The guys that wrote the “Rambo IV : Holy War” script
Remember Alpha1media, the production shingle that was trying to get their version of “Rambo 4” off the ground? – they’d penned a script called “Rambo IV : The Holy War”, the treatment of which you can download here – well ,they’ve just sent this my way…. their review of the film that they ultimately didn’t get to do, “Rambo”. Did anyone expect them not to be dissapointed? Sounds like they’re living in hope of being asked to do the next one.
Sylvester Stallone, David Morell and Alpha1Media International all know and have studied the character of John J. Rambo extensively.
Alpha1Media International in October 2003 published the first draft of “Holy War” a treatment for the fourth installment of the Rambo film saga. With a new vision of the film hitting the cinemas now, this represents our official view of the film, “Rambo” (2008).
Firstly, Mr. Stallone should be commended for trying to raise awareness about the plight of Burma, prior to the Saffron Revolution which took place late in 2007.
As for the film itself, one word stands out repeatedly for anyone who has seen the previous trilogy of Rambo: formulaic. Does this really matter if the last time a world audience saw Rambo in a cinema was more than two decades ago? It does to survive in a world of “Bourne” Rambo has to stand up to its iconic status.
“Rambo” seems to adopt the paint-by-numbers formula in of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III.
1. At the start of the film, Rambo is in solitude, either in a prison (II), monastery (III) or wilderness of Thailand (JR).
2. He’s approached by someone, previously Colonel Trautman (II, III), this time missionaries, to accompany them to a foreign country – Vietnam (II), Afghanistan (III) or Burma (JR).
3. Something always goes with the foreign trip – Rambo captured on reconnaissance trip (II) Colonel Trautman is captured (III), missionaries captured.
4. Rambo goes on a rescue mission, with lots of mayhem and destruction – rescues missing American POWs (II), rescues Colonel Trautman (III), missionaries (JR).
5. Mission accomplished, Rambo heads down the ‘llong road’ alone (II, JR) or with Colonel Trautman (III), who eventually he will leave to go to Thailand (JR).
“Rambo” adopts the following the same formula as its predecessors, but its impact two decades later is questionable. What is successful is the continued motif of religious faith of Christianity (II, JR), Buddhism (II, III) and Islam (III) as well as raising the awareness about an issue of concern – the plight of missing American POWs in Vietnam (II), Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (III) and Burma’s sixty-year civil war (JR).
Stallone in the film is excellent, bearing the apt physique of a blacksmith. He stands outs in his role. What surrounds him are cardboard characters with unconvincing dialogue.
The missionaries are non-descript characters, objects that talk and sooner or later will require rescuing. Having a female presence in the film is commendable, though the character is, once again, unconvincing as a character. The mercenaries, as characters, share they same fate as the missionaries they are sent in to rescue.
The intent to vilify the Burmese military succeeds beyond any doubt. When Rambo unleashes his fury, it’s probably unlike anything that has been seen in a mainstream action film before and, contrary to common sense, completely justified.
The violence is eviscerating. Rambo decapitates, disembowels and de-throats various Burmese villains – and also manages to machine-gun one apart.
The pace of the film is awkward. It starts slow, the formula kick in, there is lots of incredible violence and then it ends all in a short ninety minutes.
Stallone also atones for the uber-patriotic speech included at the end of Rambo First Blood Part II in a dream sequence whereby Rambo acknowledge that he didn’t kill for his country, but for himself.
The last scene of the film is indeed the very best, so Stallone manages to end a mediocre film on a high. Rambo returns to Arizona, wearing the same green military jacket and blue jeans we first saw him in “First Blood” with. The bandana has come off.
“Rambo” is not the triumphant effort which “Rocky Balboa” was, and is not up to the standard of “Live Free or Die Hard” as a fourth installment. Nevertheless, this should not detract from the fact that Stallone is one of the most successful auteurs in modern cinema. By ending the film the way he chose to do so, the audience can perceive this as Rambo either coming full circle and marking a finality to the series, or setting it up for a fifth episode.