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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Rambo

Blu-ray Reviews

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#1 of 25 Gary Murrell

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Posted May 28 2008 - 10:43 AM

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The Fight Continues

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Release Date/Film Release Date
: 2008 - 2007
Rating: R
Film Length: approx. 91 minutes
Video/Aspect Ratio: 1920x1080p/24 - 2.40:1
English Audio Track/s: DTS HD Master 7.1
Video Quality: 4.5
Audio Quality: 5

Player & Output used for review: Panasonic DMP-BD30 (Video: HDMI 1080p/24 - Audio: HDMI Bitstream)
My Review System

Overview and Film Information

Rambo is back!! and bloodier than ever. The Rambo films have always been a soft spot for me. The ultimate in macho chest thumping male enjoyment, I mean a real manly type of films. From First Blood all the way to this latest addition I have always been a fan of the Rambo offerings and this third sequel doesn't disappoint in the least. Rambo is a all out, violence filled shoot em up that delivers the goods in every way shape and form. Stallone is up to par and shows some excellent directing chops here as well. If you are a Rambo fan then I don't see anyway that you would not enjoy this film as much as I did. In these days of political correctness,  it's nice to be able to see some good old fashion gory action movies.

Video Quality ****.5  out of *****

Rambo is presented in it's original aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and is encoded as 1080p/24 with Mpeg4 AVC. From the get go it isn't too hard to see that Lionsgate has given us a nearly reference release here in regards to video. This film has some amazing and beautiful cinematography that is done justice with this transfer. The color palette is slightly muted, leaning towards greens and yellows, the vegetation coming thru with startling naturalness with a real 3D factor. Film grain and some slight noise is visible which is a wonderful because that means there were zero attempts at noise reduction nor are there any edge enhancements for that matter. The image is sharp yet slightly soft throughout, lending to a perfect film like image that isn't polished or unnatural looking in anyway. Black levels are perfect during any night scenes as is contrast ratio which again gives the image even more 3D pop. There isn't anything negative to say about this image, it is spectacular. Just a hair sharper and I would have no problem giving it a reference 5.

Audio Quality *****  out of *****

Rambo includes a lossless 7.1 DTS HD Master audio track that is 100% breathtaking (my viewing was limited to 5.1). Solid and (may I add very low) bass activity that is perfectly natural, not boomy, bloated or fake. Dialog and center channel effects are crisp precise and never even came close to unintelligible. Explosions and gun shots are as close to the real thing as you can get. As I have noticed with nearly all DTS Master tracks the sound field is lush ,complete and natural including pans and surround activity. This is reference sound work here and when combined with the PQ of Blu-Ray we are in HT heaven.

Extra Features and Menus ****out of *****

This disc requires a BD player that features at minimum 1.1 profile capability, this is needed for the cool bonus view video track the runs picture in picture with the film as it plays. Bonus features on this disc are all in high definition which is always nice and includes: 6 making of featurettes, trailer gallery for all Rambo films and deleted scenes. In addition the disc features MoLog but requires a 2.0 profile player of which is not available to me. This release also includes a second disc SD digital copy for playback and storage on MAC or PC. The menu system is fabulous as well. A pretty solid bit of HD extras and the bonus view PiP feature is very nice indeed. If you don't have a profile 1.1 player I would suggest getting a profile 2.0 player as soon as they are released (such as the upcoming Panasonic DMP-BD50)

Overall ***** out of *****

Five out of five overall pretty much says it all. A DTS HD Master track that will amaze to no end, reference video, HD extras and a great film to boot. What's not to like?



#2 of 25 Will*B

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Posted May 28 2008 - 10:02 PM

Great review; thanks Gary.

Really looking forward to picking this up. A great 80's-style action vehicle that works. I feel that most critics missed the point of this film; it's a good old-fashioned shoot 'em up that requires no further analysis.

Nice to see Lionsgate at the forefront of profile 1.1 and 2.0 compliant software too.
 

 


#3 of 25 Travis Brashear

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Posted May 29 2008 - 12:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will*B
I feel that most critics missed the point of this film; it's a good old-fashioned shoot 'em up that requires no further analysis.

