Rambo (2008) Recap


Rambo is back, Jack! Living contently in Thailand wrangling snakes, Rambo is convinced to bring some missionaries into war-torn Myanmar. When they are captured he goes in with mercenaries to get them back, no matter the cost. Can he get them back and take down the bad guy before it’s too late? Find out in… Rambo.

How?! Rambo is still living his life in Thailand catching snakes for a living (obviously). When some missionaries come looking to hire him to bring them over the border to war-torn Myanmar he’s like “… … … no” but the female missionary, Sarah, sees good in Rambo and convinces him to help them. So he’s like “… … … yes.” On the way in, they get attacked by pirates and the missionaries are shocked by Rambo’s ruthlessness in dispatching them. He drops them off only to find out a short time later that they were all kidnapped by a monstrous military group. Joining up with some mercenaries being sent in for a rescue, he immediately sets about killing members of the military group who are torturing hostages. This is much to the surprise of the mercenaries who didn’t expect to have the boatman turn out to be a killing machine. Using Rambo’s skillz they are able to infiltrate the camp and retake the prisoners, but Rambo has to stay behind to personally save Sarah. Coming up behind he does all kinds of classic Rambo traps and comes in just at the right moment to mow down THE ENTIRE ARMY with a big  ol’ gun. People literally explode with bullets. At the end, Sarah looks around to find Rambo and his sweet bod, but he’s already gone, ready to find out whether he can restart his life in Arizona. THE END. Big Question: Do you think Rambo kills people any other times in his life but they just don’t make a movie about it? Seems like every ten years he kills like 400 people and then takes a break.

Why?! Again, ain’t no motivation for Rambo other than rescuing some innocents. Really I think that answers the above question… like how often does he have to rescue an innocent from the clutches of a bad guy. Pretty rare. I personally have never had to. So if he’s hanging around the market and a dude steals a lady’s purse he ain’t batting an eye. That lady is safely out of the clutches of a bad guy, and that purse ain’t an innocent. Open and shut case.

Who?! One of the mercenaries is shown singing a couple different blues songs and I was like “oh, he’s pretty good and the songs are pretty good.” Little did I know he was actual blues singer-turned-actor Jake La Botz. We’ll see him again in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter… probably in an El Presidente cycle or something. 

What?! It’s almost like these films get smaller and smaller. So while earlier films had a number of things for the different sections, the later films became more and more about Sly himself and almost nothing else. However, I can always ask the question whether I would be fortunate to have a full Rambo costume available to buy online. My God. Only 3000 pounds. A steal!

Where?! Once again split between Thailand and the main setting. In this case war-torn Myanmar. Unlike the second and third films, I don’t think the context makes this entirely indispensable. So B+ this time.

When?! I can only assume this continues to trend of taking place when the film was made. In this case seems to be mostly 2007 in Myanmar during or following the Saffron Revolution (given the news footage shown at the beginning of the film). D+

Oh boy… I hated this film. It is gross and looks bad and I didn’t like it. For BMT I don’t really allow for the argument that a film was perhaps “not made for me.” All bad films were made for us. Even kids’ films and rom coms. They are all part of one big BMT universe. Not this. I’m not sure who this was made for but I’m sure they had a great time watching this trash. Maybe Sly just made it for himself. This is the one he wrote and directed so… I guess this is his gross terrible vision. I did not enjoy it. 2 ½ stars.


‘Ello everyone! My mind is slowly melting as I watch what seems like an unending series of Rambo films. This is probably the worst one … you know the one that seems like it was only made to show Rambo chop people in half with a giant gun. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I knew this one wasn’t going to be very nice for me. This is basically the flyer Stallone put out to prove that films like this (and The Expendables series, and other very military / gun focused films) could make a decent return at the box office. But guess what? I’ve said it a number of times, these films aren’t for me. They make me feel gross. I don’t like them. But I have to watch it, so watch it I will. What are my expectations? That I’ll feel profoundly sad after watching this film. If I don’t, that’ll be a win for me.

