Until recently, ”Rambo III” was the worst entry in the Rambo franchise. It’s funny how things change. I figured, why not give the movie the benefit of the doubt and rewatch it. It was probably at least 10 years since last time I saw it.
Much has been said about Rambo fighting with the mujahedin, considering how the situation in Afghanistan has changed since 1988. I won’t go down that road.
You are all probably familiar with the story. Rambo declines joining Colonel Trautman on a mission supplying Stinger-missiles to the Afghan resistance. Trautman gets captured by the evil Soviet forces, and the only way to get him out is by Rambo mounting an unofficial rescue operation.
”Rambo III” was shot in various locations, including Arizona and Israel. It was the most expensive movie ever made at the time, with a budget of $63 million. $12 millon was spent on a Gulfstream jet, as part of Sylvester Stallones salary.
The movie was to be directed by Russell Mulcahy, but he was replaced after two weeks by Peter MacDonald, due to ’creative differences’. Some of the footage Mulcahy shot is still in the final cut of the movie.
Ironically, the Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan about four weeks prior to the premiere of the movie.
It is rumoured Marlon Brando was considering playing Russian Colonel Zaysen, and he even did some revision of his scenes in the script. Now, that would have been interesting…
So what’s the verdict?
Well, I was hoping a rewatch would change my mind about ”Rambo III”. I always thought it started kind of good, and my taste has probably evolved in some direction these last ten years.
Also, I kind of enjoyed the fourth Rambo, although it certainly was over-the-top violent. And the fifth installment was just plain awful, so ”Rambo III” couldn’t have been that bad, right?
But rewatching this thing, I found that as soon as Rambo enters Afghanistan, my attention keeps going to my phone. It’s just not interesting enough. There are no memorable scenes…which is bad.
So – no, a rewatch didn’t increase my love for this movie, sadly. But I so want to like it, because I still love Rambo as a character.
One wonders what would have happened if the sequels were more in line with the original ”First Blood”, which in my mind still is a masterpiece.