Top positive review
One person found this helpful
Oddly gentle and touching in places
on 1 April 2015
A really good movie, squarely in Rambo territory, but cuts its own path far too clearly to be seen as a remake.
At the centre of this are two characters.
Benicio Del Toro, taciturn and brooding, is mostly excellent as the vet gone "bad", the best I've seen from him, although when he is required to be sensitive, it works less well. Unlike Rambo, the military put him over the edge, not the bigoted cop.
However, Tommy Lee Jones puts in yet another simply brilliant performance as the non-killer who trains killers and eventually and reluctantly has to go after one of his own. A complex and reserved character, superbly portrayed by this man who surely ranks as one of the greatest actors around, and with a voice to make your nerves tingle. Only one slight jar; he seems to walk a little stiffly, yet is dynamic in his fight scenes. Well, who the hell cares?
Much of the action and subplotting is fairly predictable, but it's the journey that matters. This does lack some of the sharp dialogue- usually emanating from Richard Crenna- that lightens up "First Blood": "God didn't make Rambo-I did!" and "I didn't come here to save Rambo from you. I came to save you from Rambo." LT gets some great lines, though "If I'm not back in two days it means I'm dead", completely deadpan and completely brilliant in its scene.
At the end of the day, to call this a remake of the brilliant "First Blood" is less accurate than to call "Saving Private Ryan" a remake of "The Longest Day"; there are similarities in setting and context, but no more. Like "First Blood", there is an inevitability about the way it all develops.
An oddly satisfying, gently paced movie, considering its content. Well worth a watch. At the end of the day, there's perhaps not "enough" in this for it to get five stars, which is why I think I very marginally prefer "First Blood", but this might actually be the better film. WHY can't I give it five stars? Dammit, I can.