Rambo is surprisingly effective as an action movie precisely because the villains seem truly dangerous and the "mission" truly a death wish.
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The movie does have its own kind of blockheaded poetry.
Stallone (who looks fit but mostly keeps his shirt on) has no intention of bogging the action down, but it's still a notably cheerless exercise, without knowing winks or stabs (pardon the expression) at humor. It is in all respects, rather, a completely workmanlike effort.
There is a blessed dearth of dialogue, but much of it is unintentionally hilarious.
In the Rambo canon, where does this one fit? The tone is closer to "First Blood" but the body count is more "Rambo III." No matter how one dices and slices this new Rambo, the first one in 20 years, it will likely please fans of the long-in-the-tooth series.
The result is the farthest thing from a bland, spineless sequel: It's a brutal, insanely excessive successor to grindhouse pictures of yore.
In short, No. 4 is one big snore.
The movie is neither cathartic nor entertaining. The action scenes (and there are many of them) feel mechanized and calculated.
Can anyone still be rooting for Rocky or Rambo?