A Caviar and Champagne Character vs. A Meat and Potatoes Character
Have you ever wondered why certain films seem to resonate with people while other films have quite the polar opposite effect and are met with derision and disgust? Is it a thing as simple as timing when a film comes out and all the stars are aligned for a perfect synergy of balanced harmony? Or could it be that maybe the moment has passed and people have moved on away from the characters and don’t see themselves in the character any longer? Such is the examination of two films, John Wick 3 and Rambo: Last Blood, as one was applauded with positive reviews while the latter was met with mostly negative reviews by the critics. But why was that?
Both films had unprecedented violence in them. John Wick 3 had a body count that looked like it went past three digits. Rambo too had a high body count but not as severe as John Wick3. John Wick’s body count was laced throughout the picture with a roller coaster level of violence. Rambo’s body count was mainly in the final act and from this POV, it was rather tepid and lukewarm, mainly because the acts of aggression weren’t anything new or exciting. There was no “DAMN” moment where our senses were shocked. There was no “YES” moment when a bad guy was killed. It was mostly a by-the-numbers killing journey. Rambo: Last Blood basically ran with the notion that this was a nostalgic look back with John Rambo and for those fans of his era, they got what he delivered.
John Wick, on the other hand, gave us new acts of aggression that satiated the carnal savagery we place in these types of films. We want our violence to be severe and yet poetic in its style. Rambo seemed to handle its violence like he was a caveman as he ran around in his underground tunnel. He was slovenly dressed. He visibly was sweating. He was this meat and potatoes avenger. John Wick was a more sophisticated avenger. He wore a suit. He was more refined in his method of killing and even when he was sweating, it wasn’t a distraction. Rambo was in the dirt. John Wick was in the rain. John Wick was the caviar and champagne enforcer. There were plenty of “GODDAMN’ and “WTF” moments with the John Wick series.
John Wick’s violence was a close-quarters contact sport. He engaged with his opponent that seemed more personal, more in-the-moment fighting and killing. John Rambo, though personal after watching his goddaughter die from a forced drug overdose, was more remote at a distance fighting. This was his style of fighting. Although he can fight in a close quarter situation, most of his fighting was done with explosions and booby traps.
We have prejudices and biases that are inherent and we have become more and more of a class society. We have come to accept some of these social vices, in many instances, not for the better. Rambo: First Blood, was such a unique property in its time. It had a character who became this anti-hero. He reached icon status. His plight was heavily linked to a war in Vietnam that saw its veterans being spit upon when they returned home from that divisive conflict. The times moved on and the nation’s animosity towards these soldiers shifted from disdain to honor. Do you have to wonder if Rambo played any part of that changing perspective?
When John Wick came bounding across the screen, his life was a mystery. He recently became a widower and was still in mourning when a small group of men invaded his home and killed his dog. It was your typical revenge bait movie that was enhanced with hellish kung-fu gunplay and unorthodox stunt work that salivated the senses of an unsuspecting audience who lapped up every bit of it through three films and is still wanting more.
Rambo took out a vicious and sadistic drug cartel and yet the SJW’s had a problem with him taking them out. What, have no SJW’a read about the killings in these central Mexico countries about the murders that they have committed. Have you not seen any of the videos of them hacking people to death, dismembering their bodies to make a point. They took a page out of the Middle Eastern terrorist playbook on extreme methods of murdering people. Quite frankly, I thought John Rambo was rather mild in taking out the drug cartel compared to how John Wick was dispatching the convoy of assassins. You were left feeling empty once it was over. John Wick has changed the viewing habit of what we want in modern gunplay. We want it to be lyrical in its style. We want unrealistic stunt play that defies the human body’s ability to move in that context. We want our senses to be invigorated and challenged. John Wick did that. Rambo only reminded us that Rambo’s last hurrah was the sound of the bugle playing taps to a soldier who died in spirit in that war zone so many years ago, came back with a healthy dose of PTSD and never recovered. We should have given them honor then instead of waiting for the sun to set on a mood.