Box art for Rambo


action & adventure, drama

When a group of missionary aid workers disappear, vigilante Vietnam War veteran John Rambo accompanies a group of mercenaries on a daring rescue mission.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Non-stop violence is too overpowering for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that the fourth installment in the Rambo franchise is, like its '80s predecessors, full of blood and violence (rendered even more disturbing by the last two decades' technological advances). The main character is a one-man killing machine; when pushed to defend himself or others, he'll use anything -- from his bare hands to a rock to a weapon -- to destroy his enemies. Despite being 61, Stallone still has a considerable following, although most of his biggest fans are men old enough to be fathers at this point. While younger kids may not be interested, teen boys may well want to see what all the fuss is about this iconic character. In addition to the disturbing amount of violence, there's also a great deal of strong language and an awful scene that's clearly the prelude to a gang rape.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about whether the amount of violence in this movie is fitting, given its subject matter. Are there times when violence needs to be graphic to get a filmmaker's point across? Why or why not? What's the appeal of explicit violence in the movies? What effects does watching this kind of content have? The fact that violent movies stimulate parts of the brain bears some commentary from the parental units.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 30
    see all Rambo reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: It's an unfortunate ending for a once-great screen character who deserves to be known for more than the waste he laid to others.

- Adam Graham, Detroit News, Friday, January 25, 2008

Fresh: I know my credibility could take a hit here, but I am man enough to admit that I enjoyed watching Rambo once again don his famous headband and shoot enemies with his trusty bow and arrow.

- Adam Tobias, Watertown Daily Times, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: It's not the perfect Rambo film I was hoping for, but it was a pretty entertaining one.

- Austin Kennedy, Sin Magazine, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

On an artistic level, this film's value is questionable, but I think mostly good...or at least tries. On an entertainment level, the film is great. This film is definitely the runner up in the series, but does come a bit close at times to matching the first entry. The story is okay, but like many action films, there's only just enough plot to provide a reason for tons of action, violence, blood, and gore. Those are all things that this film has more than enough of. That's not a bad thing though. Stallone is actually a really competent director, and under his direction, the violence and action aren't wasted. There's a moral center to the film, and it doesn't come off as too hokey, cheesy, or preachy, but it does have a clear stance on an important issue. How the film deals with that issue is where you could debate for hours on its merits and effectiveness. This is a more mature Rambo. Not having any of the cheesiness of parts 2 and 3 really helps. Like Rocky Balboa, this film strives for a tone closer to the first film. In the case of this film though, it's not nearly as close as Rocky Balboa is. It's close though. I feel that this film is too short, but I don't really know what to add except for some more character development. The acting is decent (for what a film like this needs), but could have been better. It's clear Stallone wanted a Rambo more appropriate for his age, time, and to best fit the way the world is now, and he succeeded. Overall, this is a decently satisfying experience, despite its flaws- like being a bit predictable here and there. He's spent years trying to achieve peace and put his past to rest, but Rambo still can't quite let go. He's gotten amazingly close, but finds himself forced to unearth his long buried but lethal set of skills in order to rescue a group of missionaries being held captive by the ruthless Burmese army and their vicious leader. Ordinarily Rambo wouldn't care, but he's regained some of his humanity and conscience, and I liked how the film handled the characters return to his old ways, but did so in a way that felt realistic and grounded. This film probably has the most overt political and social message about it, and I liked it, although it can be hard to defend or justify the means used to solve problems. I mean, it's 91 minutes long, and there's a body count of about 236, so that's roughly over 2.5 kills every 60 seconds! Wow! And this is definitely the most visceral and brutal of the series too, as you see (in detail) bodies get blown to bits or shredded by gunfire instead of just falling down or going up in a puff of smoke. Like I said though, there is a purpose behind it. The film is chock full of action, but there's a lot of down time as well, most of it well spent. When things get cooking though, this is definitely one of the most impressive and jaw dropping carnage fests ever, and it helps that the film actually tries to make it legitimately impactful. All in all, a very satisfying, though still flawed film. What it lacks in overall emotional heft it more than makes up for viscerally. Plus, it's just nice seeing the character again, and the direction they they took him in. Having Goldsmith's old score get reincorporated was a wonderful nostalgic and masterful touch as well.

- cosmo313, Wednesday, November 28, 2012

4 stars

Sylvester Stallone's Rambo is everything it sets out to be.The story is straightforward and it only requires a little over 80 minutes to get through it all. The plot unveils in a linear fashion and it is a steady climb until its mind blowing finale.The violence is brutal and gratuitous. The villains and setting of the picture also make the action that much more satisfying. It is honest and serious, but at the same time the highlight of everything that happens. The final 10 minutes warrants a standing ovation.Sylvester Stallone shows that he can direct, while also star as the lead with no problem. Julie Benz is a little preachy with her dialogue, but stands out as the lone female. The cast of mercenaries are an interesting bunch as well.Rambo holds nothing back and it delivers its entertainment in a bloody violent fashion. Go see it.

- skactopus, Thursday, August 23, 2012

3 stars

Everything aside, this feels like a re-imagining of the first film, with small tributes to the action in the first two sequels. I cannot say that it is a giant leap forward for the franchise, but it is definitely best sequel to have come out. The action is bloody, gruesome, and awesome, the acting is decent, the story is generic but much more effective than the previous instalments, and I actually felt some emotion this time around. The dialogue is plain, but when there needs to be a strong line, there is no shortage of it being done well. This fourth instalment knew exactly what it wanted to be and knew that there was no room for originality left in this series. It was yet another excuse to have Johnny on the big screen again, but quite honestly, it was just plain awesome! Besides a few scenes that made me cringe and wish they weren't present, this film is a very fun ride!

- fb733768972, Sunday, July 1, 2012