Rambo-4 Poster
Rambo film poster
Directed by Sylvester Stallone
Produced by Sylvester Stallone
Bob Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein
Millennium Films
Nu image
Written by Art Monterastelli
Sylvester Stallone
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Julie Benz
Matthew Marsden
Graham McTavish
Tim Kang
Rey Gallegos
Jake La Botz
Maung Maung Khin
Ken Howard
Dennis Kipronoh Sang
Music by Brian Tyler
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release date(s) January 25, 2008
Running time 93. min
Country United States En US-orig
Language English
Budget $44 million[1]
Gross revenue Domestic:


Preceded by Rambo III
Followed by Rambo V
Official website
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

Rambo is a 2008 action film starring Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam War veteran John Rambo. Stallone also co-wrote and directed the film. It is the fourth installment of the Rambo franchise, twenty years since the last film.

Rambo holds the record with the most kills out of the entire Rambo series, with 262 kills and an average of 3.2 per minute; [2] also the number is more than that of the previous three movies combined. Stallone justified this in a press conference by saying the violence in the film was to underline the ongoing problems in Burma. [3] [4] [5]


The film opens with newsreels of the crisis in Burma. Burma (now known as Myanmar) is under the iron fist rule of Than Shwe and takes harsher stances against the nation's pro-democracy movement. Rebels are thrown into a mine-infested marsh and then gunned down, while a cigarette-smoking Burmese military officer gazes grimly at the scene.

Former soldier John Rambo has returned to Thailand and now resides in a village near the Burmese border. He makes a living capturing snakes and selling them in a nearby village. He also transports roamers in his boat. A missionary, Michael Burnett (Paul Schulze), asks Rambo to take him and his associates up the Salween River to Burma on a humanitarian mission. Rambo refuses but is convinced by Sarah Miller (Julie Benz) to take them.

The boat is stopped by pirates who demand Sarah in exchange for passage. After negotiation fails, Rambo kills them all. Although his actions save the missionaries, it greatly disturbs them. Upon arrival, Michael says that they will travel by road and will not need Rambo's help for the return trip. The mission goes well until the Burmese army attacks the village, killing many villagers and two missionaries and kidnapping the rest. When the missionaries fail to come back after ten days, their pastor comes to Rambo to ask for his help in guiding hired mercenaries to the village where the missionaries were last seen.

Rambo decides to accompany the soldiers . He pushes them to continue after they see the destroyed village. Hijacking a truck, they create a plan to save the hostages at the P.O.W. camp, doing so within fifteen minutes to avoid alerting the army. Rambo helps Sarah and the others to escape. The Burmese Army unit finds their hostages missing and organizes a massive manhunt. Everyone except for Rambo, Sarah, and "School Boy" is captured. Just as the group is to be executed, Rambo hijacks a truck-mounted .50-caliber machine gun and engages the Burmese army. A group of Karen rebels joins the fight to help Rambo and the mercenaries defeat the Burmese army.

Encouraged by Sarah's words, Rambo returns to the United States. The last scene shows him walking along a rural highway, past a horse farm and a rusted mailbox with the name "R. Rambo" on it. He makes his way down the gravel driveway as the credits roll.


  • Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a former Green Beret
  • Julie Benz as Sarah Miller, a US missionary
  • Paul Schulze as Michael Burnett
  • Matthew Marsden as "School Boy", a mercenary sniper
  • Graham McTavish as Lewis
  • Tim Kang as En-joo
  • Rey Gallegos as Diaz
  • Jake La Botz as Reese, a mercenary
  • Maung Maung Khin as Major Pa Tee Tint
  • Ken Howard as Reverend Arthur Marsh
  • Dennis Kipronoh Sang as "volunteer"


Filming started on 23 February 2007 and ended on 4 May 2007. The movie was shot at Chiang Mai, Thailand, in Mexico and in the USA.

