2008 action thriller movie ‘Rambo IV’ (AKA ‘Rambo,’ ‘John Rambo,’ and ‘Rambo: The Fight Continues’) is the blood-drenched fourth installment in Sylvester Stallone’s iconic ‘Rambo’ franchise that practically reinvented the action genre. The film follows the titular character created by author David Morrell in the 1972 novel ‘First Blood.’
The storyline plunges our war veteran hero John Rambo into the violent backdrop of Myanmar, where a war between the state and mercenaries keeps unfolding. The consequence is utter mayhem against the green palette of dense jungles. However, you might be wondering where the movie was shot. In that case, allow us to share everything we know!
Rambo IV Filming Locations
‘Rambo IV’ was filmed in Thailand, Myanmar, the US, and Mexico. According to sources, filming started on January 22, 2007, and ended on May 4, 2007. The franchise movies always place themselves in the middle of unfolding geopolitical tension, and the team of this film sought to walk on a similar path. As they had already covered geopolitical centers of conflict like Vietnam and the Middle East, Stallone wanted his character to head somewhere we don’t often see in the media.
Therefore, Stallone got in touch with the United Nations to learn more about global conflicts, and Burma fascinated him since he did not know much about the country. He also wanted to make the film viscerally bloody since they were working on a tight budget, and it cost relatively lesser to smother people in fake blood. But the reality would hit the production crew hard. Now, let us find out more about how and where the movie was lensed.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Several scenes were filmed in Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai (also written as Chiengmai or Chiangmai), an eloquent historic city in the northern mountainous region of Thailand. They charted the jungles near the town, setting up several sequences there. Moreover, the snake farm scenes were lensed on Mae Sa Snake Farm, which is located in the Mae Raem (Mae Rim) district of Chiang Mai. You may find it interesting to know that the actual employees of the farm were included in the filming process. But the facility is seemingly not in function anymore. In addition, the cities of Chiang Rai and Bangkok may have been visited to lens a few sequences.
Salween River, Myanmar
Most of the movie is set in Myanmar (Burma), so the team filmed scenes on the Salween River, a part of which separates Burma and Thailand. But much to the shock of the cast and crew, the reality of the volatile nation was far worse than the first-hand accounts Stallone and his team had heard. In an October 2007 interview, the lead actor shared that all the trails were heavily mined, and the only way to access interior Burma was up the river.
Stallone recollected, “I witnessed the aftermath – survivors with legs cut off and all kinds of land mine injuries, maggot-infested wounds and ears cut off.” They also faced death threats, narrowly escaping shots fired by the Burmese military. In August and September 2007, months after the crew returned from the country, Burma met one of its largest pro-democratic protests, which ended in a humanitarian crisis.
The small unincorporated community of Bowie is a significant place in Rambo’s life, as he hails from the village. It finds mention in four movies out of five. We learn that Rambo is from Bowie as Murdock reads his credentials in the first film. However, we would not see his home until the end of the third movie, when Rambo returns to his ancestral horse farm. Therefore, some scenes for the fourth film in the franchise were presumably filmed on the location. Bowie lies about three hours southeast of the capital city of Phoenix.
Towards the end of the movie, Rambo walks towards the horizon. Filming of the specific sequence took place in California, specifically in the community of Palmdale. The crew got hold of a plot located at 12140-11766 Elizabeth Lake Road in the city to film the scene. Located north of LA in Los Angeles County, the city’s outskirts harbor a great variety of biodiversity.
Additionally, some scenes were filmed in Mexico. However, this was not the last Mexico outing for the everyman fictional hero, as the fifth installment of the franchise, ‘Rambo: Last Blood,’ was also filmed in the country. Although there is crime and corruption, much like in every other country, the ancient land of Mayans and Aztecs has stood the test of time. Modern-day Mexico showcases a blend of the old and the new. With vast stretches of beaches, impenetrable jungles, and allures of history, Mexico is one of the best off-grid tourist destinations in the world.
Read More: Where Was Rambo: Last Blood (2019) Filmed?