The first movie I ever reviewed here on the blog was the fourth installment in the Rambo franchise simply known as Rambo (2008). I’m back today 12 years later with the latest (last?) installment in the franchise: Rambo: Last Blood (2019).
My brother had seen this movie recently and raved about it. We traded a few texts about it with his last describing it “cinematic gold”. While that may be a tad bit of a stretch I have to say this was a really, REALLY good flick.
A passage from my last Rambo review is completely relevant to this movie as well:
For an action movie this was pretty damn good. It was ultra violent even by Rambo standards (which if you remember the first couple in the series is saying quite a bit.) Big explosions, TONS of blood and gore and some great kills.
To say this movie is violent is an understatement of epic proportions. I’m not going to do what I’d consider a full plot review for a couple of reasons. First, it’s real easy to find plot summaries on the web that are far more accurate than what I could come up with after watching the film once. Secondly, there’s really not a ton going on here plot wise. It’s ‘thin’ and that’s being generous. That said, we’re going to head into spoiler territory from here on out…
Still here? OK, here goes…
Rambo: Last Blood Thoughts
Apparently John has a niece, Gabrielle, who looks at him as a father figure. She goes to Mexico in search of her estranged father and immediately finds herself sold into sex slavery. Naturally John goes to get her back. In a nice twist he doesn’t just waltz in and start killing people… he actually gets his ass handed to him and unequivocally loses the first encounter. When his niece dies (something that really sort of surprised me but in retrospect shouldn’t have) he’s got all the motivation he needs to go on his last rampage – REVENGE.
From here it sort of devolves into a gore fest taking the best parts from Saw, Home Alone and previous Rambo entries. And yes… I’m serious about those two specific movie references. Rambo sets ‘traps’ here that would make Jigsaw proud and he sets up a house of horrors that Kevin McCallister could only dream of. Sure it’s super contrived and over to the top but I found myself enthralled and totally enjoying it for the short 89 minute run time.
We’ve got to talk for a moment about Sylvester Stallone. Just LOOK at this dude. Spoiler alert – he’s 73 years old. Sure he was a few years younger when he was filming here but that still puts him over the 70 mark. I’m not sure what sort of ‘supplements’ he’s on but dammit do they work.
I’ve seen a lot of critical review of Rambo: Last Blood. At this point I have about zero respect for the ‘critics’ at sites like Rotten Tomatoes cause quite frankly I nearly never agree with them.
- I’ve heard that this film is too violent. Yep. It’s hyper violent. Rambo straight up rips a guy’s beating heart out of his chest.
- I’ve heard it’s racist. Not sure I’d go that far but it’s fair to say the Mexico isn’t painted in the best light.
- I’ve heard it’s got a weak script. No argument there.
All of that being said I had a great time with this. I’m a big fan of the Rambo character and now four out of five of the films in the franchise (that third one was just hot garbage). It’s a long way away from that original First Blood flick but when you stand back and think about it you can see how a Vietnam Vet could turn into what we see in this film so perhaps it’s not too much of a departure.
Will this be the last Rambo flick? Who knows. It had a budget of $50 million and made $91.5 million. In today’s day and age where every release seems to be a sequel, prequel or reboot I’d be hard pressed to every say it’s the ‘last’ of anything…. especially when it’s turning a profit. I will say that John Rambo quite literally ‘rides off into the sunset’ so perhaps we have seen the last of him. If this was his swan song it was a great way to go out.