Friday, March 07, 2008

According to the wisdom of John Rambo, when you’re pushed, killing is as easy as breathing. Now one may doubt that statement, as breathing is pretty fucking easy (unless you have polio or something), but in a glorious orgy of violence, Rambo proves his statement to be true. Killing is a piece of piss.

The volume of slayings in Rambo is well documented but nothing quite prepared me for it. Hundreds of people are shot, beheaded, roasted, stabbed and blown up. It’s probably the most relentlessly violent film I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, I enjoyed it...a lot.

There was one point in the film where I just couldn’t help but laugh. In the final massacre there’s a bit where a bad guy gets shot in the head and his head explodes in a cloud of blood. I have no idea whether Stallone thinks he’s making a political statement in this film, or a comment on the nature of evil in the modern world, but I find his fidelity to stomach-churning carnage quite charming. Honestly. He’s not trying to win hearts and minds with words and bullshit. He’s winning hearts and minds by vanquishing evildoers; by vaporising them.

However, there are people who think differently. People who think they can change the world with love and compassion. What fools. And no sooner have the Christian human rights missionaries in this film begun treating Burma’s sick and begun telling them about Jesus than the Burmese army is shooting them.

The scene where the village is attacked is a perfect example of how excessive this film is. Men, women and children are shot and stabbed and blown up, and at one point a child is even tossed into a ball of flame. But just when you’re staring wide-eyed at the screen as a thousand bullets whistle past your ears in beautiful surround sound, the symphony of violence is pulled out and mournful, ethereal music plays. Look at the pointless bloodshed. Look at the anguish of hundreds of people’s heads being popped off their shoulders like fleshy balloons. Look at the waste. Isn’t it tragic? Yes. Yes it is. [wipes away tear]

But how can we right this wrong? Should we use diplomacy? Should we send a peace-keeping force into this war-ravaged country? Fuck that, you dickless liberal pussy. We need Rambo.

Rambo in this film is a shadow of his former mulleted glory (the locks aren’t quite as impressively full-bodied). No longer does the sight of his oily, sweat-drenched torso have straight men questioning their sexuality. Instead he’s become old and weary. His headband is less flamboyant and muscle tone has given way to muscle mass. But perhaps realising this, Stallone throws in a brief flashback sequence (a la Rocky IV) to show Rambo as he used to be. What a man he was. How his biceps bulged and how his pecs heaved. Watching so much man is like remembering a cherished memory – the smile of a loved one now departed, the laugh of a child now grown, the glow associated with a favourite wank mag now soiled beyond recognition. Ah memories...

But the flashback sequence perhaps has a more serious meaning. We see how Rambo has suffered over the years. How he’s been defined by killing. But the flashback is also played against the background of a storm. Yeah, that’s right. A storm is coming. A massive, slightly flabby, monosyllabic John Rambo-shaped storm – it’s going to rain bullets you fucking pissant motherfucker.

However, the storm has to wait a little while. First Rambo has to accompany a bunch of mercenaries to the army camp. Of course they’re a colourful bunch, especially the fucking Limey prick who has to fucking say the fucking word ‘fuck’ all the fucking time. What a fucking cunt.

But this Limey prick takes an instant dislike to our John. He thinks he’s just a has-been – a vet who’s only good for steering boats. And so for a while John is left behind. He’s told he’s not needed. But then the foolish mercenaries get themselves in a pickle and Rambo has to save their pathetic arses. And he does so in style. A handful of soldiers are despatched with John’s bow and arrow. But these people aren’t killed with boring old shots to the chest. Oh, no. Instead arrows penetrate heads and shoot through faces. Sweet.

This bodacious display of R-rated Robin Hoodism of course gets everyone on Rambo’s side but he and the mercenaries still have to save the missionaries. And to do this they have to enter the well-protected army camp. They eventually do this but they have the little problem of hundreds of soldiers. Fortunately, though, most of them are holding a little rape party, so they’re occupied. But you’ve got to admire the rapist soldiers in this film. I mean, standard, ordinary rape is so passé. It’s so brute. The characters here realise that the old in-out needs a bit of pizzazz. A bit of glamour. So just as things are starting, a guy runs in with a red smoke flare. Yeah, that’s the stuff. That’s the kind of thing that makes a rape party go with a bang – lots of groovy red smoke.

But speaking of rape, how come the cute blonde missionary gets away unscathed? Here you are with an exotic piece of ass and you’re abusing less than hotties. It doesn’t make any sense. But one of the main bad guys does eventually decide that he wants to rape her. Too bad for him, though, that just as he’s about to unleash Rapey McRape, Rambo appears behind him and literally rips his throat out. Sucks to be you, pal.

But I still can’t help but ponder this. Okay, we see hundreds of people shot and blown up. We see a crucified missionary have his fleshy leg stumps get eaten by ravenous pigs. We see Burmese soldiers make villagers run through mine-ridden swamps for shits and giggles. We see children shot and tossed into flames. We see Burmese women raped. But somehow the sight of a cute white woman getting raped by dastardly brown folks is too much. We can’t see that. That would be too disturbing.

But would rape really be that bad in the grand scheme of things when you have to watch a massacre from close range? Because that’s what happens to the poor woman. She has to stand there and watch Rambo slaughter what seems like hundreds of soldiers as he fires on them from an armoured jeep. Heads pop, limbs fly and men are pulped. But you see, while the earlier violence was sickening, this violence is gnarly. And that’s because the Burmese soldiers were heartless wankers and Rambo is a beautiful, vengeful angel of death. You see, violence is fine when you’re right.

Even one of the missionaries learns this. At the beginning he’s insistent that violence is never justified. But at the end he’s smashing a guy to death with a rock. I mean, being holy is good and all that, but it’s not going to stop you getting mullered by non-English speaking brown folks, is it? Whereas a rock will. Righteous, hearty violence solves everything.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one who wanted to cheer at the end when the main bad guy has his guts spilled all over the floor. We see him kill, we see him torture and we even find out that he likes sexual assault. So not only is he a psychopathic murderer, but he’s a rapist, too. But not only is he a rapist, he likes to rape children. And worse than that, he likes to rape boys. So the psychopathic, murdering, rapist is also a nonce. What a bastard.

So thank god for Rambo. Because of men like him we can sleep soundly at night. We can stop worrying that our beautiful white women will be raped by Asians and we can feel a little less bad about having lost in Vietnam. Yay!

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