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That Rambo, the fourth in the confusingly titled series, has more gore than the first three combined should just be par for its B-junk function. Except that writer/director/superstar Sylvester Stallone invites cheering at the way civilians are graphically disembodied. It’s about the only time the new Rambo tries to be fun. Placing his one-man army against Burma’s genocide lets Stallone try to recapture the serious tone of First Blood. As with Rambo III, the substance isn’t there so the anger falls flat. Had Rambo opted for the goofiness of Rambo: First Blood Part II, this unfulfillingly small sequel might have met the franchise’s power-mad ’80s kitsch. 

Stallone doesn’t let his title character evolve past exclaiming in the first 10 minutes, “Fuck the world.” Nor does the film live up to the rebellion of that absolute dismissal of everything---its bluntness is so unexpected, I laughed out loud when he said it. The Saving Private Ryan camera-style of battle scenes, and horror movie effects of kids stabbed through the head, underline Stallone’s loss of direction. “Fuck the world,” at least, indicates certainty.

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