killing, the rambo way

Well, today's the day. Rambo opens in theaters nationwide. Sylvester Stallone returns to one of his most iconic roles, the Reagan-era one-man army we know and love, John Rambo. We've been following the progress of this movie for a while now, ever since an early script review hit the web, and then the first bit of really violent footage came out. Basically, it was Rambo in the jungles of Burma, killing lots of nameless, faceless Asian military men, in every manner possible. Yeah. Not very encouraging.

Well, I have seen the movie, and the rumors are true. Rambo kills a lot of Asian dudes in this movie. In fact, it is easily of the most violent movies I have ever seen. People get shot, stabbed, beaten dismembered, decaptitated, shredded, blown up, and violated in ways I have never seen on film. It appears that Stallone, who also wrote and directed the film, did not want to pull any punches when it came to depicting the stark violence of this area of the world. And that means a lot of dudes get killed.

It really isn't much of a movie. There's barely a story—more just a premise, really. Rambo is now living a solitary existence in the remote jungles of Thailand, catching snakes and stuff. A group of western human rights missionaries comes along, asking him to take them up the river to some refugee camps. Of course, the aid workers eventually get captured by the Burmese army, so Rambo has to go back in—armed with his trusty bow and arrows—and save them. Lots of killing ensues. The end.

At the very least, you have to respect Stallone for trying to shine a light on the brutal violence and mass murder of the Burmese-Karen conflict, a 60-year civil war most of the world has no idea is happening. I barely know much about it myself. But the thought of someone coming out of this movie feeling like they've learned a few things about world affairs... that's downright scary.

The sad truth is, a lot of people will probably walk out of Rambo only remembering the marauding, raping, torturing, pedophiling, sadistic Asians who kidnap good white Americans and blow up people for fun. The evil Asians who eventually get what's coming to them... the Rambo way. Boo to that, I say.

It's worth nothing that there is actually one interesting Asian "good guy" character in the movie. Tim Kang plays En-Joo, one of the mercenaries who goes in with Rambo to rescue the missionaries. He doesn't say much, but he does come across as kind of a badass. I liked him.

However, I couldn't shake the feeling that they deliberately wrote this Asian character into the story as a way of mitigating the image of the hordes of evil Asians that populate the movie. Perhaps to appease angry people like myself. "This movie can't be racist--there's an Asian good guy!" Whatever. Take it from me, unless you enjoy seeing lots of Asian people being blown to bits, Rambo is really not worth your time.

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