Remember when times were simpler and the U.S. was an ally to Afghanistan while fighting the Russians? Oh how times have changed. This is the premise of the third installment simply titled RAMBO III and “Dedicated to the gallant people of Afghanistan” as displayed before the end credits.
We meet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) first with a shot of him tying on a bandana over his same semi curly locks flexing his shoulder and back muscles. Then when he is summoned the music crescendos as he looks over his shoulder toward the audience. A nice dramatic intro to a beloved character to get the crowd cheering. After winning a highly intense stick-fighting match to make extra money, we see that Rambo is living in Thailand helping out a Buddhist monastery. After turning down helping his former Vietnam superior, Colonel Samuel Trautman (Richard Crenna), lead the Afghanistan rebels to fight off the Russian invasion, he learns the mission failed and Trautman has been kidnapped. This information prompts Rambo to join the Afghan forces and rescue Trautman from being tortured by Russian Colonel Zaysen (Marc de Jonge).
Rambo is back to his usual stunts, being pretty much indestructible. He fights and blows people up in a variety of ways and has stealth like moves being undetectable and unseen while in plain sight breaking into the enemy’s camp. I’m personally glad he goes to so much trouble to save the guy who seems to continually put him in bad situations just so Colonel Trautman can say, “He’ll find you” when referring to Rambo for the third time in clever new ways, like this exchange:
Colonel Zaysen (Russian): “Who do you think this man is, God?”
Colonel Trautman (American): “God would have mercy. He won’t.”
It’s always a bit funny to me how these battles or wars between nations become so personal between Rambo and the leading commanding officer from the opposing country. In this case, Colonel Zaysen makes sure he personally is the one flying the helicopter doing the strikes and who is out to get Rambo rather than ordering his soldiers to do so. I’m not sure this is the right man to be in charge. As it stands, Rambo and the Russian Colonel’s final confrontation is an epic chicken battle between a helicopter (Zaysen) and a tank (Rambo). I never understood why the helicopters kept fighting at ground level, hovering just a few feet above. May the dumber man lose.
What is it with the horrendous overly sappy music at the end of these Rambo films? “He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother” by Bob Russell & Bobby Scott and performed by Bell Medley is the culprit of the third film. I have to mention it because it sticks with you on just how awful it is. The target audience and fans of the Rambo films need a little more push or energy for their film. Thankfully the original score throughout the picture never changes here or in any of the movies. Despite all it’s familiar flaws, RAMBO III just barely delivers for another good time.
Video: (Widescreen 2.35:1) Very nice picture with beautiful visuals of the Afghanistan and Thailand countries.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio) The sound was great for the explosive action movie.
Audio Commentary with director Peter MacDonald: A mediocre flat commentary with uninteresting information. The director’s speaking pattern has an uninspiring tone, which makes it a hard listen.
Out of the Blu Trivia: If you choose, you can watch pop-up information and tidbits about the film during your viewing.
Afghanistan Land In Crisis (29:48): Like the previous films, this is the best featurette. The filmmakers including Sylvester Stallone discuss how the entire scenario has been switched how it was released right when we became friend with Russia so the film took a lot of heat. They talk a little about our current War on Terror in Afghanistan and how the Afghans were a big fan of Rambo and the U.S.