Watching Ninja Assassin made me think about how much film and special effects technology has advanced to the point that the ways people can die in a film really is only limited by the imagination of the filmmakers involved. My new choice for “Scenes I Love” may make me come across as some gorehound, violence-loving neanderthal (the first two are actually correct but the third is false since I’m homo sapiens), but I love this scene I have chosen because it’s so over-the-top yet holds many truths to the events happening therein.
Rambo was Sylvester Stallone’s attempt to restart the Rambo franchise and to a certain extent he does so. The film was better than the third one and in terms of storytelling was equal to the second one and just a tad short of the original film. It’s a film one will not write to the Academy about, but Stallone brings back the franchise to what made it popular in the first place. He brought the character of John Rambo back to being the self-destructive, self-loathing, war-scarred veteran who just wants to be left alone to live his miserable life, but always gets dragged into one good-intentioned crusade after another.
This scene happens right at the very end and one could say it’s the film’s climactic eruption of testosterone. Rambo literally explodes Burmese soldiers’ bodies through his effective use of a .50 caliber heavy machine gun (and those who think the gun’s effect on people’s bodies was over-the-top…those people would be wrong. That is exactly what a .50 caliber round does to a body. It doesn’t do a body good) and some help from the people he’s trying to rescue. It’s hard not cheer Rambo in this scene after watching these very same soldiers massacre an entire Burmese village, raping captured young women and bayonet little kids before throwing them into a hut’s raging fire.
This scene also shows why the Rambo films have been labeled as nothing but mindless violence trying to make itself to be something profound (he is killing the bad people and trying to save those who are defenseless). I always though this franchise was just about one very angry guy who may or may not be right in the head, but who definitely has a weird sense of right and wrong. Not to mention very good at killing massive amounts of people in very messy ways.
There’s a part halfway in this scene where the higher-than-though leader of the Christian missionary group (who had earlier in the film lectured Rambo for being too violent in saving his and his people’s lives) played by Paul Schulze sees the carnage happening all around him and decides to go all caveman on one soldier who killed one of his congregation. A part of me actually smirked at this part. I knew that no matter how well-intentioned, principled and civilized a man thinks he is there’s something primal deep down inside that wants to commit violence.