Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
Director: Adrian Grunberg
Screenplay: Matthew Cirulnick & Sylvester Stallone from a story by Dan Gordon & Sylvester Stallone based on the character created by David Morrell.
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega and Yvette Monreal.
The Pitch: “Sly Stallone is ready to do another Rambo!”
Tagline: They Drew First Blood. He Will Draw Last.
The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
Rambo: Last Blood takes place ten years after Rambo has returned home to the farm of his childhood. All of his friends and family are dead except for his adopted family of Maria (his housekeeper) and her granddaughter Gabrielle who is about to leave for college.
When Gabrielle doesn’t return from a trip across the border to confront the father that deserted her years ago, Rambo goes to find her. In Mexico, Rambo learns that Gabrielle has been kidnapped by a gang led by two brothers who are sex-traffickers. It’s not giving away anything to say that he goes to rescue her and the fight begins in Mexico and culminates on Rambo’s ranch in Arizona.
Rambo: Last Blood is not for everyone (is any film?). It is excessively brutal. It’s not a feel-good film. I liked it, but understand why some folks don’t. I’ll tell you more about what I liked and address some criticisms after the trailer — be advised spoilers will follow.
Rambo: Last Blood seemed like a natural extension of Rambo (the last movie). Rambo has returned to his childhood farm where he lives with his adopted family. I liked that while Rambo has made progress, he still suffers from memories of the war, but is getting medical help. I liked that although Gabrielle’s father is a horrible person, he wasn’t a member of the gang.
I’m not a fan of overly gory movies. I don’t like slasher movies. I agree that the violence in Rambo: Last Blood is excessive, but complaining about violence in a Rambo movie (especially one that advertises itself as being “savage”) is like going out into the rain and complaining when you get wet.
It is strange to me that folks who loved First Blood (where Rambo did terrible physical damage to innocent police officers and National Guard troops, and destroyed businesses of innocent citizens) are finding fault with the violence in this movie.
There were a couple of twists that I liked: Rambo being caught watching the house and when he tries to walk away is met by overwhelming force. It was unexpected of how bad a beating he took and that Gabrielle died after Rambo rescued her. I liked that Rambo went back in without his gun or knife and used a hammer. It seemed like a real choice.
Some folks are complaining that all Mexicans are being portrayed as evil. I get the concern but it reminds me of the same complaints that Italians made about The Godfather. Not all Mexicans are bad and to get that message from the movie is extremely simplistic.
The movie focuses on Rambo and the revenge he takes upon the gang members that kidnapped, drugged, raped and killed his adopted niece. The people who did that are not good people. These outlaws don’t represent all of Mexico just as Rambo doesn’t represent all of America. Had the movie focused on the Mexican reporter or other good people in Mexico it would have been a different film. Perhaps some would have liked that film better, but to judge a movie on what it isn’t, doesn’t seem right to me.
There has been a lot of criticism leveled at the last act where Rambo has lured the gang members back to his ranch which has been riddled with traps. Did these people not see a single trailer? Wouldn’t that be like going to a McDonalds after watching ads for a Big Mac and then complaining when you got what you saw in the commercial?
I think that some of the complaints against Rambo: Last Blood may have been from folks who’ve romanticized John Rambo. Don’t get me wrong, he’s the guy you’d want in the fox hole next to you. He’s also the same guy who was described as “slipping up” when he didn’t kill Teasle and all his deputies in First Blood. Rambo is a guy fighting to keep the lid on and when he loses it, he becomes war. And war is brutal and unforgiving.
I’m a huge Stallone fan and that plays into my enjoyment of his movies. I liked Rambo: Last Blood a lot more than I thought I would. As with anyone’s review of anything, your mileage may vary.