Rambo

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Rambo Movie Poster Image
Non-stop violence is too overpowering for kids.
  • R
  • 2008
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 43 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Christian aid workers show bravery by continuing their mission in the face of danger. Rambo, as always, decides to take matters in his own hands to help the mercenaries assigned to rescue the missionaries. Lots of male bravado, but the woman character does show she's committed to her cause.

Violence

From the opening news reel of atrocities being committed in Burma, the film is -- save for a few early sequences -- nonstop violence. People are shot, burned alive, blown up, stabbed, hacked, hanged, and raped. Women are shown taunted and then about to be raped. Children are killed. Limbs fly around as bombs and land mines are triggered. Heads explode or are decapitated and bodies dismembered. Name a weapon, and it's used -- arrows, knives, handguns, automatic weapons, etc.

Sex

Young women are forced to dance in front of their brutal captors. They're then hit, and their clothes are ripped off (breasts are visible) as they're about to be raped. Sarah touches Rambo's hand and embraces Michael. A boy is shown escorted to the general's quarters, where the general caresses his head and face before shutting the door.

Language

As with most military action flicks, the language is ever-present -- "f--k" is the most uttered word, with "s--t" and "a--hole" close seconds.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The Burmese soldiers drink heavily during the pre-rape dance scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the fourth installment in the Rambo franchise is, like its '80s predecessors, full of blood and violence (rendered even more disturbing by the last two decades' technological advances). The main character is a one-man killing machine; when pushed to defend himself or others, he'll use anything -- from his bare hands to a rock to a weapon -- to destroy his enemies. Despite being 61, Stallone still has a considerable following, although most of his biggest fans are men old enough to be fathers at this point. While younger kids may not be interested, teen boys may well want to see what all the fuss is about this iconic character. In addition to the disturbing amount of violence, there's also a great deal of strong language and an awful scene that's clearly the prelude to a gang rape.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjesus3boy April 24, 2009
i dont mind violence, but there was LOTS of swearing. there was a flash of breasts and a bottom
Adult Written byilikemusik23 August 31, 2009

Pushes violence to a whole new level

I did enjoy this movie, but wow this is deffintly one of the most violent movies i've ever seen and not only is the violence graphic, at times it's di... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 28, 2012

It all depends on how much you can handle.

This film, while being entertaining for action viewers, is not a very good film. Its a film where you don't need to think too much about, and I like that.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byichigohikaru July 20, 2010

A Great, Great, film.

I saw this movie in theaters when I was in 6th grade...yes, 6TH GRADE. I enjoyed the action sequences and characters. It wasn't to overpowering for me, but... Continue reading

What's the story?

Sylvester Stallone's John Rambo is an iconic character in action flick history. Unlike Rocky Balboa, he's not a feel-good hero -- he's an out-for-blood conqueror. In this fourth (and most likely final) installment, Rambo, a traumatized Vietnam War vet who's a trained killing machine, is living peacefully in Thailand until a group of Christian aid workers on a medical mission asks to be taken up river to hostile Burma. After continued pleas from the only woman in the group (Julie Benz), Rambo reluctantly agrees. As anyone who's seen the trailer knows, the missionaries are taken hostage -- which is when the film turns into a gory revenge sequence as Rambo and some paid mercenaries try to rescue them.

Is it any good?

The film's action scenes benefit from a gang of fresh characters who play the guns-for-hire assigned to rescue the humanitarians. The men are a diverse crew (British actors Gavin McTavish as the bald and bold Lewis and Matthew Marsden as the likable sniper School Boy are especially memorable) of special-ops types who don't know yet how valuable their guide (Rambo) is, and their banter is a bit reminiscent of The Dirty Dozen -- albeit with a lot more expletives. It's good that Stallone added some help for the aging Rambo, though in several scenes, he doesn't seem to need anything but his expert hands to fell dozens of soldiers.

Surprisingly, even at 61, the muscular Stallone is still an imposing presence. No matter how many comedians jokingly call this sequel "Gram-bo," there's no doubt the writer-director-star can still kick butt in the most fantastically bloody of ways. Rambo's longtime fans will relish the three-digit body count, but everyone else may end up completely overwhelmed by the violence and underwhelmed by the preachy, formulaic dialogue exchanged between Rambo and the missionaries. Not that the script is really that important in this film -- it's all about the man, the legend, the sexagenarian master, Sylvester Stallone. For some moviegoers, that's more than enough.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the amount of violence in this movie is fitting, given its subject matter. Are there times when violence needs to be graphic to get a filmmaker's point across? Why or why not? What's the appeal of explicit violence in the movies? What effects does watching this kind of content have? The fact that violent movies stimulate parts of the brain bears some commentary from the parental units.

Movie details

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