zaterdag 23 augustus 2008

John Rambo (2008)

Given the consistent history of the Rambo series, one can expect a classic testosterone fueled war absolutely glorifying the stale and corny Hollywood "good guys versus bad guys" kind of movie theme. Indeed this prediction turned out to be quite accurate. Life is cheap in this movie, especially the lives of the "bad guys" and innocent bystanders, who are obliterated by the truckloads. Guns and violence are being elevated almost to the status of sacredness, of course all the while at the expense of humane and civilized morality.

The movie starts out in Burma with a scene in which a group of seemingly innocent civilians are slaughtered by Burmese soldiers reveling in some kind of sadistically cruel game involving land-mines and machine-guns. The soldier hordes are being led by a coldblooded commander never making as much as a flinch while the civilians are being murdered. Thus immediately the ruthless and psychopathic nature of a genuine tyrant is laid to bear. As such, the supreme bad guy has been revealed and his (bloody) persecution is thus immediately justified by the big bad-boy buster Rambo and his team of good guys. A rewording would be, by the actions and nature of the bad guys the movie advances a morality which shamelessly champions their bloody and remorseless persecution.

The effect on the public is to instill the idea that stone-cold psychopathic violence to one's fellow human beings is justified under the conditions that the targets are perceived to be bloodthirsty monsters themselves who, it is presumed, simply cannot be reasoned with. Metaphorically put, it is right to fight fire with fire. The movie thus glorifies the psychopathic hero saviour type by emphatically demonizing the psychopathic nemesis type. This rationalizing of the psychopathic patriot truly may therefore be understood as a morale booster for armed forces, especially if they have second thoughts about their moral code of conduct towards enemy combatants. Movies like this help clear out any doubts on whether the enemy is even remotely human. This movie helps buttress the notion that they are all a bunch of demons worthy of putting to death. To establish a further asymmetry between the righteousness of the good guys compared to the "bad guys", the former is given extra-ordinary effective fire-power with a body-count (and limb-count for that matter) much higher than that of the "bad guys". As such the "good guys" are given an aura of righteous and moral invincibility thus making the gullible and naive audience warm up to them even more.

There are two interesting moments in the movie where Rambo utters two short monologues.
War is in your blood. You didn't kill for your country, you killed for yourself. God's never going to make that go away. When pushed, killing is easy as breathing.

So there you have it. Rambo admits, although couched in poetic verbiage, so much that he is in fact a psychopath and moreover that it is no shame to be one. The public is thus urged to think that engaging on killing sprees is all honky dory since the "bad guys" must be destroyed cost what it may.

There isn't one of us who doesn't want to be some place else. But this is what we do; who we are. Live for nothing or die for something. Your call.

This little slogan may serve to rationalize the whole concept of the role of a soldier in any armed conflict. The public, especially potential army recruits, may interpret this as war simply being something worth dying for. Would it be hard to imagine that army recruiters are going to love this enticing slogan?

To recap, this is an absolutely unashamed classic "good guys versus bad guys" movie. The gun, death and war is exalted to a literal god-like life-or-death decider status. The "good guy" hero is being made to look virtually invincible, who kills the "bad guy boss" at the end of the movie according to well-established but boring tradition. The army must love this kind of movies. Unfortunately, this kind of sensationalism thrives at the expense of any acceptable humane and civilized ethics.

Movies such as these along with the overkill of war-themed video-games serve to erode away human and ethical values therefore: Watch with discretion.

1 opmerking:

Anoniem zei

Maybe I'm overthinking it, but I found the behaviour of some innocents very suspicious. They were at one point being forced by gunpoint to walk a minefield into certain death. It reminded me of those RL genocide images we've all seen and I personally think it's a form of programming, as if you have no other choise but to do what the man with the gun says.

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