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Ramboesque? Suicide: the new abortion?

It turns out I wasn’t the only one with this brilliant insight, but viewers last weekend had a tough call: which would be the funnier parody, “Meet the Spartans” or “Rambo?” I haven’t seen the former except for the trailer, and I must say the guy playing the faux Rambo looks a lot more human than does Sylvester Stallone in his movie. Maybe that’s  why “Spartans” edged out “Rambo” at the box office.

Stallone’s film, meanwhile, reduces the frachise to its most simplistic. Show bad brown people -- actual footage of atrocities against rebels committed by Burmese troops in the country’s 60 year Civil War (real maggots, blowflies, incinerated corpses) supplemented by those of a malignant fictitious general (he’s so evil he doesn’t even rape women because he likes boys) and his  Orc-like minions machine gunning an entire village (simulated maggots, blowflies, incinerated corpses).

Faced by such inhumanity, an embittered, cynical Rambo, semi-retired as a“boatman” ferrying psalm-singing missionaries to the refugee camps, asks himself  that fundamental existential question: Yo? His character arc progresses subtly from the Nietschean nihilism of “Fuck the world!” to the Camus-like involvement of “I’ll be alright. Hand me a claymore.” Though the 61-year-old Stallone isn’t looking too good (all nerve endings to his face have apparently shut off and he never takes off his shirt; the forearms are holding up pretty well, though), the special effects would put “The Hostel” people to shame. Let’s just say if you like watching Asian people chopped into meaty chunks by large caliber bullets or variously dismembered or eviscerated by edged weapons, this is your date movie.

So I’m wondering, is “Ramboesque” an accepted word? This source says yes. The thought came to mind as I was reading an article about Harold Pinter, who apparently is ailing. If Pinter goes, that means one less artist with an  “-esque” or “-ian” or “-ish” suffix to their name.  Altman and Bergman were the most recent to go. Do any remain? Spielbergian? Tarantinoesque?

Finally, not to get morbid or indulge in bad taste what with the exact circumstances of Heath Ledger's death still up in the air, but the number of movies at Sundance about people killing themselves or attempting or pondering the deed -- all for laughs, mind you -- suggests a new underground movie trend. In 2007 it was “Juno”; this year will it be “The Wackness?” Could suicide be the abortion of 2008?

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Peter Keough tosses away all pretenses of objectivity, good taste and sanity and writes what he damn well pleases under the guise of a film blog.

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