Rambo III

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the film. For the video game, see Rambo III (video game).
Rambo III
Rambo3poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter MacDonald
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Characters 
by David Morrell
Starring
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography John Stanier
Edited by
  • O. Nicholas Brown
  • Andrew London
  • James R. Symons
  • Edward Warschilka
Production
company
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • May 25, 1988 (1988-05-25)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language
  • English
  • Russian
Budget $58–63 million[2][3]
Box office $189 million[4]

Rambo III is a 1988 American action film. The film depicts fictional events during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. It is the third film in the Rambo series following First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part II. It was in turn followed by Rambo in 2008, making it the last film in the series to feature Richard Crenna as Colonel Sam Trautman before his death in 2003.

Sixty-five seconds of the film were cut in the UK version for theatrical release.[1] Some later video releases almost tripled the cuts.[5]

Plot[edit]

In 1988, Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) visits his old friend and ally John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) in Thailand. He explains that he is putting together a mercenary team for a CIA-sponsored supply mission on behalf of anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan. Despite being shown photos of civilians suffering at the hands of the Soviet military, Rambo refuses to join, as he is tired of fighting. Trautman proceeds anyway and is ambushed by enemy forces near the border, resulting in all of his men being killed. Trautman is captured and sent to a large mountain base to be interrogated by Soviet Colonel Zaysen (Marc de Jonge) and his henchman Kourov (Randy Raney).

Embassy official Robert Griggs (Kurtwood Smith) informs Rambo of Trautman's capture but refuses to approve a rescue mission for fear of drawing the United States into the war. Aware that Trautman will die otherwise, Rambo gets permission to undertake a solo rescue on the condition that he will be disavowed in the event of capture or death. Rambo immediately flies to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he intends to convince arms dealer Mousa Ghani (Sasson Gabai) to bring him to Khost, the town closest to the Soviet base where Trautman is held captive.

The Mujahideen in the village, led by chieftain Masoud, hesitate to help Rambo free Trautman. Meanwhile, a Soviet informant in Ghani's employ informs the Russians, who send two attack helicopters to destroy the village. Though Rambo manages to destroy one of them with a turret, the rebels refuse to aid him any further. Aided only by Mousa and a young boy named Hamid (Doudi Shoua), Rambo attacks the base and inflicts significant damage before being forced to retreat. With both his allies wounded, Rambo sends them away before resuming his infiltration.

Skillfully evading base security, Rambo reaches Trautman just as he is about to be tortured with a flamethrower. He and Trautman rescue several other prisoners and hijack a Hind helicopter to escape the base. The helicopter is damaged during takeoff and quickly crashes, forcing the escapees to flee across the sand on foot. An attack chopper pursues Rambo and Trautman to a nearby cave, where Rambo destroys it with an explosive arrow. A furious Zaysen sends commandos under Kourov to kill them, but they are quickly routed and killed. An injured Kourov attacks Rambo with his bare hands, but is overcome and killed.

As Rambo and Trautman make their way to the Pakistani border, Zaysen and his forces surround them. But before the duo are overwhelmed, Masoud's Mujahideen forces attack the Soviets in a surprise cavalry charge. Despite being wounded, Rambo takes control of a tank and uses it to shoot down Zaysen's chopper. The two collide but only Rambo survives. At the end of the battle, Rambo and Trautman say goodbye to the Mujahideen and leave Afghanistan.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Stallone later said his original premise of the film "was more in keeping with the theme of Tears of the Sun, but set in Afghanistan."[6]

Several weeks into filming, many of the film's crew were fired including the director of photography and director Russel Mulcahy. Stallone:

The canvas of this movie is so large you have to constantly think 10 scenes ahead. You can't wing it. They didn't go into the Battle of Waterloo not knowing what their strategy would be. Well, this movie is kind of like a cinematic warfare. We have a huge cast and crew (more than 250 people) and tough locations to deal with. Everyone and everything has to coordinate.[7]

Some critics noted that the timing of the movie, with its unabashedly anti-Soviet tone, ran afoul of the opening of Communism to the West under Mikhail Gorbachev, which had already changed the image of the Soviet Union to a substantial degree by the time the movie was finished.[8]

Sylvester Stallone had hired Mulcahy in the basis of his music videos and Highlander.