Alternative titles

The most recent installment of the Rambo franchise has undergone many name changes during pre-release, and has been known as the following:

  • Rambo IV
  • John Rambo - Mirroring the final installment of the Rocky franchise, Rocky Balboa. In Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, Israel, Romania and Italy John Rambo will be used because First Blood's original title in these countries is Rambo. This title prevails in Spain too, where the first film was retitled as Acorralado ("Surrounded"). A workprint version of the movie that has made its way to the Internet has the title "John Rambo".
  • Rambo: Regreso al Infierno (Rambo: Return to Hell in Spanish) - The name of the film in Mexico and Latin America, and Rambo: El Regreso (Rambo: The Return) in Chile, as First Blood was also known as Rambo in those territories.

On October 12, 2007, Lionsgate announced that the film title was being changed to Rambo: To Hell and Back. After some negative feedback from the online community, Stallone spoke with AICN's Harry Knowles [6] and said:

"Lionsgate jumped the gun on this. I just was thinking that the title John Rambo was derivative of Rocky Balboa and might give people the idea that this is the last Rambo film, and I don't necessarily feel that it will be. He's definitely a superb athlete, there's no reason he can't continue onto another adventure. Like John Wayne with The Searchers."

Box office

Rambo opened in 2,751 theaters on January 25, 2008 and grossed $6,490,000 on its opening day, [7] and $18,200,000 over its opening weekend. It was the second highest grossing movie for the weekend behind Meet the Spartans. [8] As of April 6, 2008, the film has a domestic box office gross of $42,754,105 and a foreign gross of $63,123,374, giving it a worldwide total of $105,877,479. [9]

In an unprecedented move, Europe's biggest cinema chain (and the third biggest in the world), Odeon, controversially refused to show the film on any of its screens in Britain, blaming "commercial differences". [10] UCI has followed suit in its Republic of Ireland cinemas, which are managed by Odeon. [11]

The film was, however, shown in Britain and Ireland by other theater chains such as Empire Cinemas, Vue, Cineworld and Ward Anderson. The film was not shown in the French-speaking part of Switzerland due to legal and commercial problems with the distributor, even if it was available on screens of France and the Swiss German-speaking part. [12]

Critical reception

Rambo has received mixed reviews from film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film scores 33% out of 125 reviews as of April 21, 2008 [13]. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 46 out of 100, based on 25 reviews. [14] However, on the positive side, as of 22 April 2008, the film has received a 7.6/10 rating on the Internet Movie Database, based on over 39,000 votes.

Some critics have expressed their displeasure with the amount of violence and lack of a good plot. Variety called it "a notably cheerless exercise", while Newsday pointed out that "the battle sequences are so muddled in execution that we can't tell who's killing whom." The Philadelphia Inquirer was equally unimpressed, labeling Rambo a "slab of action porn" in which the director-star resembles a "mothballed Conan The Barbarian." The Hollywood Reporter critic simply signed off with, "Sorry Sly, not this time."

In his review for the New York Times, A.O. Scott wrote, "Mr. Stallone is smart enough — or maybe dumb enough, though I tend to think not — to present the mythic dimensions of the character without apology or irony. His face looks like a misshapen chunk of granite, and his acting is only slightly more expressive, but the man gets the job done. Welcome back." [15] Michael H. Price of Fort Worth Business Press wrote, "Stallone invests the role with a realistic acceptance of the aging process, and with traces reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart in 1951’s The African Queen and Clint Eastwood in 1992’s Unforgiven — to say nothing of the influences that the original First Blood had absorbed from Marlon Brando in 1953’s The Wild One and Tom Laughlin in 1971’s Billy Jack." [16] Jonathan Garret (a former writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution) said in an interview: "Rambo is the most violent movie I have ever seen. The last 11 minutes of the film are so violent, it makes We Were Soldiers look like Sesame Street".

When asked what his take on the film was, First Blood writer David Morrell said, "Overall, I'm pleased. [...] This is the first time that the tone of First Blood the novel has been used in any of the movies. [...] It's not a 4-star movie--the villains are superficial, and the climax is overextended. But this is a solid three stars." [17]

The Burmese military junta has ordered DVD vendors in Myanmar not to distribute the film due to the movie's content. [18] Rambo is available on bootlegs however, and it is a great hit amongst the Karen Freedom Fighters and Burmese exiles critical of the Burmese military dictatorship. According to Karen Freedom Fighters, this movie gave them a great boost of morale. Also, overseas Burmese praise the movie for its vivid portrayal of the Burmese military's oppression of the Karen people. [19]