Um, I'd argue you're the one that missed the point; no film that "required no further analysis" would open with several minutes of actual footage of the atrocities being committed in Burma. Glad we both agree that the movie is awesome, though, but yeah, there's some food for thought amongst the ass-kickin' in this one...
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#4 of 25 Southpaw

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Posted May 29 2008 - 12:34 AM

Man, this movie could have been really good. I liked the storyline a lot. The action was real good. The creative choices that Stallone chose for the camera work melded perfectly with the setting and story. But my god, why all the crazy gore? When I watch a horror movie, I expect blood and guts and "over the topness". But I didn't understand why every time a shot was fired, somebodies head had to be detached from their shoulders. What could have been really good was just mediocre for me because of this.
I would have liked to see more of the First Blood style instead of what we got in the sequels.

#5 of 25 Cameron Yee

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Posted May 29 2008 - 01:14 AM

Quote:
But I didn't understand why every time a shot was fired, somebodies head had to be detached from their shoulders.
There were .50 caliber weapons being used, which we've seen take people's heads off in films like Saving Private Ryan. Even the sniper guy was using a .50 caliber sniper rifle. So it wasn't over the top in terms of what would happen with that kind of firepower. You could argue that it was over the top for Stallone to select those kinds of weapons to be used by the characters; that complaint is a little different in my mind though.
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#6 of 25 Southpaw

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Posted May 29 2008 - 01:37 AM

Cameron...
Yeah, but c'mon...every limb had to be torn off like that? Either a head was exploding, a body was cut in half at the torso, or a total disintegration took place for every bullet that was fired. I just thought it was excessive and took away from the overall good feeling I had about the story that was unfolding.

#7 of 25 TravisR

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Posted May 29 2008 - 01:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southpaw
I just thought it was excessive and took away from the overall good feeling I had about the story that was unfolding.
You weren't supposed to feel good about this movie. The whole point of this movie was to draw some attention to the problems in Burma and Stallone used realistic violence to show you how terrible things are there.

#8 of 25 Cameron Yee

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Posted May 29 2008 - 01:56 AM

Quote:
Either a head was exploding, a body was cut in half at the torso, or a total disintegration took place for every bullet that was fired.
I think that's a slight exaageration but I understand your point. I agree that this was a very different Rambo film than one's before it, certainly in terms of gore but also how it treated the underlying cause. In Rambo 2 and 3 the issues felt much more like excuses for a movie. In this film there was a more obvious agenda to show the brutality of the situation as well as the brutality of modern weapons. A teacher of mine, who used to be a paramedic, claimed he once showed rubberneckers the body under the sheet to teach them a lesson about reality. I kind of feel Stallone was doing that with this film.
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#9 of 25 Southpaw

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Posted May 29 2008 - 04:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
You weren't supposed to feel good about this movie. The whole point of this movie was to draw some attention to the problems in Burma and Stallone used realistic violence to show you how terrible things are there.

You misunderstood my statement. I wasn't saying the Burma situation made me feel good. I was talking about the movie in itself - I thought it was a compelling story. I guess my choice of words was wrong. But I would hardly call it "realistic violence".

#10 of 25 Southpaw

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Posted May 29 2008 - 04:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Yee
I think that's a slight exaageration but I understand your point. I agree that this was a very different Rambo film than one's before it, certainly in terms of gore but also how it treated the underlying cause. In Rambo 2 and 3 the issues felt much more like excuses for a movie. In this film there was a more obvious agenda to show the brutality of the situation as well as the brutality of modern weapons. A teacher of mine, who used to be a paramedic, claimed he once showed rubberneckers the body under the sheet to teach them a lesson about reality. I kind of feel Stallone was doing that with this film.

Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration but my point is the level of violence in First Blood was what I was looking for and hoping for here. It was graphic without really being graphic if that makes sense. Times were a little different 25 years ago I suppose.

#11 of 25 Chuck Mayer

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Posted May 29 2008 - 04:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southpaw
Yeah, but c'mon...every limb had to be torn off like that?
Absolutely. That's what I wanted with this film. Good to hear it's a reference disk (or close enough). Be picking it up for sure.
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#12 of 25 Chris Atkins

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Posted May 29 2008 - 08:33 AM

The audio and video are superb. Definitely worth a buy!

