Rambo: Last Blood is a fucking bloodfest. This was the type of movie with a very specific audience watching for a very specific reason; gorey and violent action. The 2019 film, directed by Adrian Grunberg, is the last installment in the Rambo franchise. This finale does a good job at being the most graphically violent one yet. But unlike other Rambo movies, a lot of the plot made me feel bored. There were some times I forgot what movie I was watching, that is until Sly showed up on a screen crushing brains with a hammer. But then again the films have always been about one thing; a man who cant leave the battlefield murdering anything that gets in his way.
The franchise is complicated. ‘First Blood’ came out in 1982 and is still the best one. It was a story that told us about a soldier that has trouble taking authority when coming home from war. Rambo 2, Rambo III, and Rambo all had to do with the character over seas and in constant conflict. I didn’t really care for the second movie and I honestly don’t remember anything from the third. The fourth movie was awesome and showed John Rambo finally coming home after all these years. I thought that was the end, so it felt weird that a fifth movie was even announced. Unlike the second, third, and fourth movie, John wasn’t running away from home or feeling lost. In some ways ‘Last Blood’ is the direct sequel to ‘First Blood’ that we never got in any other Rambo movie. Seeing the man from war still paranoid and building booby traps. Unfortunately that wasn’t most of the plot.
As I said earlier, there were times I honestly forgot that I was watching a Rambo movie. It just felt so out of place. This story takes place a decade after the events of ‘Rambo’ and involves John’s niece getting taken by Mexican cartel pimps. The story is really depressing, and I had a hard time watching. The Rambo movies have always dealt with real world tragedies but it felt weird placing him in a world he has never been in before. The Mexican cartels have never been a point of reference in previous movies. John has never put himself out there to rescue someone else. There has always been an internal struggle and sure people’s lives were saved but not in this way. His motives felt off for the character. It almost felt like someone wrote a script about an old paranoid soldier that had to rescue his niece from the cartel and then a producer took the script and said “yea no one will watch this… unless we make him Rambo.” Now that being said there is a lot that made it one of the most Rambo movie yet, but thats because of the violence.
John Rambo has been home for 10 year but his mind has never really left the battlefield. The movie starts off as if he has found some kind of peace. But he was just keeping a lid on the beast under his skin. Most of the movie I wanted him to come busting out but it took so long for those moments. There are very long scenes of story that dragged. There was also a few side character’s introduced that wasted screen time. When Rambo did eventually come out, it was fucking brutal. This movie had me jumping out of me seat and covering my eyes screaming “oh my fucking god” and I wasn’t the only one in the theater reacting that way. This might actually be the most violent Rambo movie, if not action movie in general. There is one death montage that could easily compete with anything from John Wick. This is why audiences came to see the movie and it does not disappoint.
The brutal scenes were amazing. But there wasn’t really enough of those. The human elements took too much away. It was off putting seeing Sylvester Stallone, looking like a bear wearing leathered human skin, speaking spanish and talking about horses. Plus, the world of Mexican cartels is terrible, but I wasn’t specifically interested in that plot. This movie is the latest in a phase of action movies starring an older man representing an audience that misses being badasses; and it’s great to see an action star on-screen from your past doing what you wish you could do. But, with there being so many, Last Blood doesn’t stand out aside from the few choice moments. It doesn’t survive The Snappening. Just google the final scene on youtube after it comes out on blu-ray.
Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith