The entries in the Rambo series, whether affectionately or derisively, are often referred to not by their original titles, but by the abbreviation “Rambo” plus whatever number film in the cycle they are referring to. Technically, this is only accurate for Rambo III. And while calling the fourth film simply Rambo might make this all the more confusing, the decision is ultimately quite significant. It heralds a new era for the Rambo franchise—a new generation of fans, a new film industry, a new cultural and political climate, and ultimately a new action hero. This is now sixteen years after the release of First Blood, and much more blood has been drawn since then, and many more wrongs committed. To stick by that original title would be to indicate that Rambo hasn’t moved beyond that initial film. But, as evinced by the other entries in the cycle, he clearly has, and throughout Rambo he will continue to change even more because, if anything, this latest film is all about movement, both as an aesthetic choice and narrative motif.
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