Rambo is a 2008 American action film directed by Sylvester Stallone, who co-wrote it based on the character John Rambo created by author David Morrell for his novel First Blood.
The story follows the titular Vietnam War veteran (reprised by Stallone) as he leads a group of mercenaries into Burma to rescue Christian missionaries, who have been kidnapped by a local infantry unit.
A sequel to Rambo III (1988), it is the fourth instalment in the Rambo franchise and co-stars Julie Benz, Paul Schulze, Matthew Marsden, Graham McTavish, Rey Gallegos, Tim Kang, Jake La Botz, Maung Maung Khin, and Ken Howard.
The film is dedicated to the memory of Richard Crenna, who played Colonel Sam Trautman in the previous films, and who died of heart failure in 2003.
Amid the political protests of the Saffron Revolution in Burma, ruthless SPDC officer Major Pa Tee Tint leads Burmese junta army forces to pillage small villages in a campaign of fear. His soldiers sadistically slaughter innocents, abduct teenage boys to be drafted into his army and hold women hostage to be raped as sex slaves. Meanwhile, 20 years after the events in Afghanistan, John Rambo now lives in Thailand, making a meagre living as a snake catcher and by providing boat rides. A missionary doctor from Colorado named Michael Burnett hires Rambo to use his boat to ferry their group up the Salween River into Burma on a humanitarian mission to provide medical aid to a village inhabited by the Karen people. Rambo initially refuses, then agrees when requested by Michael’s wife Sarah Miller.
During the trip, the boat is stopped by pirates demanding Sarah in exchange for passage, forcing Rambo to kill them. Greatly disturbed by Rambo’s actions, Michael sends him back upon arriving at their destination, claiming his group no longer wants his help. In the village, the missionaries provide aid to those attacked by Tint’s soldiers. But the army strikes, the villagers are massacred and the missionaries are abducted.
The pastor of the missionaries’ church comes to Thailand and asks Rambo to guide a team of five mercenaries on a rescue mission. Rambo takes the mercenary team to the drop-off point and offers to help, but Lewis, a former SAS soldier and the team’s leader, refuses. Myint, a Karen rebel familiar with the area, leads the mercenaries to the village of the massacre. As they survey the damage, a squad of Tint’s soldiers arrive in a cargo truck with a group of villagers, intent on playing games and killing them.
Outnumbered, the mercenaries take cover and watch helplessly as the soldiers prey on their hostages. Having secretly followed the mercenaries, Rambo emerges in time to kill all the soldiers with his bow and arrow, allowing the hostages to escape unharmed. Rambo joins the mercenary team and they make their way to Tint’s soldiers’ camp. They stealthily rescue the surviving American missionaries and Burmese hostages and flee under cover of night.
The next morning, Tint and his soldiers pursue them. Rambo lures a section of the army into activating a dormant British Tallboy bomb left lying in the forest, killing his targets. Eventually, Tint’s soldiers and manage to capture everyone except for Rambo, Sarah, and School Boy, the mercenaries’ sniper. Rambo launches a surprise attack by seizing a jeep mounted with an M2 Browning machine gun, igniting a mass shooting in the jungle during which he shoots most of Tint’s army dead while a firefight ensues between the mercenaries and Tint’s soldiers. The Karen rebels, led by Myint, arrive and join the fight, helping to overwhelm Tint’s soldiers and kill them all. After realising his defeat, Tint attempts to escape, but Rambo intercepts and disembowels him dead with his machete. Sometime later, Rambo returns to the United States to visit his father at his home in Bowie, Arizona.
- Sylvester Stallone as John J. Rambo.
- Julie Benz as Sarah Miller.
- Paul Schulze as Michael Burnett.
- Matthew Marsden as School Boy.
- Graham McTavish as Lewis.
- Tim Kang as En-Joo.
- Rey Gallegos as Diaz.
- Jake La Botz as Reese.
- Maung Maung Khin as Major Pa Tee Tint.
- Ken Howard as Father Arthur Marsh.
- Supakorn Kitsuwon as Myint.
- Aung Aay Noi as Lieutenant Aye.
- Sornram Patchimtasanakarn as Tha.
- Stallone had stated that part of the reason that it took so long to produce a fourth film was due to a lack of a compelling story that motivated him to return to the role.
- The film had a production crew of 560 people, including 450 Thai crew members, and over 80 foreign members from Australia, America, Canada, Myanmar and the United Kingdom.
- The rights to the Rambo franchise were sold to Miramax in 1997 after Carolco Pictures went bankrupt.
- Miramax intended to produce a fourth film but Stallone was unmotivated to reprise the role.
- The rights were then sold to Nu Image and Millennium Films in 2005, who green-lit the film before the release of Rocky Balboa.
- Filming began in Thailand, Mexico, and the US in January 2007, and ended in May 2007.
- It grossed $42 million in the US and Canada and $113.2 million worldwide against a budget of $50 million.
- Rambo: First Blood (1982).
- Rambo: First Blood, Part II (1985).
- Rambo III (1988).
- Rambo (2008).
- Rambo: Last Blood (2019).
- Rambo (2020) (Bollywood Remake).
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Sylvester Stallone.
- Producer(s): Avi Lerner, Kevin King-Thompson, and John Thompson.
- Writer(s): Art Monterastelli and Sylvester Stallone.
- Music: Brian Tyler.
- Cinematography: Glen MacPherson.
- Editor(s): Sean Albertson.
- Production: Nu Image, Equity Pictures, Medienfonds GmbH & Co, and KG IV.
- Distributor(s): Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company.
- Release Date: 25 January 2008 (US).
- Running time: 91 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.