Running Time: 93 mins
Rated: Rated R (strong violence, strong coarse language and strong adult themes)
Sylvester Stallone proved that at age 60 he could revive his iconic creation, Rocky Balboa, after five movies over a thirty year period. He adjusted the character of Rocky to his late 50s and made an agreeably emotional fight film.
At age 61, he resurrects his other iconic character, John Rambo, after three films over a 25 year period, still doing battle but not nearly so genial as Rocky.
Both characters are instantly recognisable world-wide - Rocky the emblem of underdog success (along with Bill Conti's theme music), Rambo the emblem of fierce aggression, fighting for the underdog and, with the exception of the initial film, First Blood, amassing a huge body count.
For his final Rambo actioner, Stallone has Rambo working anonymously in Thailand. He is approached by a group of US evangelical missionaries (whose need to do good seems more important than the needs of the people) to take them into Burma with medicines and religious books. We know it will be a fraught journey because we have already been exposed to the ruthless Burmese army attacking the Karen rebels (which has been going on for sixty years and has been called a genocide), massacring, burning and looting and taking the young men for military service.
When the village where the missionaries are working is attacked, Rambo goes back with a group of tough mercenaries to rescue them. This happens in the rain and in the dark - and then they are pursued by a huge number of soldiers. All might seem lost until Rambo finds a machine gun nest and it is almost no contest.
This is where the violence becomes fierce and then brutal as the blood lust, no matter what the justification, takes over the characters - and, probably, the emotions of many in the audience. Stallone has his heart in the right place in supporting the Karens against the government and military, but his trigger finger is