The Good – Hmmmmm. I truly believe this is what Stallone envisioned action films would become since the 80s. I think he kind of saw that as technology advances and the money flowed in that people would basically want to see giants guns, and muscles, and America. But as he was slowly getting a grip on the entire means of production in the 80s his career faltered and he kind of became a parody of himself. He made a small comeback with Cop Land, and that gave Old Stallone just enough juice to start pushing for The Expendables specifically. I truly believe this film was a means to an end. He got to give his character the ending he thought he deserved (he’s on record saying this one is his favorite), and he, I think, parlayed its modest success into The Expendables which became the giant high octane action film he had envisioned (just … 20 years later). I don’t find any of this good, but a lot of people do including Stallone, so I thought it deserved detailing out my little theory … but no, I find nothing in this film redeeming in the least.

The Bad – I find this movie gross. From the way they formulate the sub-human villains so that you cheer on Stallone as he mercilessly mows them down with a giant gun. Much like Death Wish or The Expendables series, it feels like it fetishizes guns and murder and dressed it up with villains which dare you to sympathize their gross deaths. Stallone, for all of his bluster in old interviews about trying to write apolitically, makes overtly political statements with each and every one of these movies. These movies aren’t for me. This is the worst of the bunch, with little redeeming qualities. The end.

The BMT – Yeah, as much as any of the films like this are. I don’t like them, I get why other people like them. They are like Madea films. I will likely come and say the same thing about every Madea film I watch: I didn’t really find this funny, but I get why some people do. I don’t get why people like Rambo IV, I think it is a total bastardization of the character and what it stands for. But I get why people like movies like this. Did it meet my expectations? Nope, I felt gross at the end. All I wanted was to not feel gross.

Roast-radamus – Again, kind of an amazing setting film for Setting as a Character (Where?) because I down Burma is going to get much play in bad movies in general.I don’t think there is much else to consider for this one as there was no obvious product placement. I think this has a real good chance for Bad though in the end because I can’t think of a film I’ve liked watching less.

StreetCreditReport.com – I find it rather impressive. I looked at maybe 20 lists since, apparently, 2008 was the heydey of the online worst-of list for film. And literally none of them contained Rambo. One had it as an honorable mention, but that was it. I would definitely give this one the worst Rambo award if it was up to me. I think that it might be up to Sylvester Stallone though, so I might be out of luck at getting that officially recognized.

You Just Got Schooled – As I said in the other recaps I’ve been Rambo all day every day and nothing but Rambo, so there was little to learn. I will say that throughout the years there have been porn parodies of the various Rambo films. This one having one though? Thats something else. It’s called Rambone XXX: A DreamZone Parody and I will never watch it. And, again, I said I would do it: Jamie’s podcast Mac East 2nd Floor Studios Presents Submersion did an episode on the animated Rambo series Rambo: The Force of Freedom (Episode 79). And naturally I’m the super secret guest star. We get to learn all about who are the best co-host combinations in Submersion history. The competition heats up!


The Sklogs

Rambo III Recap


Rambo is back, Jack! And this time Rambo needs to save a prisoner from an Afghan fort, but not just any prisoner… Trautman! Oh no! Can he enter the war zone, befriend the rebels, ride some horses, free the prisoners, and take down the bad guy before it’s too late? Find out in… Rambo III.

How?! Rambo is living it up in the citttaaaayyyy. And by city I mean with some monks in Thailand. Approached to help Trautman to help support those fighting against the Soviets in Afghanistan he’s like, “fuck no.” This is a good idea because Trautman is immediately captured and tortured. That’s when Rambo ties on his bandana, greases up those abs, and heads to Afghanistan to free his friend. Getting across the Pakistan border he meets up with the Muhajideen, who are hesitant to help this stranger. But when they are attacked by the Soviets the survivors are willing to go along. On their first attempt Rambo isn’t able to get Trautman and he and his allies barely escape with their lives. Sending them away to go in solo he’s able to get Trautman and a bunch of other prisoners and fly a helicopter out of the Soviet base. They are shot down, but Rambo and Trautman basically toy with their prey and shoot and punch people all day until they got a free path to Pakistan… psych! There’s literally the entire Soviet army there to kill them. So they die… double psych! A big ol’ Muhajideen army comes and helps Rambo totally own the Soviets. America! On top again! Ha! Stupid Soviets, getting embroiled in a war in Afghanistan. America learned from Vietnam and wouldn’t have made that mistake again… anyway, Rambo them walks off into the sunset to live peacefully forever more (spoiler: he does not). THE END. Big Question: Has this film aged the worst of any film ever? I mean, Rambo literally says that the US wouldn’t possibly be dumb enough to get into another Vietnam like Afghanistan… come on!