He went to Israel two weeks before me with the task of casting two dozen vicious looking Russian troops. These men were suppose to make your blood run cold. When I arrived on the set, what I saw was two dozen blond, blue-eyed pretty boys that resembled rejects from a surfing contest. Needless to say Rambo is not afraid of a little competition but being attacked by third rate male models could be an enemy that could overwhelm him. I explained my disappointment to Russell and he totally disagreed, so I asked him and his chiffon army to move on.[6]

Mulcahy was replaced by Peter MacDonald, a camera operator. It was MacDonald's first movie as director but he was very experienced and had directed many of the action sequences in the previous Rambo.

MacDonald later said, "I tried very hard to change the Rambo character a bit and make him a vulnerable and humorous person, I failed totally."[9]

"I knew instinctively what was a good and bad shot," he added. "Stallone knew his character because it was his third outing as Rambo. I wasn’t shooting Shakespeare and at times it was hard to take it seriously."[9]

MacDonald shot the stick fighting sequence in Bangkok himself using a handheld camera.[9]

The film was shot in Israel, Thailand, and Arizona, USA. MacDonald:

There were so many restrictions in Israel, where you could and couldn’t shoot. The producers and Stallone decided they would go back to Arizona where they had looked long before I was on the film. There was a group there called the re-enactors. We had around two hundred and fifty of these guys who re-enact the [American] civil war. They were called on to do fight sequences, which they loved.[9]

The 1990 Guinness World Records deemed Rambo III the most violent film ever made, with 221 acts of violence, at least 70 explosions, and over 108 characters killed on-screen.[citation needed] However, the body count of the fourth film in the series, Rambo, surpassed that record, with 236 kills.[citation needed] The Mi-24 Hind-D helicopters seen in the film are in fact modified Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma transport helicopters with fabricated bolt-on wings similar to the real Hind-Ds which were mainly used in the former Soviet bloc nations.[citation needed] The other helicopter depicted is a slightly reshaped Aerospatiale Gazelle.[citation needed]

The original VHS release had in the end credits: "Dedicated to the brave Mujaheddin fighters", although this was later changed to "Dedicated to the gallant people of Afghanistan." [10]

Music[edit]

An extensive film score was written by Oscar-winning American composer Jerry Goldsmith, conducting the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra; however, much of it was not used. Instead, much of the music Goldsmith penned for the previous installment was recycled. The original album, released by Scotti Bros., contained only a portion of the new music as well as three songs, only one of which was used in the film (Bill Medley's version of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", played over the end credits).

  1. It Is Our Destiny – Bill Medley (4:30)
  2. Preparations (4:58)
  3. Afghanistan (2:35)
  4. The Game (2:23)
  5. Another Time (3:54)
  6. He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother – Bill Medley (4:30)
  7. Aftermath (2:42)
  8. Questions (3:34)
  9. The Bridge - Giorgio Moroder featuring Joe Pizullo (3:59)
  10. Final Battle (4:47)

A more complete 75-minute version of the score was later released by Intrada.

  1. Another Time (3:58)
  2. Preparations (06:21)
  3. The Money (0:52)
  4. I'm Used To It (1:00)
  5. Peshawar (1:12)
  6. Afghanistan (2:38)
  7. Questions (3:37)
  8. Then I'll Die (3:34)
  9. The Game (2:25)
  10. Flaming Village (4:07)
  11. The Aftermath (2:44)
  12. Night Entry (3:58)
  13. Under And Over (2:55)
  14. Night Fight (6:50)
  15. First Aid (2:46)
  16. The Long Climb (3:25)
  17. Going Down (1:52)
  18. The Cave (3:31)
  19. The Boot (1:53)
  20. You Did It, John (1:08)
  21. The Showdown (1:26)
  22. Final Battle (4:50)
  23. I'll Stay (9:00)

