Kevin Crust in the Los Angeles Times gives Rambo one of several so-so and/or grudgingly complimentary reviews. "Rambo hits his stride in the film's second half, meting out justice in an unjust world and ultimately the movie works best when warbling its out-of-tune greatest hits." (Indeed, the film has the greatest number of hits of any Rambo movie -- a professor of national security studies at Ohio State counted 236 killings.) Besides, Crust says, "There's something oddly touching about Stallone's march down memory lane." Stallone was the writer and director of the movie, as well as its star, and Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle acknowledges that he provides "a straight-ahead action film that makes the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan look like a debutante ball. It's 90 minutes of flying, dismembered limbs and explosions of blood, but give the man credit. Stallone can do action. If you want action and nothing but, here it is." A.O. Scott in the New York Times compares the Rambo character to the "samurais and gunslingers" of classic films and concludes, "Mr. Stallone is smart enough -- or maybe dumb enough, though I tend to think not -- to present the mythic dimensions of the character without apology or irony. His face looks like a misshapen chunk of granite, and his acting is only slightly more expressive, but the man gets the job done. Welcome back." But Kyle Smith in the New York Post headlines his review "RAMBOLONEY!" and concludes: "Needlessly violent? No, Rambo is needfully violent. Johnny R. is a man constructed of violence. He can no more do without firing arrows into skulls than a lady poet can do without her yoga. The psychological effects of his métier might be worth considering, but Stallone isn't interested in anything but the next explosion." Several critics predict that the movie should perform well at the box office. The Los Angeles Daily News's Glenn Whipp writes, "Interestingly, the relative absence of this kind of action movie in recent years makes the new Rambo something of a curio that will satisfy genre enthusiasts whose taste for (first) blood cannot be quenched by costumed pansies like SPIDER-MAN." But Carrie Rickey in the Philadelphia Inquirer predicts that modern-day audiences are likely to be disappointed. Calling it a "slab of action porn," she advises that anyone interested in such stuff should "buy the video game. With its first-person-shooter perspective and gun-and-run narrative, this one's for the PlayStation crowd."
There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.