It’s hard to get excited over the official theatrical trailer for Rambo what with that excessively gory teaser from last May still fresh in ol’ noggin. Factor in a smattering of lame dialogue and a complete lack of Jerry Goldsmith-ian cues, and I’m not sure I care about this movie anymore.
Compare the above (which leaked a day early, so don’t be surprised if it vanishes) to the final Rocky Balboa trailer; granted, Rambo may end up being more than just a nostalgia trip for guys my age, but there’s a whole aesthetic that needs to be evoked to remind us why we (ashamedly) fell in love with the character. And that begins with Ted Kotcheff’s First Blood, which introduced us to the nearly human version of the character that kept us coming back for… well, at least Rambo: First Blood Part II (Rambo III was a box office underachiever back in 1988, finishing second to Crocodile Dundee II over Memorial Day weekend before dying at $53 million domestic – a full $100 million less than the second film’s take). What stuck was the mournful quality of the character, conveyed beautifully by Jerry Goldsmith’s score. Without that music, Rambo is indistinguishable from the one-man killing machines he inspired throughout the 1980s.
There’s very likely a rights issue here, and, if so, that’s too bad; Rambo ain’t Rambo without so much as a hint of Goldsmith (and, yes, I’m quite aware he’s dead). Brian Tyler is handling the scoring duties on Rambo; looking over his filmography, I see nothing remarkable. But maybe you can hum a few bars of Timeline‘s main theme.