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

Rambo III opened in the United States on May 25, 1988 at 2,562 theatres in its opening weekend (the four-day Memorial Day weekend), ranking #2 behind Crocodile Dundee II.[11][12] Overall, the film grossed $53,715,611 domestically and then took $135,300,000 overseas, giving Rambo III a box office total of $189,015,611.[4] The film is the second most successful of the Rambo series, behind Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Critical reception[edit]

Rambo III received mixed to negative reviews from critics.[13] It scored a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 28 reviews.

Prominent critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert (of At the Movies fame) were split on Rambo III, with Siskel awarding the film "thumbs up", and Ebert declaring "thumbs down" for those expecting more out of Rambo III. Ebert did, however, give "thumbs up" to fans, saying the film was entertaining and that it "delivers the goods".

The New York Times took a dim view of the film.[14]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Subject Result
Razzie Award Worst Actor Sylvester Stallone Won
Worst Screenplay Nominated
Sheldon Lettich Nominated
Worst Supporting Actor Richard Crenna Nominated
Worst Picture Mario Kassar Nominated
Buzz Feitshans Nominated
Andrew G. Vajna Nominated
Worst Director Peter MacDonald Nominated

Other media[edit]

  • David Morrell, author of First Blood, the novel the first Rambo film is based on, wrote a novelization.
  • In the movie Twins, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character is seen looking at the poster of Rambo III featuring Stallone, where he compares his biceps to Stallone's, but waves it off with a smile while shaking his head and walks away.
  • Various companies released video games based on the film, including Ocean Software and Taito. In 1990, Sega released its own game based on the film for the Master System and Genesis/Mega Drive. The company would later reuse the film's rescue sequence and climactic final battle as stages in the 2008 arcade light gun game Rambo.
  • A comic book adaptation of the film was published by Blackthorne Publishing. Blackthorne also published a 3D version of its Rambo III comic.
  • A character in the 1986 film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 notes that the recording of one chainsaw murder sounds like "the Rambo III soundtrack", although at that time, there had only been two Rambo films.
  • In Hot Shots! Part Deux, the protagonist Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) is a parody of John Rambo and the plot of the film is the same as Rambo III, which involves Harley rescuing his mentor, Col. Denton Walters (Richard Crenna, parodying his character from the Rambo series).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "BBFC Cinema Rating, 1988". 
  2. ^ Hall, Sheldon; Neale, Stephen (2010). Epics, spectacles, and blockbusters: a Hollywood history. Wayne State University Press. pp. 239–240. ISBN 978-0-8143-3008-1. Rambo III (1988) cost a then-record $58 million. 
  3. ^ Robertson, Patrick (1991). Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats. Abbeville Press. p. 33. ISBN 9781558592360. 
  4. ^ a b Box Office Mojo, "Rambo 3"
  5. ^ "BBFC Video Rating, 1989". 
  6. ^ a b [1]
  7. ^ 'Rambo Iii' Gets Back On The Track In Israel Los Angeles Times September 22, 1987|PAT H. BROESKE
  8. ^ "Preview Review: Rambo IV". 
  9. ^ a b c d David Ellis, "Peter MacDonald: The Man Who Failed to Change Rambo", Film International 20 November 2013
  10. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095956/synopsis
  11. ^ Easton, Nina (1988-06-14). "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : Crocodile Swamps 'Rambo'; Hanks' 'Big' Hit". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  12. ^ Blank, Ed. "'Croc' devours 'Rambo' in first week in theaters". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  13. ^ Easton, Nina J. (1989-01-05). "Roger Rabbit' Hops to Box-Office Top; 'Coming to America' Hits 2nd". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-29. 
  14. ^ Maslin, Janet (1988-05-25). "Reviews/Film; Stallone's 'Rambo III,' Globe-Trotting Cowboy For the 80's Audience". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-29. 

External links[edit]