Rambo: Last Blood

Rambo: Last Blood – 4/10


When someone asks me who the best movie action hero is there is only one correct answer – John Rambo. Sylvester Stallone’s headband wearing knife wielding hero epitomised the 80s action genre and would leave a legacy for many to follow.

The character of Rambo is one of the most complexed character’s in movie history. Over the course of the movie franchise we see first hand the trauma that the war veteran faces as he is cursed with the memories of the Vietnam War and is left to try and move on with nothing but anger and regret.

First Blood was released in 1982 and that followed with Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1985, Rambo III in 1988 and Rambo in 2008. The fourth instalment brought the franchise full circle and with a lot of soul, gave it a truly fitting end. An end that could not be topped and anything that tried to would only damage this perfect ending.

So of course they would go and release another Rambo movie that we didn’t need and as predicted leave us with disappointment.

The fifth film with the sub title Last Blood picks up eleven years after the events of it’s predecessor where Rambo, now with short hair, is living on his father’s ranch with his niece Gabrielle and a family friend Maria, I had to look her name up as at no point in the movie do I recall her name ever being revealed.

Right from the beginning I could sense that this wasn’t going to resemble any of the previous movies, in fact it didn’t feel like I was watching a Rambo movie (apart from the bloody violence).

The plot centres around Gabrielle going to Mexico to find her father who had walked out on her and her mother before her mother died and whilst she is there she is kidnapped and drugged by a Mexican drug cartel. This sends Rambo on a mission to rescue his niece and he finds out she is being held prisoner by Victor and Hugo Martinez, two brothers and leaders of the cartel. Rambo goes to the location and receives a brutal beating from the cartel who then vow to inflict more punishment on Gabrielle due to Rambo getting involved.

A mysterious woman named Carmen takes Rambo to her house where she cares for his wounds (most notably a “V” slashed on his cheek by Victor who does the same to Gabrielle). As Rambo heals, the cartel drug and abuse Gabrielle more until a fully healed Rambo ambushes the brothel, killing a few men and finding Gabrielle who then dies shortly after from an overdose.

An enraged Rambo then goes on a path for revenge in which he decapitates Victor before returning home to set various traps around his ranch as he prepares for the rest of the cartel to arrive in retaliation.

The final fight sequence at the end is straight out of Home Alone albeit replacing Christmas bobble traps with large metal spikes.

Rambo starts to stalk and kill the cartel one by one, using a mixture of weapons and traps in the tunnels he has dug at the ranch. Leaving Hugo til the end of his killing spree, Rambo uses his knife to rip out the brother’s heart before going to sit on the front porch of his house, nursing his battle wounds. The film concludes with Rambo rocking on the chair looking over the ranch, vowing to carry on the memories of everyone he has loved and lost.

At a ridiculously short run time of 89 minutes, the latest movie disappoints on all levels and doesn’t at any minute feel like it’ a Rambo movie. We get our usual amount of gory action scenes and see Rambo butchering people with his knife but other than that there’s no real resemblance to the Rambo we have seen in the previous four films. Take Rambo from the previous movie, he is clearly on edge, doesn’t talk much, is still built with anger and rage but is willing to do good. The Rambo from Last Blood at times has more resemblance to Rocky Balboa than he does with John Rambo, especially within the first 15 minutes or so of the movie where he shows no signs of the man he was before. With the exception of the violence, the only sign we get of his former self is when he tells Gabrielle at the beginning of the movie that he hasn’t changed and that he tries to “keep a lid on it every day” hinting that he still is as dark inside as he always has been.

There’s no real explanation as to what’s actually happened since the events of Rambo nor is there any heart or soul, which were two of the reasons why the last one was such a gem of a movie.

As the credits rolled I immediately had this in the lead for the worst film I’ve seen this year. Let’s also mention the fact that they show clips from the rest of the movies during the credits almost as a way to tease you as you sit there thinking about what good Rambo movies look like.

As mentioned above, it’s a sequel that wasn’t needed. Of course when it was first announced we all got excited thinking about seeing the red headband and knife out in action again but what we actually got was far different. We get a weaker and more fragile Rambo who doesn’t resemble the original action hero who paved the way for generation of action men. I’ll continue to view Rambo as the definite ending to the franchise, Last Blood on the other hand is a cheap and predictable movie that bears no resemblance to the previous movies and in turn shows no emotion or character which is what made the other movies so great.

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