming.

    Personally i really enjoyed the film - 1 hour and a half of escapism. It did miss some of the old sneaking around stuff (some was in it but not alot). Apart from telling my friends to see it, i left any 'messages' or 'thoughts' about what the film may or may not be trying to tell us at the cinema.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Mattomic wrote: »
    its aimed at an audience who find mindless machine gun fire entertaining. Same way the Saw films (which i don't particularly like) are aimed at an audience who find that stuff entertaining.

    I think that is the problem. It is using real events as a backdrop for gratuitous violence.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    In some ways it hard not to have some relevance to real events in many films. In many ways it may make things more appealing and gives things a harder hit if its about current events in the world.

    Its probably quite hard to make a unique film about something that has never happened or is going on in the world at the mo - unless its something like starship troopers.
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,194 Skive's The Limit
    If you going to link a film so strongly to real on going events where thousands have suffered and continue to suffer, don't make a film where the viewer is exected to relish graphic death scenes.

    That's the point being made.
    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is a mystery
    But today is a gift
    That’s why it’s call the present
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Mattomic wrote: »
    In many ways it may make things more appealing and gives things a harder hit if its about current events in the world.

    Again, that's the problem.

    The film is designed to titillate with scenes of violence, to an extreme level. Thus you are making entertainment out of people suffering.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Tbh I think the only one who's hit the nail on the head is Runnymede. For a film which is supposed to be lowest common demoninator it's generated a lot of discussion...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah, have to say it was a good post...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Tbh I think the only one who's hit the nail on the head is Runnymede. For a film which is supposed to be lowest common demoninator it's generated a lot of discussion...

    You shouldn't be surprised, the Rambo films always seem to have this affect. I wrote an essay for university last year that looked at how changes within American society were represented by Hollywoods Vietnam films. During my reading Rambo was probably the most discussed film by academics writing on this subject.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think its hard to find a war/conflict film where people don't suffer. Its not supposed to be pretty with rainbows that won't offend and upset people.

    What about in star wars when the death star blows the planet up - you could say people suffered for entertainment but it was fictional - just like Rambo. Or in The Kingdom, with terror attacks - basing it on real world events.

    Where else could it be set without basing it on real world conflict where people are suffering- afghanistan again? middle east?

    It wouldn't be particularly good if it was set in rural england. And it has done the job of making people realise that there are problems in Burma - and its up to to them if they want to go away and research it from news etc rather than being deeply affected by a fictional story.

    Its not everyones idea of a good film, or a film they'd like to watch - but for some people it is and people can look as deep or as shallow into it as they want.

    Rambo was always going to be over the top, if you've enjoyed the others then you'll probably enjoy this one, i did.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    BlackArab wrote: »
    I wrote an essay for university last year that looked at how changes within American society were represented by Hollywoods Vietnam films. During my reading Rambo was probably the most discussed film by academics writing on this subject.

    Thats a good point - at the end of Rambo 3, words come up saying 'dedicated to the brave men of the taliban' when the US helped them against the russians. Things have changed now.
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,194 Skive's The Limit
    Mattomic wrote: »
    What about in star wars when the death star blows the planet up - you could say people suffered for entertainment but it was fictional - just like Rambo

    It's different from Rambo. How many real situations can you compare blowing up of the death star with?
    Mattomic wrote: »
    Or in The Kingdom, with terror attacks - basing it on real world events.

    I watched this last night actually and was it let down in the end. What I thought could have been an intresting action/crime film turned into an excuse for shooting lots of Saudi terrorists. Even so I didn't think it as midless as Rambo generlly is.

    Mattomic wrote: »
    Where else could it be set without basing it on real world conflict where people are suffering- afghanistan again? middle east?

    I think the point is If you are going to set a film liek this in a real situation, make it a little more thoughtful instead of lining up a scene after scene with innoative and graphic ways in which people can kill each other.
    It uses and abuses a real situation to justify to you the viewer, your enjoyment in seeing people getting killed in the most extreme ways.
    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is a mystery
    But today is a gift
    That’s why it’s call the present
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think with Rambo its different; its the difference between results and intentions, and in this case we must also ask 'the intentions of whom?'

    Undoubtedly RAMBO sets up these atrocities to justify further violence later in the film - thats just the narrative structure. Equally, as Campaign for Burma have highlighted, it is a sad state of affairs (but also true) that Rambo has generated alot of debate on the issue.

