Rambo III (1988)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
|Year Of Production||1988|
|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
Marc de Jonge
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.30:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
|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.
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.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|