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Rambo III (1988) - 4K Blu-ray Review

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Rambo III

Three years would pass before another go around with John Rambo and produce the most (at the time) violent action movie ever made. It marked a continued tonal shift of the character that had good intentions hidden in cartoonish, ham fisted execution. It’s also a stark reminder how quickly world perceptions change, seeing as the film is dedicated to ‘the brave people of Afghanistan’ and, even at time, aging cold war clichés of nefarious Soviets.

"It’s silly, impressively shot, and hopelessly inept at conveying its good intentions"


 

Production on this one was troubled, with Highlander director Russell Mulcahey and a good portion of the cast and crew been given their marching orders by star Stallone, and production being moved to Arizona (for the most part) instead of filming in the Middle East.

First Blood Part 1’s 2nd Unit director, Peter MacDonald, was chosen to helm, and a new reluctant rescue mission narrative was quickly hatched to see Rambo go pacifist for three seconds then take it upon himself to rescue mentor Troutman (Crenna in his last appearance in the series) from the clutches of nefarious Soviet invaders.

Again the film tries to be current and topical, shining a light on the issues that were troubling in 1988, but what you end up getting is more of the same. I actually burned through all of the Rambo films currently on 4K in two nights, and I had to double check which bad guy was in which helicopter scene again, just to make sure I was thinking of the right movie. They’re that similar. 2 Rambo uses an explosive arrow. This one he uses a tank.

Rambo’s skills, and glam rock metal hair, amusingly push him into full caricature of machismo mode. All sense of reality is lost in this one. I will say, the scene where Rambo cauterizes a bullet wound with gun powder igniting through his mid-section must have stuck with me as a 13 year-old as it’s still cool now. The bad guys are, again, thinly drawn stereotypes, and the support characters are there only to service the star. While interesting to see Crenna’s Troutman actually involved in the action this time, instead of simply rocking up and spouted some memorable RAMBO IS A HARD ARSE line, next to a roided up Stallone, cutting down bad guys, he comes off even more unrealistic.Rambo III

I didn’t find this one as disagreeable as the 2nd chapter, but I can’t say the story-telling or execution is any less hackneyed. It’s a set your testosterone to STALLONE, kick back and watch him go. It’s silly, impressively shot, and hopelessly inept at conveying its good intentions. I was glad there wasn’t another until Stallone had time to evolve.

2/5 stars

Rambo III

4K UHD

4K UHD Details:

Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate
Available on Blu-ray
- November 13, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K Blu-ray: Region free; 2K Blu-ray: Locked to Region A

VIDEO:

This is an inconsistent 4K native scan of the original camera negatives. At times, the contrast and HDR colors are some of the finest in the series, in other moments, grain levels range from fine and excellent to intrusive. Rambo’s excellent glam-rock hairdo is rendered in windswept mastery and skin tones are rich and detailed. Beading sweat, splashing blood, desert vista—all range from excellent to soft, depending on the scene. This 4K release is the finest the 1988 ‘most expensive film ever made’ has ever looked, but could have used a little further attention to detail, much like the movie’s script.

AUDIO:

Awesome, if repeated, DTS-HD 5.1 mix from the previous blu-ray. It’s full of thump and base. Dialogue is clean and centered. Ambiance is lacking in the few quieter moments or in service to some of the scenes environments. Being such a busy and explosive picture you get plenty of directionality and immersive when Rambo blows fools away. The finale with the helicopter and tank etc is a wonderful speaker workout.

FEATURES: 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Audio Commentary by Peter MacDonald

Special Features:

All archival and previously scene features and commentary that have been seen and heard before. All bar the commentary you’ll find on the blu-ray, which is included, along with a digital copy. As this is the last of the 1980s movies, I will say the cover art, employing re-jigged theatrical art from the likes of Drew Struzan and Ronato Cesaro was a welcome addition. They looked beautiful.

  • NEW "Rambo Takes the '80s Part 3"
  • "Full Circle" Featurette
  • "A Hero's Journey" Featurette
  • "Rambo's Survival Hardware" Featurette
  • Alternative Beginning
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Original TV Spots

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 2/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

Rambo III (1988)

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
102 mins
Director
: Peter McDonald
Writer:
Sylvester Stallone; Sheldon Lettich
Cast:
Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Marc de Jonge
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The first was for himself. The second for his country. This time it's to save his friend.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You expect sympathy? You started this damn war! Now you'll have to deal with it!"
Theatrical Distributor:
TriStar Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 25, 1988
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 13, 2018
Synopsis: The battle rages on as superstar Sylvester Stallone detonates the third blast in the action-packed Rambo series. Combat has taken its toll on John Rambo (Stallone), but he has finally begun to find inner peace inside a monastery — until his friend and mentor Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) shows up to ask for his help on a top-secret mission in Afghanistan. A war-weary Rambo declines, but when Trautman is captured, Rambo erupts into a one-man firestorm to rescue his former commanding officer and decimate the enemy. It's an intense, pulse- pounding adventure that boasts unrelenting action and suspense from start to finish!

Rambo III (1988)

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