Rambo appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a mostly good but slightly erratic transfer.
Sharpness usually looked solid. At the movie’s start, wide shots came with an odd sense of softness, and a few similar shots appeared as the film progressed. Nonetheless, most of the flick appeared well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws were minor, as I noticed a small speck or two but nothing more.
In terms of colors, Rambo used a palette that either tended toward blue-greens or tans. Not a lot of vivid hues emerged, but the tones were accurate and full within the minor stylistic constraints. Blacks appeared dark and tight, and shadows were usually fine; some of the shots from the first boat trip could be a little dense, but not to a problematic degree. Overall, I found the image to work fine, though it came with inconsistencies.
I found a lot to like about the DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio of Rambo, as audio quality was good. A little edginess affected a few lines, but most sounded natural and concise. The score showed consistently solid range and vivacity, and the effects followed suit. Those components seemed bold and dynamic.
The soundfield seemed positive. Much of the audio stayed with environmental information; rain popped up frequently and used all the channels well.
In addition, the action scenes worked the soundscape in a strong manner. They created a fine sense of the mayhem and used all the channels to form a vivid attack. The movie delivered a powerful soundtrack.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio showed better involvement and oomph. I thought the DVD’s mix seemed a little restrained and underwhelming, but the Blu-ray gave us a more dynamic impression.
Visuals also showed upgrades. Even with the occasional concerns related to softness, the Blu-ray seemed tighter and more accurate. It’s not a killer presentation, but it improves upon the DVD.
While the DVD I reviewed included no extras, the Blu-ray includes a good set of materials, and we open with an audio commentary from writer/director/actor Sylvester Stallone. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, editing and cinematography, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, and other production domains.
Overall, Stallone delivers a good commentary. He comes across as invested in the process and provides a nice array of topics related to the movie. This ends up as a solid chat.
We also get a Bonusview Commentary. It offers the same discussion from Stallone mentioned above but throws in video of him as he speaks; we view him in a small inset that occupies a little box in the bottom right of the screen.
“Bonusview” also provides behind the scenes footage in that wee box, and it occasionally branches out for some featurettes, with programs that fill the screen and run about 28 minutes. These tell us more about the production and feature various cast and crew. They give us decent info but I don’t care for the format – especially because we can’t access the “Bonusview” components elsewhere on the Blu-ray.
Seven featurettes occupy a total of one hour, 10 minutes, 56 seconds. These include “It’s a Long Road: Resurrection of an Icon” (19:44), “A Score to Settle: The Music of Rambo” (7:32), “The Art of War Part I: Editing” (6:49), “The Art of War Part II: Sound” (3:16), “The Weaponry of Rambo” (14:33), “A Hero’s Welcome: Release and Reaction” (9:31) and “Legacy of Despair: The Real Struggle in Burma” (10:43).
Across these, we hear from Stallone, producers Avi Lerner, Kevin King Templeton and John Thompson, composer Brian Tyler, editor Sean Albertson, second editor Paul Harb, supervising sound editors Perry Robertson and Scott Sanders, re-recording mixer Leslie Shatz, property master Kent Johnson, and actors Paul Schulze, Julie Benz, Tim Kang, Graham McTavish, Matthew Marsden, Rey Gallegos, and Jake La Botz.
The shows cover the project’s roots and development, story/character/screenplay areas, sets and locations, Stallone’s work as director, cast and performances, music, editing, and sound design, props, stunts and effects, and the movie’s release/reception.
I expected a lot of fluff from these segments, but they boast a surprising amount of substance. The clips examine a good array of subject and does so with relative gusto. I find a lot to like here.
Four Deleted Scenes fill a total of 13 minutes, 34 seconds. We find “Do You Believe In Anything?” (2:29), “Who Are You Helping?” (4:42), “Boat Ride” (4:12) and “Let’s Keep Going!” (2:21).
These mostly extend existing sequences and focus on interactions between Rambo and Sarah, as all four expand that relationship. While this seems like a good idea given the thinness of the overall narrative, the scenes fail to do much to develop matters. They remain forgettable and without a lot of merit.
The disc opens with ads for “The Rambo Ultimate Edition Collection”, Crank, and War. We also find trailers for all four of the Rambo movies.
Rambo packages relentless gore without anything more than a rudimentary plot and anonymous characters. Not even the expected vicarious thrills arrive in this dull adventure. The Blu-ray provides erratic visuals with very good audio and a useful array of supplements. Rambo continues the series in a forgettable manner.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of RAMBO