Why?! I do like the Rambo films because the motivations are clear and noble… besides the excessive amount of murder he doles out. In the first he’s just trying to be treated like a human being, the second he’s rescuing POWs, and here he’s trying to save his friend from a war zone. Nothing more.  

Who?! All the Rambo films have such small and diverse casts that it’s actually hard to get something for this section. Not like an aspiring musician-turned-actor is gonna get his shot in a Rambo film… kind of a one man show. I was interested to see that Randy Raney was in this film. Interested because he was only in one other film ever: playing the big baddie opposite Sly in the classic Over the Top. Best two-film filmography I’ve ever seen.

What?! Coca-Cola is all over a lot of Sly’s films in the 80s. I liked how it was used in the second film. Here it’s just seen in several spots in Thailand and not commented on. I did want to highlight this film as a Secret Sport Film Alert. We see the Afghanistan sport of Buzkashi played vigorously by Rambo. I believe this is likely the only BMT film to feature the sport.

Where?! We again split out time. This time between the starting setting of Thailand and the major setting of Afghanistan. Once again because of context there really isn’t anywhere else that this could be set… they had to really get across that the Russian conflict in Afghanistan was their Vietnam and the United States was just too smart to fall into a conflict like that again… … … … … yup.

When?! Obviously takes place when the Soviet Union was fighting in Afghanistan, which lines up with the trend that the films take place when the film is being made. Nothing more specific can be found I don’t think… the war lasted ten years. D.

Wow, almost the inverse of the second film. I thought this film was actually kinda beautifully made. Looked amazing. But almost everything else about it was not good. In particular the ending which has Rambo running around some caves killing people before fighting an entire Soviet army all while spouting super poorly aged propaganda. Still fun, but bad.


‘Ello everyone! We are still in the process of making the horrible mistake of watching four Rambo films in a week. Luckily two of them are bonkers 80s films. This is the second one of those. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – After watching the third film I kind of expected something much much worse. These days, online, the third Rambo has a bad rep. The second is widely loved, the fourth has a specific niche fanbase, but the third is accepted as the worst of the franchise. So I was holding out hope this would be the not-gross bad one of the bunch. What were my expectations? I was basically hoping for the parody version of Rambo from UFH starring Weird Al Yankovich. If not that I would accept something, again, over the top jingoistic nonsense, with giant explosions I suppose.

The Good – The first roughly two-thirds of this film is pretty good. Solid vistas, and a storyline which makes you care about Rambo’s goal beyond that it’s good for America. A really good set piece in the Afghan base. And a really good enemy in the Russia commander who feels trapped in a backwater war that is preventing him from attaining the Russian glory he deserves. Just … shut it off right when they escape the base.

The Bad – The last third of this film is everything wrong with Rambo films. Remember how Rambo used a bow an arrow with explosive tips? Those are back, you liked that right? We have a tank hitting a low-flying helicopter and exploding it, that sounds cool right? Rambo explodes someone while hanging them in a cave … that doesn’t sound gross right? You see … I hate all of that. All of the stuff that they seem like they needed to fit into the last half hour is the worst parts of Rambo, and they go all in. That is why, I think, people don’t have fond memories of this film. The ending of the film is just so silly and awful you can’t really even remember that the first hour of the film is pretty good. The level of propaganda is extreme in this one as well. At one point a character literally says “the Afghan people have never been conquered. We already had our Vietnam, this is yours” to the Russian commander. Yikes, that didn’t age very well.

The BMT – I think this is a decent example of how to make a bad third entry in an action franchise. The trilogy has quite the arc: a serious action/drama in the first, a full-throated action film in the second, and basically a parody of itself in the third. But … then again, I kind of like the third one still? It is still a pretty great action film for the first hour of the film. It just sinks under the idea / expectations of Rambo in the end. Did it meet my expectations? I think of the four films I watched this got the closest. It is hilarious how it basically spells out the catastrophe in Afghanistan for the US that would come 15 years later. And yet it is also a pretty amusing action film. That’s just about what I was hoping for.