#13 of 25 Edwin-S

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Posted May 29 2008 - 09:54 AM

What is the actual day and month of release? I only see a year in the review's header.
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#14 of 25 Cameron Yee

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Posted May 29 2008 - 10:46 AM

It came out on Tuesday May 27th, so it's available for purchase now.
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#15 of 25 Edwin-S

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Posted May 29 2008 - 10:56 AM

Ah! Thanks. I was at the local shop on Tuesday and it was not on the shelf. I think I'll check the rental shop for this one.
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#16 of 25 Ray_R

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Posted May 29 2008 - 11:26 AM

Gary, I've not seen this yet but the only thing I'd not like about this release or any release is because of the following two words.

"DIGITAL COPY"

I mean what the hell is the point of this?!
Oh, I plan on renting the film through Netflix. Carry on.Posted Image
And Gary, your reviews are great. More because you know what film is actually supposed to look like and such. Great to have you here!

#17 of 25 Gary Murrell

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Posted May 29 2008 - 11:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray_R
Gary, I've not seen this yet but the only thing I'd not like about this release or any release is because of the following two words.

"DIGITAL COPY"

I mean what the hell is the point of this?!
Oh, I plan on renting the film through Netflix. Carry on.Posted Image
And Gary, your reviews are great. More because you know what film is actually supposed to look like and such. Great to have you here!

thanks Ray, appreciate it very much

the digital copy is basically a way for studios to attempt at allowing us a digital copy to store on media players, PC etc., most of the time it is .wmv format and is DRM free obviously

-Gary

#18 of 25 Gary Murrell

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Posted May 29 2008 - 11:54 AM

as Cameron said there are .50 caliber rounds used for the mounted Browning machine guns and the sniper rifle which was a Barrett

the .50 BMG round is about as nasty as one can get and would certainly do as shown in the film

.50 BMG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Barrett M82 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
M2 Browning machine gun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

here is a video of some actual .50 BMG sniper work in Afghanistan, not for the faint of heart so be warned

50 caliber sniper damage in afghanistan by scottgjohnson -- Revver Online Video Sharing Network

this film is a really intense and realistic portrait of violence, I wonder how it even got a R rating as is, for those that haven't seen it yet this easily tops the roughest Verhoeven work out there Posted Image

-Gary

#19 of 25 Michael Warner

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Posted May 29 2008 - 03:59 PM

I rented and watched this last night and enjoyed it much more than I ever expected. I freely admit that "First Blood" is an excellent film but I hated the sequels with a passion so I went into this one with very low expectations. In my opinion it's very much a combination of the two styles with a gravitas like in the first movie helping to offset the cartoonish violence reminiscent of the sequels. It's still insane but the violence is so visceral that you would have to be one heck of a stone-hearted person to whoop and holler your way non-stop throughout the movie.

I found that the supporting cast -- which seems to have been drawn almost exclusively from TV regulars -- displayed, intentionally or not, the cluelessness that one would expect to find amongst such a group of self-righteous do-gooders. I guess Stallone is smart enough not to surround himself with good actors and it actually works in the context of this film.

All in all it was much better than expected and I'll be looking to buy it when the price comes down a bit.
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#20 of 25 Cameron Yee

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Posted May 30 2008 - 08:04 AM

Quote:
I found that the supporting cast -- which seems to have been drawn almost exclusively from TV regulars -- displayed, intentionally or not, the cluelessness that one would expect to find amongst such a group of self-righteous do-gooders.
I had a college friend who went to Thailand on a summer mission, where she met a Karen man who was an activist-missionary making regular journeys back to his village for medical aid, Christian teaching, etc. She even had plans to marry him and was going to be doing that work with him. It was through her that I first learned about the Karen oppression, so it's been interesting to see it get the attention it deserves "only" 15 years later. Though my friend didn't wind up marrying that man, I couldn't help placing her in the situation depicted in the film, so watching it had kind of a personal edge to it.

I thought the depiction of the missionaries was simplistic, but it was really the leader of the group who was the main offender there.
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