10 Things You Might Not Know About RAMBO III - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About RAMBO III

Geek Dave turns blue.

1. After the huge success of Rambo: First Blood Part II, and a massive hit in the form of Rocky IV, Sylvester Stallone was riding the Hollywood high wave, and was pretty much able to demand whatever he liked to return to the role of John Rambo.

So he did! Stallone asked for a Gulfstream jet, at a then cost of $12 million dollars, as part of his pay for the film. He got one!

2. As with the previous two films, Stallone re-wrote the script for a co-writers credit, and had final say on just about every aspect of production. Highlander director Russel Mulcahy was originally hired by Stallone (a fan of both Highlander and Mulcahy's extensive music video work for Duran Duran, among others) to helm Rambo III, but several weeks into filming Sly fired him, along with many of the film's crew. As Stallone recalled,
The canvas of this movie is so large you have to constantly think 10 scenes ahead. You can't wing it. They didn't go into the Battle of Waterloo not knowing what their strategy would be. Well, this movie is kind of like a cinematic warfare. We have a huge cast and crew (more than 250 people) and tough locations to deal with. Everyone and everything has to coordinate.

[Mulcahy] went to Israel two weeks before me with the task of casting two dozen vicious looking Russian troops. These men were suppose [sic] to make your blood run cold. When I arrived on the set, what I saw was two dozen blond, blue-eyed pretty boys that resembled rejects from a surfing contest. Needless to say Rambo is not afraid of a little competition but being attacked by third rate male models could be an enemy that could overwhelm him. I explained my disappointment to Russell and he totally disagreed, so I asked him and his chiffon army to move on.

3. Mulcahy was replaced by Peter MacDonald (above), a veteran second unit director. It was MacDonald's first film as director but he was very experienced and had directed the second unit action sequences in Rambo: First Blood Part II. Even still, rumours circulating production stated that Stallone called many of the shots himself. MacDonald later said,
I tried very hard to change the Rambo character a bit and make him a vulnerable and humorous person, I failed totally. I knew instinctively what was a good and bad shot, Stallone knew his character because it was his third outing as Rambo. I wasn't shooting Shakespeare and at times it was hard to take it seriously.
4. Stallone and MacDonald soon found out that there were so many restrictions in Israel, to where you could and couldn't shoot. MacDonald, though, was working around this for authenticity, but one day he arrived on set to discover...
...Stallone decided [we] would go back to Arizona where they had looked long before I was on the film. There was a group there called the re-enactors. We had around two hundred and fifty of these guys who re-enact the [American] civil war. They were called on to do fight sequences, which they loved. 

5. Fun fact for you - the horse John Rambo rides is the same one ridden by Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

6. This was the last Rambo film to star Richard Crenna as Colonel Sam Trautman. He passed away on January 17th 2003.

But in 1993, Crenna sorta resurrected the role. After being approached by the producers of the spoof Hot Shots! Part Deux, which was a parody of the Rambo series, Crenna spoke with Stallone about whether he should take the part of Colonel Denton Walters. Stallone was more than happy to give his blessing.

Just like Colonel Trautman, Crenna's character personally sought out the main protagonist (played here by Charlie Sheen) in a location somewhere in Southeast Asia to ask for help, and was also captured by the enemies forces, this time the Iraqis.

7. Rambo III's ending was meant to be different. In the original cut, as Rambo and Colonel Trautman are driving away from the freedom fighter's camp, as seen in the theatrical cut, Rambo decides to not return home with Trautman to America but stay with the freedom fighters, feeling that he has finally found somewhere he belongs. Trautman understands and says goodbye to Rambo. He wishes him luck and returns home to America alone.

8. Sixty-five seconds of the film were cut in the United Kingdom version for theatrical release. Some later video releases almost tripled the cuts, with over three minutes removed. In both cases it was primarily for knife violence and cruelty to animals. The DVD release has all the cuts reinstated apart from a two second shot of animal cruelty (in this case, horsefall).

9. According to director Peter MacDonald in the DVD commentary, at the time this movie was being filmed, the Russians were, in fact, invading Afghanistan just as depicted in Rambo III, however about four weeks prior to this movie's premiere, the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan, and were no longer at war with that country. MacDonald felt that this turn of events and  the opening of Communism to the West under Mikhail Gorbachev, which had already changed the image of the Soviet Union to a substantial degree by the time the movie was finished, had hurt Rambo III's box office returns, because the idea of the Russians being the primary villains in this movie was no longer really believable. At the same time though, MacDonald was somewhat glad of the idea that the events in Rambo III may have helped to contribute to Russia's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

10. Rambo III was released worldwide on May 25th 1988. It didn't perform anywhere near as well as its predecessor but was in no way a flop, grossing $189 million at the box office, from a production budget of $63 million.

The 1990 The Guinness Book of World Records deemed Rambo III the most violent film ever made, with 221 acts of violence, at least 70 explosions, and over 108 characters killed on-screen. It also listed Rambo III as the most expensive film ever made at the time (but it had just actually been beaten by 1989's Back to the Future Part II).

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