Two weeks ago an American hero made his triumphant return to theaters, John Rambo. Sylvester Stallone decided to bring the long dormant action icon out of retirement and unleash him on a world that desperately needs him in his new film Rambo. But Rambo was not the only one returning to the big screen, it was the return of the action movie.
To explain what I mean one only has to compare action movies today to their heyday in the eighties. Action movies in the eighties were special with a style that was unique to them. Sure they were a little predictable and lacking in intellectual depth but they provided us with a unique outlet to channel our aggressions vicariously through the usually muscle bound (or martial arts trained) hero who always had a great one liner ready just before he launched a bazooka up the villains ass.
Characters like this were epitomized by John Rambo, a one-man death machine that you couldn’t wait to see get unleashed on a group of evil terrorists.
digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/movies/Why_Rambo_is_an_Icon’; http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.jsBut something happened in the mid to late nineties that changed cinema. The action hero disappeared. The reasons are numerous; over saturation of the market, the rise of the ‘special effect’ summer blockbuster, are just a couple of reasons why but I think the main reason is that Hollywood’s newfound attitude of ‘social responsibility.’
Villains must have some redeeming value so the studio is not accused of a bias. People frown upon a hero who empties his machine gun into an enemy camp. He’s a ‘role model’ has a responsibility to teach children that no matter what violence is wrong. It’s complaints like these that have ruined the action genre. The problem these people fail to realize is in the real world sometimes the fist is more effective then the table and that there is a time for negotiation and a time for action. Rambo skips the negotiation and gets to the action.
The new Rambo movie made me realize what was missing in so many action movies, fun. There is no moralizing it is a simple adventure that allows you to take your mind off the world for two hours. I love stories with emotional depth as much as the next person but sometimes I just want to be entertained and when I watched Rambo mowing down Burmese soldiers with a chain gun I was entertained. As a matter of fact I was cheering in my seat along with the rest of the audience. And if the rumors about a sequel set Darfur are true I will be the first in line.
We all want to be Rambo to some extent it just takes watching the movies to make us realize it. So let me say, Rambo welcome back.