Roast-radamus – Definitely a very strong contender for Setting as a Character (Where?) for being set in Afghanistan, which must be a rather rare setting for a bad film. There was a brief shot of a Coca-Cola truck in Thailand in the beginning, but I don’t think that’ll be enough to bet a product placement nod. And the closest it’ll get it a BMT nod I guess, as this is the only truly silly-bad film of the bunch.

StreetCreditReport.com – Once again we are too far back to really get any lists besides the yearly Siskel & Ebert show (it wasn’t on that). I will say as far as contemporary fans are concerned, I think Rambo III is the one they’d put as the worst Rambo film made. So that is something. Which made it particularly nice that it managed to sneak in and qualify right at the last second this year.

You Just Got Schooled – I didn’t have time to watch anything else but the canonical Rambo. I will point out that the beginning of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls is effectively a combination of Cliffhanger (him losing the raccoon), and Rambo III (him retiring to the monastery at the top of a large staircase). That same scene is spoofed in MacGruber. The early Rambo was ripe for spoofing. And I said I would do it: Jamie’s podcast Mac East 2nd Floor Studios Presents Submersion did an episode on the animated Rambo series Rambo: The Force of Freedom (Episode 79). And the episode features me as well. I rank the top ten Ruby-Spears animated series that have a submarine episode available online … yes, there are ten of them.


The Sklogs

Rambo: First Blood Part II Recap


Rambo is back, Jack! And he’s ready to get out of jail and rescue some POWs like the goddamn hero that he is. But when he’s abandoned behind enemy lines he starts to suspect that there’s something fishy going on with the top military brass. Can he rescue the prisoners and stop the evvvviiiilll general before it’s too late? Find out in… Rambo: First Blood Part II.

How?! Rambo is crushing rocks in a prison camp and Gen. Trautman knows that that’s a crying shame. Those glistening muscles should be crushing bad guys in the name of America. So he makes a deal, Rambo helps them find out if there are any remaining POWs in Vietnam and he gets a full pardon. Sounds good to Rambo, except when he gets to Thailand he’s getting a bad feeling about the gman in charge, Murdock. Almost from the jump things go awry when he loses his equipment while parachuting behind enemy lines. But this is Rambo and his muscles and big ol’ brain keep him moving to his target. Meeting up with his contact, Co (a beautiful woman no less) he is taken up river and almost immediately is like “Woah, there are totally POWs here.” He won’t stand for it and rescues one of them as proof for the government. But when he gets to the pickup location Murdock is like “shit, we didn’t even want to find the POWs” and leaves Rambo to be taken prisoner by the Vietnamese and Soviets. Trautman is furious and Rambo is definitely going to get tortured to death… psych! He’s Rambo! And with the help of Co he totally blows up everything and everyone and rescues the POWs. They get in a helicopter and blow up a bunch of other stuff before heading back to the US camp in Thailand where he convinces Murdock to save the POWs. Rambo then goes off into Thailand to live his days in peace… or does he? (bum bum bum). THE END. Big Question: Has Rambo had sex? We basically see him in jail or running around Vietnam up to the point of his one and only kiss with Co. From that moment he spends his life mourning the loss of her and living his life like a monk… so… I think the answer might be no. Rambo has never had sex despite what his rocking bod might suggest.

Why?! You get the sense that Rambo is totally disillusioned and really only takes the job because it’s his only way out of jail. But once he realizes that there really are some POWs to rescue he’s all in on winning. The general really just wants to be able to go back to the government and say that they don’t need to do anything more in Vietnam, but when he realizes that Rambo is the best ever and won’t let him do that he tries to sabotage him… to no avail… because it’s Rambo and he’s done gonna root out that corruption.

Who?! Wow, this is the second film in a short while (along with Black Dog) that had a major onset accident. While Black Dog got away with only some serious injuries, in this case Cliff Wenger Jr. was killed in an onsite explosion during filming in Mexico. The film ended up being dedicated to him. It’s always so sad to hear about these things.

