Just a disclaimer of the top. This is not a review in a normal fashion that I’ve done it in the past. It’s more a dive into the story of Rambo and a breakdown of the most recent film. But SPOILERS for Rambo: Last Blood.
This movie is the final film in a five-movie franchise and after watching this newest installment it made me go back and think about and appreciate the original and its follow-ups. It made me remember why I liked the first movie so much and kept me connected to the series all this time. I guess, to be honest upfront I don’t remember two and three that much, I remember what the stories were and how they built on the character of John Rambo, but they are my least favorite to watch.
First blood (1982)
Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (1985)
Rambo 3 (1988)
Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
Number one and number four for me showed us the most human side of the character, even if he was the size of a brick house in that 2008 movie. Haha, it is funny to see him get larger as the years go on. But while I watch those movies I buy-in that he is a man who attaches himself deeply to those that he cares about. First Blood especially is one that can bring me to tears by the end.
So going into this one I wasn’t sure what the approach would be, and after watching the trailer I’ll be honest it felt kind of like a money grab with a well-known property that people care about. Even though I believe that Sylvester Stallone wouldn’t do another one of these if he didn’t think that it did something new with the character and didn’t deviate from the type of person that he was. So let us get into it then. Rambo: Last Blood finds John Rambo living what seems to be a peaceful life on his farm that he returned to in the last movie. He is living with an old friend and her granddaughter that he cares for. They are a happy family, but after young Gabriela locates her father who abandoned her and her mother, she feels that she must go to Mexico to find him and confront him. Rambo tells her this is a bad idea and she goes anyway without their knowledge. Once she doesn’t return this leads Rambo on a mission south of the border.
The movie does its work early on to inform us that his days in the military still haunt him and its all he can do to keep these demons at bay. But he is not in the prime of his life anymore so that zeal that he once had is not so easy to come by anymore. He locates Gabriela who has been sold into sex slavery and makes an attempt to rescue her. Which doesn’t end well for him, he is beaten within an inch of his life and left for dead. At this point in the movie, it feels like Taken, not that that is a bad thing necessarily but the plot is very cookie cutter and predictable and if it were not for it being Stallone on screen I probably would have checked out. From here he goes home and recovers and prepares for another attempt at rescuing Gabriela, on that has a plan. Another thing to add here, this movie is brutal. Now if you’ve seen the fourth installment this will not surprise you. But it is a very graphic film, to its demise at times. Not that I cannot deal with a little blood. But Rambo killing a man, cutting his head off and dropping it out the window while driving away. That feels a little out of character for me.
On the second attempt, he threatens to kill many people and does kill many other people, but rescues Gabriela. In a twist, Gabriela dies of a heroin overdose on their way back to the ranch. This pushes John over the edge and he then leaves a message for the bad guys that it was him who stole her back and killed their friends, and since they kept his driver’s license after the beat him the first time we know that the climax of the film is going to take place on his turf, the family farm. From here we get a montage of Rambo setting up elaborate death traps throughout his farm and the tunnels underneath his property. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the tunnels earlier.
Let me pause here and comment on the tunnels, now this is a personal opinion, and feel free to disagree and tell me. But the coolest part of the movie we see at the very beginning. The tunnels were the one thing that I looked forward to the most. And its not a bad sequence him fighting the cartel in the tunnels but they gave a lot away right at the beginning of the film. I feel that it could have benefited the movie had we not seen them but known they were there. So this highly trained spec ops group of cartel drug lords come to his home and pick a fight with John Rambo. I think you know how it ends. In the same form and fashion as the last movie. He lets the demons out and kills a whole lot of people that the audience cares nothing about and enjoys watching him butcher them. The traps are very reminiscent of the once from First Blood but instead of just harming innocent police officers he is mutilating sex traffickers. And it ends with him ripping the main bad guy’s heart out literally and riding off into the sunset.
I enjoyed the movie as much as I could for what it was. It also reminded me of the first movie at times, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But at the end of the day, I don’t think that it added anything new to the character. It is in a lot of ways was just another opportunity to watch Rambo go be Rambo. It continued the plotline that no matter how hard this man tries he just can’t seem to get away from the fight and no matter how hard he tries trouble will always find him. But is it worth the time to watch it to retread the same story arch? I would honestly say no. Go back and watch the first movie, go back and watch John struggle with the man that he is, the weapon that they made him into. Watch the pain in his eyes when he has no choice but to fight back. Sylvester Stallone is a really good actor in the right roles and intriguing to watch on screen. But there are better movies that show us his potential, examples of this are even the newest movies where he reprises his role as Rocky Balboa in Creed one and two. Thank you for reading my rant about this movie. It wasn’t good but it wasn’t bad either I would say that if you are looking for something new that was released recently this will meet the need. Remember That Movie if that is the case, but also remember the ones that came before it to make it possible.