Some Thoughts on John Rambo

BANG BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BANG (zip) (zip) (fizz) SMAK BOOM BOOM (zip) (fizz) (zip). BANG BANG.

With all these bullets flying back and forth, it’s difficu
lt to have any thoughts whatsoever on John Rambo, when watching John Rambo. The story is simple, which is good, because it’s (zip) hard to concentrate (BOOM), or even hear yourself ZIP above the think (noise) BOOM.

In all honesty, I’m not writing this in the cinema, but you get the idea. To prove that I understood the plot, here it is in 38 words.

Rambo lives near Burma, it’s dangerous. Burmese BAD. Missionaries come. Want to enter Burma. Rambo says no. Then he takes them. Missionaries get captured. Rambo has to kill everyone BAD, sometimes spectacularly. Rambo saves Missionaries! But not Burma.

It was last Sunday night, and I’d walked over to Palace Westend in light rain. I don't have an excuse, I couldn’t have ended up in that cinema by mistake. While John Rambo was never likely to be any good, there was something appealingly adolescent, and plain awful about it. At times, I questioned what I was doing, whether this should actually be a turning point in my life. Perhaps I was close to an epiphany. 28 years old, 11:00, Sunday night, in a shopping centre, with a beer. Maybe I would come out of the zip cinema realising it was (zip) about time I SMAK (zip) (whiz) BANG BOOM BOOM BOOM.

Killing is as easy as breathing

According to Wikipedia, John Rambo is one of the most violent movies ever produced, with 236 killings, an average of 2.59 every minute. By my reckoning, there were 234, but it still seems like a staggering figure. However, once you’ve done a few sums, it actually isn’t that many.

For instance, there are just 778.8 seconds of solid killings in John Rambo. This adds up to 12.8 minutes of screen time, or 14% of the movie. As a result, 80.02 minutes of this 93-minute film passed by with no killings at all.

14%. Assuming that's what you pay your money for, it's enough to make you ask for it back. Until you look at it like this.

- A discount cinema ticket at Palace Westend costs 1000 ft.
- 1000 ft divided by 236 per killing, or 234, gives you 4.
- Effectively, each screen killing costs 4ft. (3 ft on cheap days).

Pretty competitive, that. And once you start comparing it to other films (for argument’s sake, let’s say Seven and Bambi), John Rambo looks like the pound shop of Hollywood blockbusters. By today’s standards, it'd be 142 forint per screen death in Seven. Pricey yes, but compared to Bambi, it’s a bargain. As far as I can remember, there’s just one killing in that movie. 1 divided by 1000ft… equals 1000ft.

Come on, Walt! For goodness sake, that’
s a little dear.

Should this even exist?

I learnt something that night. Unfortunately, it wasn’t about myself, or killing, but rather the Burmese military. They’re mean! Not only do they blow things up, they murder people, hit people, beat people, slap people, rape women and children, then shoot them. In a very exciting way.

All of this pornographic violence, presented in slow motion and with surround sound, struck me as somewhat questionable. In fact, in a boneheaded action film such as this, a dire situation becomes ridiculous - Burma looks artificial, like the town in Blazing Saddles.

For me, the film was far more revealing about Sylvester Stallone. It’s his Apocalypto, a glimpse into the mind of a slightly mad man. He wrote the screenplay, produced it, directed it, starred in it, and ultimately saves the day with a massive machine gun. I honestly felt as if this was Sly's 6th birthday party… and I'd been invited to sit around and watch.

Andy T.


  1. K L said...

    You are right. It's too violent - almost like real life Burma. Maybe we should hide and censor this film like the Burmese government hides and censors it's own actions. No need for us safe and happy Americans to see what is going on in the world around us... let's watch an Animated Kung-Fu Panda while chowing down on pounds of popcorn and nachos instead.  

  2. hub events said...

    Yes...but... I'm not sure if you missed my point. I don't know about the kung fu in Kung Fu Panda, but the violence in John Rambo is basically pornographic. As you sit there in the theatre with bullets whizzing past your head, it's all very exciting.

    I really got the feeling that the intended reaction of seeing a Burmese villager blown up by a landmine wasn't 'oh my god, the Burmese regime is so bad, i've got to do something.' No, rather, we were supposed to think 'WOOOOAAAH!'

    Which is questionable, to say the least.  


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