Main article: Rambo V

On February 2, 2008, Sylvester Stallone informed Reuters in an interview that making a fifth Rambo would depend on the success of the fourth movie but that he thought he was "gearing one up" and that it would "be quite different". [20] On March 10, 2008, revealed that in an interview with Metro magazine, Stallone said that he was "half-way through" writing Rambo V and that it would not be another war movie. [21] On March 20, also said that had revealed that the film would be shot in Bulgaria and later received word from a source that Bulgaria was to double for John Rambo's home town in Arizona. [22] [23]

DVD release

The DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions were released in the U.S. on May 27 2008. The DVD is in 1 and 2 disc editions. The Special edition has a 2.35 anamorphic widescreen presentation and a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track. The single editions have a standard 5.1 Dolby Digital track. The Blu-ray Disc has Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS HD 7.1 Tracks. The DVD and Blu-ray on disc one have the film, deleted scenes, 6 featurettes, and commentary by Sylvester Stallone. The Blu-ray also has 2 extra special features, that includes a trailer gallery.

The 2-disc DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions have a digital copy of the film. There is also a 6 disc DVD set of all four Rambo films, packaged in a limited edition tin case with over 20 bonus features. A Blu-ray set with Rambo 1-3 was also released. [24][25][26]

The DVD will be released in the UK on June 23 2008.

Director's Cut

When asked about the moral of the film in a Daily Yomiuri Online interview, Sylvester Stallone mentioned that he will be doing a Director's Cut of the film, which will go by the original title of "John Rambo." However, the news became most well known after a May 2008 interview with Jay Leno when he announced the work of a director's cut, and that the proceeds would go to Burma. On top of this, an online petition appeared shortly after the announcement in order to "motivate" Stallone in completing this new cut. [27]


  1. Rambo 4 Gets a Budget! - MoviesOnline
  2. "Accurate Rambo Kill Chart",, May 3, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-01-26. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. 
  3. Asian Pacific Post - Rambo’s unusual rescue in Burma
  4. EuroNews - Rambo: Burma activists thank Stallone
  5. The Burma Campaign UK - Rambo Draws World’s Attention to Forgotten Crisis in Burma
  6. Whoa Whoa Whoa... Who says it ain't gonna be called JOHN RAMBO? - Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news
  7. Rambo (2008)
  8. Yahoo! Movies - Weekend Box Office and Buzz
  9. Rambo 2008. Retrieved on 2008-02-05.
  10. Rambo shot down in flames as cinema chain snubs latest film. The Times. Retrieved on 2008-02-24.
  11. UCI
  12. Pas d'écrans suisses pour George Clooney. Retrieved on 2008-05-14.
  13. Rambo (2008): Reviews. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2008-02-06.
  14. Rambo (2008): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2008-01-28.
  15. Scott, A.O. "Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Jungle", New York Times, January 25, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  16. ‘Rambo’ restores Stallone’s signature character to a near-original essence - Fort Worth Business Press
  17. Rambo's Dad Talks. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
  18. Junta takes aim at latest Rambo movie - Yahoo! Canada News
  19. YouTube - Latest Rambo Movie Rouses Hopes in Burma
  20. INTERVIEW-Stallone challenges Myanmar junta, eyes "Rambo 5". Reuters. Retrieved on 2008-05-09.
  21. Stallone "half-way through" writing Rambo 5. Retrieved on 2008-05-09.
  22. Rambo 5 to film in Bulgaria. Retrieved on 2008-05-09.
  23. Rambo will return to America!. Retrieved on 2008-05-09.
  24. Rambo DVD Release - DVD Active
  25. Rambo 6 DVD Set - DVD Active
  26. Rambo DVD and Blu-Ray details
  27. 'I want people to be upset': Stallone hopes violence of 'John Rambo' will get people thinking. Daily Yomiuri Online. archived from the original on 2008-05-20 Retrieved on 2008-05-17.
Films: Rambo First BloodRambo IIRambo IIIRamboRambo VRambo VI
Cast: Sylvester StalloneRichard Crenna
Video games: RamboRambo IIIRambo on Fire
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors). Smallwikipedialogo.png
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.