BACK INTO BATTLE

And speaking of the Big Guy: They're still location hunting. And they don't yet have a production start date. But the "Rambo III" folks do have a script--co-written by Sly. Here's the dope:

The somewhat mellowed John Rambo has drifted across Southeast Asia to Bangkok--where he works in a foundry and . . . as an occasional boxer! After squaring off against Thai fighters, he hands over his winnings to the Buddist monks who've befriended him.

"I help them, they help me," Rambo tells his mentor, Col. Trautman (Richard Crenna, of course), who's somewhat startled to learn that his boy is trying to shed his warring ways. (When Rambo first encounters his old commander, he even lets loose a "hint of a smile.") Trautman's journeyed to Bangkok to enlist Rambo's help in a "humanitarian" mission to deliver medical supplies to Afghanistan. "Thanks, but no thanks" is more or less Rambo's reply. The reason: "My war is over."

Trautman tries to do the job himself, and is kidnaped by the Russkies. Since his was a classified operation, he's on his own. (There'll be no U.S. reinforcements.) Which is why Rambo has a change of heart. . . and the storyline has a change of locale.

Once in the land of Afghan, Rambo is his usual nonverbal self. (When a rugged Afghani warrior observes that he doesn't say much, Rambo replies, "I leave it to people who do it better.") Naturally, he proves to be one heck of a warrior himself. And also one heck of a horseman. (He stuns the villagers by winning a daring game played with lances, on horseback.)

But rescuing the brutally tortured Trautman from the Soviet compound is no easy task: There are explosions and gunfire. Death and destruction. "Mind-blowing, dare-devil maneuvers" (as the script puts it).

But that's not all--there are even bad one-liners from Rambo, who has somehow developed a penchant for joking!

Declares Trautman, as bullets whiz by, "Helluva time to discover you have a sense of humor, John."

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