What?! It is fun when product placement actually plays a role in the film. Here the bad guy general is always sapping on a delicious Coca-Cola. Why? Because he’s supposed to represent the misguided, consumerism-driven America that has forgotten what winning is all about. Does Rambo want a Coke? No thanks, bro. Winning is all the refreshment he needs.

Where?! I’m not sure where Rambo is in jail at the beginning of the film. Maybe Washington where his original crime was committed. But the rest of the film is split between Thailand and Vietnam. I think this is an A. Can’t be set anywhere else given the context.

When?! Uh… after the Vietnam War, duh. But really I didn’t get much beyond that. Looking at the timeline of all the films I do believe they take place in the years that they are released. Like the first film is seven years after Rambo is discharged, which makes sense with the end of the war in 1975 (film released in 1982) and this takes place three years later (1985). But that’s all I got. D.

The first time I watched this, I did not like it at all. My mistake? Watching it right after watching the first one, which is so far a superior film that it kinda spoiled the fun. This time I still thought the beginning was trash and the directing wasn’t very good, but the latter half of the film is actually a great action film. It even holds up by today’s standards in that it’s just Rambo running around the jungle setting traps and owning the bad guy. Lots of fun.


‘Ello everyone! We made a horrible mistake and had to watch four Rambo films in a week. Luckily two of them are bonkers 80s films. This is one of those. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I really really liked First Blood. I think it is a really interesting and smart action film. It handles an idea of a Vietnam veteran getting triggered and during a PTSD flashback he is basically assaulted by a police force, and this idea is very cool … they then obviously threw that in a bin and made it all about how Rambo just love America so much it makes him … a maniac? It seems that way. I was excited to be proven wrong. What were my expectations? For this to be an amazing bad movie I needed the most American Rambo ever. I need him to look me in the face and tell me explicitly: if you hate Rambo, you hate America, period. That’s what I need.

The Good – The middle bit of this film is an incredible action film. Rambo sneaking through the jungle, saving some POWs, flying a helicopter and blowing things up … it’s basically what you think of when you think Rambo. Right up until the end I liked Rambo as a character, it is a very interesting look at Vietnam vets / PTSD when linked with the first film. Stallone gets sillier as the movie goes on, but he’s solid in the first half of the film. Basically, the film is an amazing action film … right up until the ending. I will also say, despite being a cartoon character, the bad guy is pretty amusing in all of his PB&J eating and Coke slurping glory, a transparent caricature.

The Bad – The ending. Stallone claims that he got annoyed with James Cameron (who co-wrote the film) because Cameron was making the script too political. He went on to say that his script wasn’t political, all of Rambo’s dialogue was actual things Vietnam vets said … that doesn’t make it non-political!! The entire film is basically “Why doesn’t America love his war machine killer? Look at all of the amazing murder he has done and can do for America! All he wants is for America to love him as much as he loves America!” It is pretty gross. Now, I will gladly ignore this in the future when watching the film, but it is the one big knock against it in my opinion. It makes it tough to show to, say, a teenager without prefacing it with “by the way, Rambo simplifies a bunch of issues in favor of pretty explicit propaganda … but just ignore that, the action is fun”.

The BMT – I think this is too good of an action film to be a bad movie. Maybe 80% of this film is a really great action film. The other 20% of the film is the ending where Stallone kicks in the door of the mustache-twirlingly evil military bureaucrat and declared that all he wants in the world is for America to love him as much as he loves America … and that is gross. Did it meet my expectations? Nope. Which might seem weird considering I just said Rambo has a giant crazy AMERICA speech at the end, but it was too little too late. This is just a half-decent weirdly patriotic (jingoistic really) action film from the 80s. No more, no less. It just isn’t bad enough.

Roast-radamus – I guess Setting as a Character (Where?) is in play, but it is a bit unclear where they are once they fly out of Thailand (I would guess Vietnam makes the most sense). I think of all of the classic Coke product placements, this is one of the best Product Placement (What?) I’ve seen, since it informed the patriotic facade the evil military bureaucrat was wearing during the film. The twist in the film is actually good, so nothing there. But I would say this is plausible for a shout out at Good because this is a pretty good 80s action film.

