Sam Strange Remembers: RAMBO

Sam Strange recalls the time when he brought the 80s into the modern day and made RAMBO.

I’ve made every kind of movie conceivable. I’ve done the repressed homosexual movies, the deformed killer movies, the terminal illness movies, the sweet retard movies, documentaries, fake documentaries, concert films, and fake concert films. But at the end of the day, I am an action guy. I love to blow shit up. I love guns held by monosyllabic muscle men. I love justice. And, as my voluntary work with the Texas Border Patrol attests, I just love to kill the fuck out of people.

So, as a film watcher, the last fifteen years have been very hard for me because, as a filmmaker, I am often a slave to the times. No tits, no F-bombs, no muscles, women live after sex, and no sex. It’s been fifteen years of lame cat and mouse chases with fights hidden by editing and close-ups. Bad guys get shot in the head. Man, if your bad guy can be buried in anything bigger than a Walmart bag, you fucked up.

Things have improved recently, but only on the DTV scene, and I don’t do that. We’re still far from the glory days. I mean, Commando lived in the mountains and chopped his own wood. The Mechanic lives in a swamp, but he listens to opera music on a turntable borrowed from Ira Glass.

Back in 2008 there was no sign of even this marginal improvement, and I finally couldn’t handle it anymore after that PG-13 Die Hard. As a filmmaker, I may be a slave to the times, but I’m also a badass in charge of shit, and audiences occasionally need me to slap their faces for being retarded assholes.

I took all my anger towards current action trends and created a cry for help so pure, so concentrated, that anyone who saw it would grow a beard and kill deer with their hands. I wanted blood in the conference room, insane humans running naked through the streets, their backs strapped with homemade bows, drunk off homemade brew.

And lo, my severe discontent strengthened me with rage enough to not only honor the good old days but to completely surpass them, finally achieving the dream they promised. This is the story of how art mingled with fate and changed the human race. This is the story of John Rambo.

John Rambo is the elderly veteran of every war from Troy to Vietnam to the Olympics, where he significantly undermined the monetary value of both silver and bronze. He doesn’t speak, but he’s fluent in all languages save French, Esperanto, and Love. He not only reads Braille but often punches it into bodies with bullets. In this fashion, he’s written not one but two great American novels both of which he delivered to God and Satan via maggots and vultures. John Rambo does not consume food, but he once ate James Bond and shat out Jason Bourne.

The film begins with a bunch of innocent people getting slaughtered in Burma. (It’s actually called Myanmar now, but since I had the 1980’s in mind, I gave it the 1980’s name.) The culprit is a nameless guy identified only by his sunglasses-mustache combo. We first see him force prisoners to race across a minefield. That’s pretty damn evil. But then he shoots the race’s winners, a mean-spirited act without honor. And after that, he rapes little boys. It’s this last act which finally deems his evil worthy enough for death by Rambo.

Rambo’s not interested, of course, because true heroes only fight in the absence of choice. Rambo lives near the shit, just in case the shit ever knocks on his door, but he doesn’t go looking for it. Instead, he spends his time capturing highly poisonous snakes and occasionally dragons. He also carves knives from mammoth tusks and plays checkers with Jesus Christ.

One day a bunch of Star Trek TNG fans come to Rambo’s three-walled estate, asking for a boat ride into Burmese hell so they can deliver bibles and Christian salvation to all those future dead people. If Rambo laughed, this would be the time. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is totally rotflHao.

Through military hand signals, Rambo makes it clear that if their souls aren’t prepared to drastically murder an entire army, they should just go home. But they have an intriguing counter-offer, a strange kind of man with long blond hair, curvy hips, and a remarkably bumpy chest. Whatever this thing is, Rambo decides to protect it at all costs by boating it into genocide and dropping it off.

On the way, a group of river pirates stop Rambo’s boat. Without opening his eyes all the way (which he can’t do anyway), Rambo brutally murders all twelve hundred machete wielding assholes, covering the Star Trek TNG fans with evil brains and cigarette-blackened lung. Instead of thanking him, they lecture him on life’s beauty and how wrong it is to kill while Rambo hacks the pirates into small, alligator-friendly bites, not forgetting to nab a few to salt later for himself.

Rambo drops them off with a tall stacks of letters for them to deliver to the afterlife. Five minutes later, Mr. Sunglassy-Mustachey shows up and brutally murders everyone except the white people. “See,” one of the shaved Rikers comments. “They didn’t kill us. Rambo was wrong!” The bad guys overhear this and feed him feet-first to pigs. They keep the other white people for a little bad guy R&R: rape and ransom.

A priest awaits Rambo’s return. Not used to so many visitors, Rambo instinctively opens his throat. Rambo realizes his mistake and ties the ripped jugular with snake gut while getting the guy’s story. “An hour ago, you took my friends to Burma. They’re likely very dead now. Can you go check it out for me with a group of badasses I hired?” Rambo nods. This is just the opening he needed to take out Mr. Sunglassy-Mustachey. He leaves the priest in his hut, where he’s consumed by an ornery dragon.

After gathering weapons, Rambo meets his mercenary team. As a treat to action movie fans, I populated these guys with familiar faces from yesteryear. One’s played by Dolph Lundgren’s younger brother. Another is played by Jet Lee’s younger brother. The next is played by Jason Statham’s younger brother. The last is played by Gallagher. And their theme song, “That’s Amore,” comes directly from the golden throat of my own little brother, Frank Strange (RIP, little buddy. Who knew Swallowing Swords in Vegas had such an unforgiving learning curve?).

Packing plenty heat and meat, Rambo and the recruits go out to kill some Burmese Pythons. First they locate the Americans and release them with lots of sneaky, quiet murdering, which Rambo literalizes by ripping everyone’s throat off. Then he steps on the throats, so they can’t talk from the floor.

They get out okay, losing only all of the Mercs and Americans. Now Rambo is on the run from Mr. Sunglassy-Mustachey’s entire brute army. But what they don’t know is, this is Rambo’s jungle. Hell, it’s Rambo’s whole world, motherfuckers. He makes a stop at a hidden nukular bomb and evaporates half of them right there. Next he runs to a gun designed to kill dinosaurs and shoots massive explosions into anything and everything. Mr. Sunglassy-Mustachey gets his guts blown into the air where ravens grab hold and carry his smoking carcass off to a volcano. The evil army is too dead for Heaven or Hell. The jungle floor has been forever sterilized of all life.

Throughout the massacre, Rambo’s body grows more and more bulbous. The numerous veins in his arms become snakes and dragons unleashed upon the world. He simply cannot turn off the killing. The American government notices and tries to shut him down, but he hunts them to extinction one by one. Aliens eyeing Earth’s resources quickly change their mind, but as they turn around there he is, piloting an Apache helicopter in space.

Eventually there’s no one left to kill, and Rambo finally snaps from his trance. Not sure what to do next, he hitchhikes to America and visits his fathers: Geronimo, Titus Andronicus, Beowulf, Cat Stevens, and Teddy Roosevelt. There he sits, filling with a quiet rage that will inevitably boil over once again.

All this, and the film is only eighty minutes long. That’s how it’s done, dumbasses.

(three stars)