The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lions gate - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 93 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX Surround, French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English & Spanish
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Paul Schulze, Matthew Marsden, Graham McTavish, Tim Kang
Directed by:Sylvester Stallone
Music by: Brian Tyler
Written by: Art Montrastelli & Sylvester Stallone
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May, 27, 2008
"Live for nothing or die for something"
The ultimate American action hero returns - with a vengeance! After spending several years in northern Thailand operating a longboat on the Salween River, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) reluctantly agrees to carry a group of Christian missionaries into war-torn Burma. But when the aid workers are captured by ruthless Nationalist Army Soldiers, Rambo leads a group of battle-scarred, combat -hardened mercenaries on an epic, last ditch mission to rescue the prisoners - at all costs.
I have been a Sylvester Stallone fan since I saw Rocky in the theater back in 1976. When First Blood came out back in 1982 I think it solidified Stallone as a star. I loved First Blood but when Part II came out was blown away (hey I was about 20 years old). The first two in the series have been my favorites as I never really connected with the third. After Rocky Balboa was released seeing this fourth installment in the Rambo franchise didn't come as a surprise. I had seen it on Blu-ray disc prior to this review but couldn't help but jump at the chance to watch it again when Lionsgate offered it. This is a straight forward and fairly simple story. For me I see its focal point being one dimensional. The idea is to create a situation wherein John Rambo can be thrown back into the fray. I can appreciate the fact that there are no bones about that. The screenplay moves quickly to achieve its purpose and once there it delivers to that end in spades. The bad guys are quickly established and get enough time onscreen so that we figure that they deserve the worst that Rambo can dish out. Once things are underway it gets bloody, graphically violent, and lots of stuff blows up. I could have done without the sexual assaults on women and the inference of a sexual assault on a minor though. Things are wrapped up and our man saves the day (for the most part). I thought the ending was a little corny but that's Stallone's style. When all was said and done I enjoyed Rambo. I liked the quick paced nature of the story and the action sequences were well done. It was overly violent which I thought could have been taken down a notch. I did appreciate its attempt to realistically depict the effects of gun battles and war.
The rating is appropriate. This is not one for young viewers and parents should be cautious.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Rambo comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 mbps and lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 5.8 mbps.
The video presentation was near reference quality and offered stunning images. Detail was sublime from almost every perspective with only a handful of shots appearing less than pristine in quality. I attributed this more to the photography than the encoding. Contrast was slightly elevated which made bright scenes appear more dynamic while obscuring fine detail and detectable delineation within whites. Blacks were nice and deep with plenty of dynamic range and visible gradations. This was the case with scenes containing both light and dark elements. I had no trouble detecting objects within dark areas or backgrounds during low light scenes. Colors were intentionally muted which made them appear flat but thanks to the video's high resolution and razor sharpness it came off just fine. Fleshtones were earthy looking which to my eyes was a perfect fit with the style of the film. This was a great looking transfer overall.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on this Blu-ray Disc was a sonic tour de force and was of reference quality. My SVS PB-13 Ultra subwoofer cranked out an abundance of clean, powerful, and room filling bass that had palpable extension. By design this mix is intended to be bombastic and aggressive. I had the feeling that my room had been transformed into a jungle as sounds were both distinctive and spatially ambiguous within the sound field. Gunfire and explosions had a tactile and dynamic impact that could be felt from any point in the room. The rich and immersive quality of the audio enhanced the experience to a higher level of realism. The soundstage didn't seem to have two parts but one very large one that was elaborately detailed and sonically superior. If you want to drive your entire system to demonstrate its capabilities this DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is the ticket. I have added Rambo to my list of recommended Blu-ray Demo Discs.
This is a well rounded and comprehensive bonus set that takes you inside the world of Rambo. It starts with the 20 year journey that brought Rambo to the big screen and includes details on script ideas, concepts and interviews. It provides details on the music used in the film, post production problems, the weapons featured in the story, opening premiere night and more. There is a very good feature on the continuing problems in real life Burma which is a must see.
Included is a Bonus view picture in picture option which plays along with the film (a profile 1.1 player is required) which is very informative and includes behind the scenes footage and more for those interested. The MoLog (Movie Log) feature allows you to watch the film, and create your own value added content via a shared blog. This option requires a Profile 2.0 compatible player and live internet connection. Lastly Lionsgate has included a Digital Copy bonus disc containing a standard definition version of the film which can be loaded on to a PC or Mac and then on to a portable playback device. I think this is a great idea and am glad to see that more studios are using it.
- Audio Commentary: With Sylvester Stallone
- (HD) 4 Deleted Scenes
- (HD) Its a long road: Resurrection of an icon featurette
- (HD) Ascore to settle: The music if Rambo featurette
- (HD) The art of war: Completing Rambo featurette
- (HD) The Weaponry of Rambo featurette
- (HD) A heros welcome: Release & Reaction featurette
- (HD) Legacy of despair: The struggle in Burma featurette
- (HD) Rambo Series Trailer Gallery
- Digital Copy
Lionsgate has put together an impressive Blu-ray Disc package in Rambo. The film is not going to win any awards but for those that like plenty of hard hitting action it gets the job done. It features superlative audio quality, near reference video and a complete set of bonus supplements. It has found a place in my collection.
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Reference Review System:
Sony VPL-VW50 SXRD 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Outlaw Audio Model 7700 seven channel amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package