StreetCreditReport.com – Not surprisingly this film isn’t on any lists. And not surprisingly I can’t really say this should be on any bad movie lists, since I thought it was a genuinely good film. The credit from this film just comes from the later Rambo films. Specifically it comes from the fact that Rambo (2008) was a complete catastrophe. Sometimes some BMT films are just BMT films because they are homework for other BMT films. Get it?

You Just Got Schooled – This will be quick … you see I watched four films this week and there is no way I could actually inform myself about anything outside of Rambo films. But shout out to UHF starring Weird Al Yankovich which includes a number of Rambo parodies. The main one involves him saving the POW Michael Richards, complete with exploding arrowheads. It is great. And I might as well pop this in all of the recaps: Jamie’s podcast Mac East 2nd Floor Studios Presents Submersion did an episode on the animated Rambo series Rambo: The Force of Freedom (Episode 79). And the episode features me as well. We talk about muscles, patriotism, and America.


The Sklogs

Rambo: Last Blood Quiz

I’ve been watching Rambo films non-stop for a week now, I’ve lived, built a family, and died happily surrounded by that family as an old man while watching these films … and much like Rambo himself, it feels like I’ve sustained thousands of concussions and can’t remember a thing about Rambo: Last Blood … can you?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What does Rambo do for a living in his new quiet life in Arizona?

2) What is Rambo’s relationship with the young lady that is kidnapped in Mexico?

3) Why does this young woman want to go to Mexico? And how does she end up being kidnapped by a Mexican prostitution ring?

4) What happens to the young lady in the end?

5) How does Rambo kill the two brothers who run the prostitution ring in the end?


Rambo (2008) Quiz

Oh sheeeeeeet, now I’m a gnarled oak tree of a man living in Thailand. But … again, I think in my many adventures literally chopping people in half with miniguns I got concussed a few dozen times. Do you remember what happened to me, Rambo, in 2008?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) As I said, Stallone is a gnarled old Rambo in Thailand. What is his job at this point in his life?

2) While bringing the missionaries into war-torn Burma Stallone has the opportunity to kill a bunch of Burmese pirates. Why?

3) What is the very-not-fun game the Burmese army (? I think they are the army since they are fighting the rebels, but don’t quote me on that) plays with their captured villagers?

4) How many people are in the mercenary group that is hired to help save the missionaries and that Rambo is bringing up the river. What other people end up going along with them into Burma?

5) How does Rambo kill the general in the end?


Rambo III Quiz

Just when I thought my war was over, the reel me back it. After getting hit in the head like fifty times though … I can’t quite remember what happened to me in Rambo III. Do you?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What is Rambo doing in Thailand when Trautman finds him?

2) What was Trautman’s mission in Afghanistan that he tries and recruit Rambo to. Good thing Rambo decided not to go, because if he had who would have single-handedly saved his ass?

3) Why are the freedom fighters resistant to help Rambo? What is, ultimately, Rambo’s plan?

4) Well that didn’t work out well AT ALL. But Rambo has to go back! We have to go back! But first he should probably deal with the gaping wound in his side. And how does he do that?

5) Well, that got crazy real quickly. This time how did John Rambo dispatch with the Russian general?


Rambo: First Blood Part II Quiz

Hmmm the last thing I remember I was being sent into Vietnam on some mission because I’m the best and super muscular. But I did get electrocuted a bunch and receive multiple blows to the head by some eeeevil Russians. Do you remember what happened to me in Rambo: First Blood Part II?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In First Blood John Rambo was just a disenchanted soldier with some PTSD who ended up messing up a little town in Washington. How many years does he have left in his prison sentence at the beginning of the sequel?

2) Turns out Rambo can get one of those sweet Presidential Pardons, if he goes on one tiny mission (he’ll barely even realize he’s gone). What is this mission?

3) Why doesn’t the eeeeeeevil Murdoch want Rambo to succeed / bring back a rescued POW?

4) What do the Russians want Rambo to tell his American handlers (i.e. Murdoch) while they are electrocuting him and other eeeeevil junk?

5) How does Rambo defeat the last eeeevil Russian General?