Today I watched Peter MacDonald’s Rambo III (1988)
First Blood was a well thought out message film discussing veteran’s rights and post traumatic stress disorder through the vehicle of a crowd pleasing action film. First Blood Part II trades in that thematic depth for corny action and warmongering American nationalism. So it comes as something of a surprise to me that Rambo III is so boring, sure the hawkish sensibilities are still there and the poorly thought out use of the Soviet war in Afganistan as a backdrop is pretty offensive but even that fails to elicit a strong emotional reaction.
Rambo’s old commanding officer, Colonel Trautman, has been captured while attempting to aid Afghan militants and so, being the hero, Rambo goes in to save him. The plot unfolds in a perfunctory manner, A good amount of the time nothing is happening and when it does it seems to happen purely because cliche and plot structure call for it. There is also little to laugh at in a sense of amusingly bad or campy film making and despite the high body count even the fight scenes feel stale and repetitive. There really is only one notable scene of a bit of improvised field medicine that is both somewhat grotesque and absurdly humerous.
Rambo III offers little to nothing to any respective audience, for the action hound there are significantly more violent films out there and for the American patriot there are much more intellectual expressions of that love. Even if you want to be offended the film refuses to offer anything more than groan worthy. The film even misses the opportunity to do anything with the drastic change of scenery from Rambo’s traditional forests and jungles to desert. All in all this is a wholly miss-able bore that fails to stimulate on any level. 1/5