Stallone is definitely doing his best to defy the odds. I never thought that Rocky Balboa would be a good film but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought he may be pushing his luck with Rambo but instead he delivered what I feel to be the best installment in the series since the first film. This is a no hold bar action film that not only turns up the body count and gore, but delivers the best production design and tone of the sequels. Rambo has turned hard in his later years and when a group of activists that he delivered into war torn Burma turn up missing, he joins a group of mercenaries to get them out. The story is simplistic in nature and doesn't try to get too political, but it does shed light on the unfortunate events of that volatile region. Stallone proves that he is still every bit of the action star he used to be and rumor has it another Rambo film is in the works.
Lionsgate delivers a solid video presentation for this one and it is by far the best looking of the series on HD. The movie was shot on film but this HD presentation is so clean that it reminds me more of the look of a digitally shot movie. The presentation is almost completely devoid of any film grain or noise but fine detail and depth are preserved beautifully. Some stock footage doesn’t hold up as well but it is rarely a distraction. The CG work for the film doesn't blend in as well as higher budget productions and the HD presentation's revealing detail doesn’t do it any favors. Otherwise this is a great looking presentation with depth to spare. Contrast is exceptional with deep, deep blacks and gorgeous color balance. A solid HD presentation.
Lionsgate seems to be favoring DTS-HD Master Audio as their codec of choice for new releases. This 7.1 mix is extremely engaging and makes full use of the surround soundstage. Bass extension is quite deep with ominous undertones in the film’s score. You will feel the impact of every shot of the 50 caliber rifles used in the film's action sequences and explosions literally shake the room. Ambience is excellent and the rear soundstage adds to the immersive feel of the mix.
Add Lionsgate to the list of studios testing the water with the "digital copy" feature. This 2-disc set includes a DVD with a standard definition copy of the film that can be loaded onto PC for viewing. This movie also takes full advantage of the newest Blu-ray profiles with their picture-in-picture and "MoLog" features. The Bonus View content explores the production of the film including locations and casting and has commentary with cast and crew. There is also a collection of production features that explore resurrecting the 80's action icon, and most of the areas of production. You also get a trailer gallery and deleted scenes.
This movie definitely defied my expectations of what could be done with this series and Stallone has done a fantastic job bringing Rambo back to the big screen. Lionsgate has delivered a fantastic A/V experience and a feature rich Blu-ray experience making this an easy recommendation. Fans of the genre and character should definitely pick this one up.