Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Burmese Promises: Rambo's back

By Mark A. Curci

Was the it the Philosophers' film of the Decade?
Of course not.
No more than Cash was a poet laureate.
BUT. Was it a good movie? Absolutely.
To examine...The first, damn near inherent, argument...Does America (and, by that. most Americans mean "the World" NEED another Rambo film?
Weren't all those points made? Well, I suspect Stallone's perspective would indicate, "Clearly not."
We start with First Blood, a truly introspective film most people haven't seen, based on the VERY advanced novel by the Canadian writer David Morell.
The thesis? Humans enter into wars with the Abraham convention that sacrifice has a divine dignity to it- which it might...BUT; without respect and understanding of the true implications OF that sacrifice; and WHO and HOW those sacrifices unfold-without THAT understanding... how dare we?
I think ALL the films, at surely varying degrees of complexity, present the thesis that we’ve always been to quick to send out our sacrifices like we’d order in a pizza during a blizzard or hurricane. With calm, detached, simple removal.
The sequels... testosterone infused zen answers to questions we have yet to fully articulate; about how the soldier breaks; fails society, and how an already innately broken society has always failed to answer the riddle of the soldiers we broke. DOES the world need another Rambo?
I guess that depends on whether or not you feel that that question has been answered yet.
In MY opinion, given the movements of the world, and us within it...No. We still ask the same questions with the same bullets.
On the other hand, director/co-writer Stallone takes a keenly hard-lined approach at those who would answer those questions with home-grown, absentee-faith-based naiveté. His answer to that is equally grisly.
My appreciation for the film is that it ultimately offers no immediate answer. It merely paints a portrait of war that, one critic, bafflingly in a pejorative sentiment, said that the film, "depicts violence so graphically that it transcends cartoonishness."
Well, duh. That's the point.Violence transcends cartoonishness.
And, even in the parts where one roots for the "good" guy... the shots are devastating. They are laborious. They are disgusting... and, further, they make ourselves disgusted with ourselves for having ever rooted for the John Wayne simplifications-cowboys-and-indians answers we were handed before.
Seeing a person come apart isn't supposed to be simple, and it certainly isn't supposed to be pretty. It's a disgusting, revolting act, meant to be just that. And, here, it is.
In this film… it is NOT. The theme of the original is how long of a road home life is, in the context of the horrors we face.Attach your own philosophy to what "home" is; but in this film... I feel Stallone presents a very sober, if not subjective, answer.
Something of a..."Enough is FUCKING-ENOUGH!!!"...Maybe home IS worth the trip.
And, in his way, a big "Fuck-you" to Hollywood to boot. Ironically, Hollywood hasn't gotten it yet, and is actually marketing it. But I think I get it.
Anyway, again, all subjective. But I give it a thumbs up.
Again, by NO means the best film of whatever *insert arbitrary time frame* BUT...a work of artistic and competent merit, for friend who accompanied me, a world-traveled anthropology major, she thanked me, saying she felt the film had merit, that she appreciated it AND... that, of course, she'd never have seen it if I hadn't asked her to accompany me.
There you go. Like all Zen...sometimes the best way to think is by not over-thinking. In that, Stallone has always been our masculine-monk-master... forever under-appreciated in the plainest of sight.…the point is made through what I observed while smoking on my deck after the film.
Six cars, on an obviously iced up road zoomed past. Each times, within seconds, a long and loud screech wailed down the road. Americans just don’t get what’s obvious. They must be slapped, then lulled. We don’t wish nor require sense. We need to be tricked, into Stewart, or Stallone- wisdom masqued as Pop, to get the Point.
The point is the ridiculousness of us, our excess our vanity and our willingness to go the distance.
St. Aquinas painted proof of God’s existence in the world as evidenced through five naturalized proofs. We, on the other hand, have bleached everything natural from our periphery and wonder why we never see God in the white noise punctuating our commercial channel surfing. We’re fools. But, the fools we are- ignorant to so much of the Art in this world… we’d do worse than a three-billion-dollar, one-eyed King like Stallone finally coming full-circle....But enough of that... read the book ya'selves!

Mark A. Curci is a writer and poet based in Ashland, Ore. He once rode a Greyhound bus from Oregon to New Orleans and back.

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