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Culture: Rambo 4: the World's Worst Movie?
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Wednesday, 05 March 2008 Written by Henry Midgley

Some people think that there is no objectively bad art: well there is, its called Rambo and at 120 minutes long, it is 120 minutes too long. Put simply, nothing in this film is any good- a better budget means that it just passes the Hills have Eyes 2 in my refuse collection- but apart from that it has no redeeming features. Sylvester Stallone who stars in and directs this movie should be thoroughly ashamed of himself- he has stunningly managed to craft a film without the least shred of a redeeming feature, in which the contest for worst performance is only won by the actors playing the Burmese army because their depictions are comically racist, whereas his of Rambo is just comically crap. The film is awful- do not rent or buy this movie or go and see it- any popularity it gets demonstrates that Western civilisation is truly in trouble and deserves to decline and fall.

Rambo 4 tells the story of John Rambo, now out in Thailand strangling snakes for a living, who is hired by a group of Christians to escort them into Burma. He then is joined by a group of hired skinheads to go and rescue the said Christians from the Burmese prison camp in which they have been held. I'm sorry if this breaks the overwhelming suspense but Rambo does indeed rescue the Christians, just before the young pretty female one is about to be raped by an evil oriental (the wording is deliberate- this is a racist movie) and just as one of them is eaten by pigs- all the better to show you some graphic CGI blood, my friend. (Incidentally the budget for CGI blood was really large on this film, there are several wonderful CGI reconstructions of how a human body breaks up, wonderful apart from one fact, that they would be obvious to a one eyed village idiot!)

Sylvester Stallone in the title role acts badly, well that's inaccurate actually, he has one expression throughout the entire movie. When he is happy, Rambo scowls like a tough guy. Sad he scowls like a tough guy. Killing people he scowls like a tough guy. Even going home to a sentimental family reunion he scowls in exactly the same manner. He just scowls and stares- there is no hint here of growth or development in the character- when he, at the beggining of the film, is being unsuccessfully petitioned by the Christian group leader to take them down the river and when moments afterwards he is petitioned by the sexy girl to take them down the river, he looks exactly the same even though the lines show he has much more sympathy with the latter than the former.

Lines, yes, script. Ummm, most Hollywood films employ a scriptwriter. Sometimes they aren't that good. Art Monterastelli and Sylvester Stallone should never work again on dialogue or in films. The dialogue is incredible. Nobody speaks like they speak in this film. This is worse than a school play written by a bunch of five year olds. Poor Julie Benz has to at one point say "Maybe you've lost your faith in people. But you must still be faithfulto something. You must still care about something. Maybe we can'tchange what is. But trying to save a life isn't wasting your life, is it?" The lines don't really get better- but hey it doesn't matter because the quality of the acting would make up for the weaknesses in Sly's performance and the shit script, well they don't. Most of the actors get nothing to do- and when they do they do it badly. I never thought I'd see a worse Cockney tough guy than Vinnie Jones but Graham McTavish manages to make me regret they didn't cast a professional footballer in his role.

And as to the ethics of the film. Matt Sinclair thinks the film is pagan- I think Matt is being too kind by a long way. This film doesn't have an ethic beyond the utility of psycopathic murder- oh and the idea that its so much better to go in and kill people than be nice to them. Its an insult to paganism to describe the cretinous morality of the film as having anything to do with paganism. Mark Kermode got it right on Radio 5 recently- there is a lot of atrocity in order to make you feel happy when atrocious murders happen later on. The Burmese soldiers here have no character- they are just vicious thugs, who strip and rape girls (though only when Rambo turns up- so he can rescue her immediatly). They have no humanity. This is not a pagan film, this is a fascist film. It invites us to reject the other and enjoy the torture of the other. It wants us to enjoy the fact that the Burmese soldiers are killed in horrific ways. Furthermore the Burmese soldiers all have comedy evil sneers- this is racism combined with a revenge movie with the subtlety of a yob chanting insults. The film is filled with dodgy sexual imagery as well: its a paean to homosexual sado masochism (ah we're all brutish thugs together kind of thing) but its one female character is there as a literal adornment. She is a kind of Christian Scherahazde, good at persuading men with her sexy figure, but in battle or even in other scenes just too hysterical to be any use. Every time she is on the screen you can feel the film's sexism, and every time you see Rambo you can feel its prehistoric view of masculinity.

This movie is a disgrace- its the kind of film that did I not support free speech I would support laws against. It perpetuates the worst image of manhood around- the least interesting view of the world, the least interesting cinematographic skill, it is quite simply atrocious and has no redeeming image apart from its budget. This film is quite simply shit.