Rambo IV - First Blood it isn't

Caught a sneak of this at the Alamo Drafthouse. I might have found the film mildly entertaining, if it wasn't for the ridiculous security measures the studio insisted on.

It was bad enough that they had decided to ban all cell phones without informing the audience. I generally just answer questions about recording devices and cell phones with a negative. "No, my phone doesn't have a camera. No, I don't have a cell phone." I know the rules concerning piracy (although how something can be piracy without profit is still a mystery) and if there's one thing a videophile hates it's jittery amateur photography. Why anyone would want to record a film on their cell phone is beyond me. So I tell them whatever they want to hear to get them out of my face, but I won't surrender my phone, sorry. What's the point of having a mobile phone that you don't keep with you?

So, when the extremely overdressed trio (black suit and tie. In Austin. Gimme a break) of wanna-be toughs from the studio asked me if I had a cell phone, I said "no". Then they proceeded to inform the crowd assembled for the sneak that there would be no cell phones of any kind allowed in the theater; and they did this every 10 minutes for the hour that we waited in line. Every time it was mentioned, the wife (her desire to see the film is the only reason I agreed to go. Yes, she wanted to see it, not me. Go figure) would give me the hairy eyeball and gestured towards the car.

I've walked this gauntlet before, I figured I had it beat. But when they informed the audience that they would be wanding all attendees and confiscating cell phones, I decided that I would spare the wife the scene and simply hide the Treo in the car.

It ended up making no difference one way or the other. They did indeed wand us as we went through. I had the forethought to hold my keys in my hand, but I forgot that I had my vertigo medication in a metal tin, and consequently was asked to empty my pockets anyway. So I flashed them the tin full of medication, as well as some justly earned anger, and stormed into the theater.

[On the upside, the wife finally agreed that I had the right idea when it comes to taking my next flight; clearly there's something about me that sets off the status quo types. Might as well make a statement]

When the waitress (yes, waitresses at Alamo Drafthouse. I feel for those poor souls without access to one) came by to ask if I wanted anything, I was still feeling snippy; so I told her that all I wanted was my dignity returned. She didn't see the humor in that. Being treated as a criminal without engaging in a crime. If that isn't a theft of ones dignity, I don't know what is.

And I went through all this to see Rambo IV! A mildly entertaining film from the explosions and gore perspective (the wife and I agreed that they had some of the best exploding dummies we've ever seen on film) but not even in the same league with First Blood, a film with a story and a plot as well as decent action. Still, it was better than Rambo II or III (has anybody else made the Al Qaeda connection with Rambo III? That's good for a laugh) but not by much.

The wife and I were barely on speaking terms by the time we got back to the house; and I was left with the irony of going to see a film in which the lead character goes to extreme measures to defend the rights of the oppressed, while being shown in graphic detail just how few rights any of us have left.

Thank you Lions Gate Entertainment, you've definitely hit a new low.

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