Rambo III (1988)

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Released 27-Jul-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 97:08
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (46:32) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Peter MacDonald

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Richard Crenna
Marc de Jonge
Kurtwood Smith
Spiros Focás
Sasson Gabai
Doudi Shoua
Randy Raney
Marcus Gilbert
Alon Abutbul
Mahmoud Assadollahi
Joseph Shiloach
Harold Diamond
Case ?
RPI Box Music Jerry Goldsmith

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.30:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Dutch Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Everything in Rambo III is bigger: Stallone's bigger, the stunts and effects are bigger, the set pieces and explosions are bigger, even Rambo's knife is bigger.

    We find John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) stick fighting in Bangkok. When not earning some extra cash in the ring, Rambo lives peacefully with a group of Buddhist monks, helping out as a handyman. Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna), Rambo's former CO, finds Rambo in an attempt to recruit his services. When Rambo turns him down, Trautman embarks on the Special Forces mission himself (which is odd considering his age), but is captured. This time it's personal, as Rambo travels to Afghanistan, during the war, to rescue Trautman from a ruthless Russian commander.

    A very political film, Rambo is dedicated to the "gallant people of Afghanistan". At the height of the cold war, Rambo aids the Moudjahidin in their fight against the Russian invaders. Interestingly, their "holy war" is glamorised, and the rebels willingness to thumb their nose at the rest of the world is idolised. Of course, some of these Afghan rebels were the Taliban and, following a fine tradition of American colonialism, once trained and heavily armed by the US, these marauding war lords then became very dangerous in a post-cold war world. Anyway, this movie is set when America wanted us to like the Taliban, so we do.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is quite good overall.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.30:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of the image is okay, although some scenes look a little soft, such as at 10:15. The black level and the shadow detail is noticeably better than First Blood and Rambo 2, such as during in the night operation at 14:20.

    The movie is shot in Arizona, Thailand, and Israel, and fortunately, the colour is good. The transfer seems to capture the beautiful lush greenery and desert hues well.

    There are no problems with MPEG artefacts, but the grainy image sometimes does appear a little pixelated. Unlike First Blood and Rambo 2, film-to-video artefacts do not seem to be a problem here. Very small film artefacts appear infrequently throughout, and some edge enhancement is also noticeable at times.

    Again, surprisingly, the only subtitles present on the DVD are Dutch.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 46:32.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


   Originally released theatrically in Dolby Stereo Surround, and remixed into Dolby Digital 5.1 for this DVD, the audio retains some of its original Stereo Surround feel.

    There is only one audio option on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine, although as before, some of Stallone's lines are slurred with his speech.

    The musical score is credited to Jerry Goldsmith, and again it is heavily based on his work for First Blood. The use of ethnic instrumentation with the familiar themes is effective, but the song He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, over the closing credits, seems rather silly and out of place.

    The surround presence and activity is limited by its stereo surround source material. The rear speakers are called upon for the score, ambience, and effects, such as the helicopter at 20:54. However, as with First Blood and Rambo 2, there is not much separation between the rears.

    The subwoofer is used to support the explosions, for example at 40:33, and the LFE quality is far better than the first two movies.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Surprisingly, as with First Blood and Rambo 2, there are no extras -- not even a trailer!


    An animated main menu, with audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Rambo III has been released on DVD in Region 1 twice, initially in 1999 as a single sided, single layered disc with a Stereo-Surround audio track. The extras included a making-of featurette, audio commentary, trailers, trivia, and a "Stallone Movie Retrospective". In 2002 the dual sided, dual/single layered Special Edition arrived.

    In R1 this DVD can be purchased by itself, or as part of "The Rambo Collection Pack" (the three standard DVD editions), or as part of the "Rambo Trilogy" (the three SE DVDs with a fourth bonus disc including production notes, a new 30 min featurette, "Rambo Trilogy", and trivia games).

    Compared with the R1 Special Edition, the Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    I would have to favour the R1 Special Edition.


    Rambo III has a lot more comedy than the previous two films in the series, and remains a fun, almost cartoon-style, over-the-top action film.

    The video quality is reasonable.

    The audio quality is also reasonable.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Sunday, August 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
is rambo 3 the uk version - Anonymous
problems with rambo 3 - Anonymous
English Subtitles - Tik-Tok
The "taliban" didn't exist back then - Anonymous
re: The "taliban" didn't exist back then - Roger (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
RE: The "Taliban" didnt exist back then. - Anonymous
R1 special edition out of print - Anonymous
R1 - SE available here - Anonymous
R1 New Special Edition - Anonymous
Re: R1 New Special Edition - Anonymous
Special editions now available in R4? - pistol
Not Bad - lordg (Biography Tag)