Sylvester Stallone has returned to reprise the second of his two major iconic roles in the latest and final installment of the series, simplyentitled Rambo. This Rambo is slightly different than you may remember, though. Stallone wants us to see another, more realistic side of his character, which is synonymous with action films.
“I’m not trying to run myself down but there was much more vanity involved [in other Rambo films],” Sly comments. “It was all about body movement, rather than just the ferocity and the commitment of what he was doing. This character to me is much more interesting.”
The film follows Rambo reluctantly leading a team of Christian missionaries and doctors into Burma to help local villagers. Stallone, who wrote, directed and stars in the film was intentionally sensitive that his film portrays events similar to what’s going on today.
“I had to live up to a certain kind of responsibility because people are dying as we’re making the film,” he explains. “Therefore to just have me running through the film doing these extraordinary heroics I thought would demean what they’re going through. When you see the village that’s decimated, that’s what happens. As a matter of fact, it’s even worse!”
Stallone was offered several plot ideas from studio execs, but turned them all down.
“The biggest and most interesting crisis in the world is the human crisis,” he offers, “it never gets boring. You don’t need a gimmick; it’s just man against man and their intolerance of each other. I did research and found that Burma is one of the great hell holes of the planet, but no one knows about it!”
The film co-stars Julie Benz of “Dexter” fame, Matthew Marsden (Black Hawk Down) and Graham McTavish (“Rome”).
“When I went in for my audition for my part this presence just loomed up next to me, and I’m not at all impressed really by famous people, but I looked up at him and it was pretty much an out of body experience,” McTavish says about his experience working with Sly.
Before the shoot began, all actors hit the gym as hard as they could to prepare for the physically grueling roles ahead. In addition, Stallone prepared a group of Thai soldiers to lead them in extra training to help with jungle survival, to make them look “real” in the film.
“The Thai special forces were really good,” Marsden remarks about the soldiers. “We also had those guys on set for protection because as you may have known, we had death threats from the Burmese while shooting the film.”
In the end, all the actors were personally changed by their experience shooting Rambo.
Marsden was humbled He explains, “When you watch those individuals who were getting paid a fraction of what we were, it’s one of those thing where you go, ‘OK, so you didn’t get your latte this morning. Shut up, it’s really not that tough.’”
Benz was hardened from her experience, but in a good way.
“One of the reporters was interviewing me and asked how the experience had changed me and as he was asking me that question, a giant bug landed on his shoulder and I just reached over and squeezed that thing and crushed it between my two fingers,” she tells. “The fact that I did that without squealing shows how much the movie has changed me!”
Stallone admits this Rambo character is different than the one we grew up with, but he’s one Stallone hopes will carry a better message than his predecessor.
“I think the lesson that is somewhat presented here is that war is hell, and there is no winner, ever.”
Rambo releases in theaters Jan. 25.