A New War (Rambo III, 1988)
The directorial debut of Peter MacDonald (whose had a bigger career as a second unit director, part of films such as Guardians of the Galaxy and the Empire Strikes Back), Rambo III brings us a Rambo once again in a self imposed exile. But he is brought back out of this “retirement” because the Soviets have captured Trautman (Richard Crenna).
Rambo goes into Afghanistan and teams up with the Freedom fighters. He also becomes a father figure to a young Afghani boy. Ticking off the tropes again. Rambo earns the trust of the Freedom Fighters, so that they are willing to help him, but Rambo needs very little help. He is going to solve the cold war the old fashioned way…bullets.
Rambo is full on super hero here, unstoppable by even missiles. This is not surprising, there had already been a Rambo cartoon on in the afternoons back in 1986. In the cartoon, he was fighting a terror group called S.A.V.A.G.E. (Specialist-Administrators of Vengeance, Anarchy and Global Extortion) all over the globe. I am not joking. It may surprise you to hear that neither Stallone or Crenna reprises their roles. So the fact that Rambo III is the most cartoonish take on the character should not be a surprise.
Like Part 2, this film is enjoyable and amusing for what it is, even though it lacks the emotion of First Blood. It is not for lack of trying. Both sequels tried to approach heavy subjects related to war, but their simplified approach to Stallone’s Rambo is far more angry than broken. The character suffers for it overall, and the action is pretty by the numbers, but still make for an enjoyable Stallone action film.