A group of mercenaries rescue missionaries held captive in Burma. Sylvester Stallone plays the lead character of John Rambo. The film begins with gory scenes from the ongoing civil war in Burma. Rambo is in Thailand catching cobras in the jungle for a smake show, where he works. A church group led by Michael Burnett (played by Paul Schulze) asks Rambo to take the missionaries up the river in his boat to Burma. He refuses. A woman with Burnett named Sarah (played by Julie Benz) asks him to reconsider. He still refuses.
In Burma, the soldiers raid villages to take the young boys to force them to be soldiers, and then set the villages on fire. Sara waits for Rambo on his boat in the pouring rain. She pleads with him to take them up river, so they can try to save some lives from the genocide. He takes them without accepting any pay because she is so sincere. They run into Burmese pirates on the river. They demand to be given the woman as pay for passage. Instead of giving up the woman, Rambo kills them. They continue upriver. He drops them off in Burma. Burnett tells Rambo he will report what he did and they do not need a ride back down the river, because they will walk back. On the way back down the river, Rambo sets the pirate boat on fire to destroy the evidence. The missionaries arrive in the village and help the people with medical care. The village is attacked soon after they arrive. Many are blown up. Many are killed, especially children. The villagers are massacred in mass. All the missionaries, including Sarah, are taken hostage.
Rambo has a dream, which is a flashback of his brutal time in Vietnam. Pastor Arthur Marsh (played by Ken Howard) comes to tell Rambo the missionaries are missing and the pastor is sending in mercenaries to find them. He asks Rambo to take them to where he dropped off the missionaries. Rambo takes them to the spot. They go to the destroyed village and see the dead everywhere. A Burmese army truck drives up. They throw five people out of the truck. They throw landmines in the water then make them run through it. Rambo shows up. He takes out all the Burmese soldiers with a bow. Rambo takes over the leadership by threatening the leader of the mercenaries, named Lewis (played by Graham McTavish).
The mercenaries get in the back of another military truck, heading towards the Burmese camp, which allows them to enter the military camp without being seen. The soldiers are watching women on stage, so they have left the prisoners unguarded. Rambo and the mercenaries set the prisoners free one by one. The Burmese soldiers fight over who can rape the women on stage. Rambo finds Sarah, but not before the Burmese Captain takes her from her pen back to his quarters to rape her. Before he can do it, Rambo rips his throat open from behind and breaks his neck. While extracting her, he is seen by two soldiers, but one of the mercenaries School Boy (played by Matthew Marsden) takes them out with rifle shots, before they can fire on Rambo and Sarah.
The next morning the Burmese soldiers discover the prisoners are missing and their captain is dead. They chase after the mercenaries who are making their escape. They use dogs to track them. Rambo, School Boy, and Sarah are running behind the other group of mercenaries heading back to the boat. Rambo takes a piece of cloth from Sarahâ€™s clothes, ties it to his boot. He makes School Boy fire a shot to attract the Burmese soldiers so he can lead them in the wrong direction, allowing Sarah and School Boy time to escape. Rambo sets a claymore mine with a trip wire, next to an unexploded bomb from WW II, which he saw in the forest, and leaves the piece of Sarahâ€™s clothing there. The Burmese soldiers and the dogs find it. There is a massive explosion, killing the Burmese troops who are chasing Rambo. Other Burmese troops capture the mercenaries and the boat. Just before the mercenaries are about to be shot, Rambo takes out a Burmese machine gunner and turns the gun back on the Burmese troops shooting many of them. The mercenaries break free, regain their weapons, and join the firefight. Even the missionary, who said there is never a reason to kill anyone, takes a rock and bashes a Burmese soldier in the head who attacks him. The counter rebels show up. They join the fighting. A Burmese gunboat shows up, spraying fire on those near shore and shooting at Rambo with a machine gun. Rambo is shot in the left shoulder but keeps on fighting. The Burmese Captain runs to escape. Rambo catches him, and guts him with a knife, killing him instantly. Sarah and Burnett survive but there is carnage everywhere. Sarah cries realizing she is the reason for all of this happening.
Some time passes and Rambo is back home in the States. He finds the mailbox with R. Rambo on it. It is the old homestead where his father lives. It is implied, Rambo has finally be able to leave the war and fighting behind, and get on with a normal life.
Best part of story, including ending:
Rambo is just as tough as he was in the original 1985 movie "First Blood", which started the series of these films. Stallone is still convincing as the character, Rambo, even he has aged considerably.
Best scene in story:
I like the scene, when in the heat of the fighting, the pacifist missionary takes a rock and kills an attacker with it, because it is a situation of kill or be killed leaving the missionary no choice.
Opinion about the main character:
It is the toughness of the Rambo character and his ruthlessness which makes the film work.