    The intentions of Sylvester Stallone I am (perhaps naievely) inclined to believe were honourable - I genuinely believe he thinks that this is a vehicle for change; no problem there. The studio and the marketing however set this up (to the tune of 'Let the Bodies hit the floor' - last heard as the americans were steaming into Iraq) - as a 100% hetero uber-romp for all those who love a good action film. Its not - and the discussion generated I believe stems from the fundamental clash of serious narrative and kill-a-ton throwaway violence that just isn't common fodder for most cinema goers.

    Confused was how I felt coming out of the cinema - it seems like its trying to do two implicitly contradictory things.
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,194 Skive's The Limit
    I think I'll have to watch it.
    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is a mystery
    But today is a gift
    That’s why it’s call the present
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Skive wrote: »
    I think I'll have to watch it.

    I am tonight.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    After watching it I think I'll have to agree with Martin - I do think Stallone thought he could something more than a simple action movie with the film, hence his choice of a setting that allowed for such overwhelming violence towards the villagers.

    Obviously it is setting up the bad guy as so terrible (though it's worth noting the films refusal to actually explore what would have really happened to the white female missionary - only the natives get raped) - but the extreme nature of the village massacre just seems like such a strange choice.

    Firstly, it's filmed like John Woo not as realism - the Burmese are running through a village firing guns at villages at the same time they are still shelling the place with mortars? They use a flame thrower whilst other army members are running past infront of them? So it's definately horrific as opposed to realistic.

    Secondly, the excessive violence and gore - I can only think there was a problem in the making of the film where the special effects artists were allowed to just come up with the most horrific moments they could think of. There's no serious narrative running through the massacre - it's a fast cut sequence of violence and gore with no sense of who anyone is who is dying.

    Finally, it could simply have been done much, much better - and with more realism. If the film has spent any time to establish the characters of the villagers themselves then there wouldn't have been any need for the level of violence, the same sense of outrage and horror could have been achieved through the deaths in a less outlandish way of people you cared about. As it is, because the film gives no voice to Carin people he's forced to reply on brutalised attacks rather than real emotions.

    As a film it's the same thing it's been since part two - a white super soldier saving white people from horrible brutal people in the third world. It gives no voice to the people of those worlds, who on both sides of the conflict as simply there to be slaughted to make a brutal action film.

    I think it could easily have been better if Stallone had put the same effort into Rambo that he put into Balboa - why not have Rambo as someone who knows the village, allowing them to establish some of the characters beforehand? Why not have him actually work with the Carin rebels to rescue the people captured, rather than more western people coming in to save the day?

    It's a lazy, childish film that attempts to cover its incompetence and intellectually moronic nature with brutality and abuse. Yes, it's an action movie but it's a fucking bad one.

    Only real films I can think to compare it to is Soldier Blue and Cannibal Holocaust - all three films attempt to make a point about brutal massacres and all three so misjudge (or lack the talent to correctly balance) the level of gore and violence that they achieve nothing but a confused blood bath.

    As a film about Burma it's an insult to simply use it's people as silent bags of meat to be torn apart, as an action movie it simply isn't very good - with an almost effortless victory that builds little or no tension.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Mattomic wrote: »
    Thats a good point - at the end of Rambo 3, words come up saying 'dedicated to the brave men of the taliban' when the US helped them against the russians. Things have changed now.

    This film is even wierder when watched now. Another Hollywood film with a pro-Mujahadeen message. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094716/
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    To be honest I think The Beast stands up quite well - as a general film about the way a country can force it's soldiers to be involved in things they never should have.

    I've got far more issues with Charley Wilson's War - which is very strange towards the end, given the context of what happened afterwards with the Taliban.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Jim V wrote: »
    To be honest I think The Beast stands up quite well - as a general film about the way a country can force it's soldiers to be involved in things they never should have.

    I've got far more issues with Charley Wilson's War - which is very strange towards the end, given the context of what happened afterwards with the Taliban.

    I think its a great film, I saw it first in 1992 and tracked down a dvd last year. The thing it was like watching a different film seeing this post 9/11. I couldn't help thinking about the fact that the Taliban had refused to handover Bin Laden in 2001 because because he had asked for them for sanctuary and it was against their tribal/cultural custom to refuse no matter what he had done. This film makes this all clear. BTW was there any truth that Soldier Blue was really about My Lai?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's got Jane Fonda trying to convince an American soldier that the native villagers aren't really the bad guys, then just as he's convinced the entire village is massacred by American forces...

    I think we can safely say it's about My Lai...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Finally, it could simply have been done much, much better - and with more realism.

    Quite. You can show me horror, blood, guts and atrocity and make me feel truely horrified - but you need to present a clear justification for this which is so hopelessly absent in the whole handling of Rambo.
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