Rambo

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Rambo Movie Poster Image
Nonstop graphic violence in action movie sequel.
  • R
  • 2008
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 46 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, and isn't simply stereotyped as a "damsel in distress." 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. The idealism of the religious medical workers is presented as foolish, and as characters, they are generally presented as naive to the brutal realities of where they are going, even as they are shown doing their best to treat the victims of the Burmese civil war. 

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. 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. A boy is shown escorted to the general's quarters, where the general caresses his head and face before shutting the door. A dead body is shown hanging while the legs have been stripped of their meat by the pigs below. 

Sex

Female captives are forced to stand on a stage and dance seductively in front of the drunk Burmese soldiers. 

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. "C--t" also said once. "Retard" also used by one of the mercenaries; this same mercenary calls Southeast Asians a racist term. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The Burmese soldiers drink heavily during the pre-rape dance scene. Cigarette smoking. Beer drinking. 

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). This is the most violent of the Rambo movies, and much of the second half of the movie is nonstop killing through guns, knives, grenades, landmines, explosions, etc. Female captives are forced to dance on a stage in front of a large group of drunken Burmese soldiers, and soon, the soldiers begin to grab the women, strongly implying that a gang rape is about to take place. A young boy is taken into the quarters of the Burmese commander while all this is taking place; the commander caresses the boy's head and face before shutting the door. People are shot and killed at point-blank range. Children are murdered by Burmese soldiers. A dead body hangs from the gallows, the lower half stripped, presumably by the ravenous pigs gathered below it. Decapitated heads on spikes. Villagers are forced to run through a mined rice paddy -- bodies explode. "F--k" is constantly used, and the leader of the mercenaries says "c--t" once, and uses a racist term to describe Southeast Asians.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byddydh May 21, 2020

good but intense

this movie is very intense my 12 year old is very tough though and an average kid would be 14 plus
Adult Written byNathan009 November 8, 2014

Rambo

A good movie quite intense and nail biting, but is a good slyvester Stallone film
Teen, 13 years old Written byghgfgtf April 26, 2020
Teen, 13 years old Written byRollercoaster dude February 10, 2020

Great movie very disturbing at times

Great action scenes action packed grissly images some scenes are very disturbing like when they bruttaly murder a village and woman are raped Rambo kills people... 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 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 Rambo 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?

  • How does the character Rambo fit in to the tradition of the "strong, silent type?" Who are some other examples of movie characters over the years who fit this description? 

Movie details

For kids who love action

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