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Rambo: Last Blood Review | Escape to the Movies


So the last like 10 minutes of this are just
nuts – in a good way! An extended, very well put together action sequence wherein John
Rambo lures his enemies into a series of booby trapped tunnels under his farmhouse and just
shreds them into goo with saws and nails and spikes and sawed-off shotguns and machine
guns and tripwire mines and arrows and that friggin’ bowie knife he swings like such
a beast he can just hack dude’s legs or their fuck’n heads off with just one clean hit and it’s gory
and bloody and nasty as hell with a final killing-stroke for the main(ish?) bad guy I mean you got to see to be believe that it’s in a mainstream movie. Ya’ know I mean… strictly in that respect,
for that limited stretch of time? Hats off Sly, ya still got it. …I mean, just imagine how much more people would get out of it if there had been anything
interesting or cool going on in the movie before that? Or if any of those random bad guys getting
killed had like names, or personalities, or identifying characters or any reason for us to give a
shit who they were? Or if the events leading up to them being there had been compelling,
suspenseful or original in any way instead of just a generic taken knock-off goosed up
with some half-hearted Mexican-border xenophobia that can’t even muster the energy to commit
to that base level of thematic coherence? Or if even that brief part had
felt at all meaningfully like a Rambo movie apart from the intermittent Jerry Goldsmith
motif? I mean even at their lowest points, the “classic”
Rambo installments were alternately capable of eliciting cheers or ruffling feathers with
their evergreen controversial mixing of topical scenarios and B-movie ultraviolence; but apart
from a single aerial shot of what I guess we’re calling the (ahem!) “wall” under
construction and the same generically ugly Mexican gangland stereotypes on display in
every other Hollywood action movie like this. It’s not appreciably “worse”
on that front than, say, Man On Fire over a decade ago and (pardon the pun) pales in
comparison to Peppermint last year, so… I guess that’s the world now: John Rambo
– get out “politically-incorrect-ed” by Jennifer freak’n Garner.
Now do you even need to know what the plot is? Do you care? …okay fine. So, we re-join John
Rambo ten years after coming back to a family farm he apparently has in Arizona at the end
of the last movie in 2008, where he’s spent the past decade being a horse-farmer, okay, and surrogate dad, sure, to a now 18 year-old niece after the death of her mother from cancer and abandonment by her deadbeat dad who took off to Mexico. Playing the Dad to said niece being, obviously,
the sole thing keeping Rambo from turning back into… himself all this time; of course
she decides to sneak across the border to Mexico to seek closure from her apparently-resurfaced
“real dad” and gets captured by ruthless cartel sex-traffickers…like immediately – meaning Rambo has to track her down and do his whole “Rambo thing” to get her back. Except… actually, no he doesn’t for some damn reason the film bizarrely decides to act like Rambo is
a regular human guy again for most of it’s runtime (as though anyone who goes to see
“Rambo: Last Blood” is coming in unaware or somehow having forgotten that this dude
all but singlehandedly dismantled battalions of the North Vietnamese, Soviet and Burmese
army in the previous three movies all by himself) so Act 2 draws itself out into this bizarre weak
sauce Taken-a-like where Rambo (despite Stallone being in ridiculous shape and somehow looking
ten years younger at least than he did ten years ago in the last one, I mean say what you want about Stallone dude does take care of himself) he does some light
detective work in Mexico, gets his ass beat by just a bunch of regular henchmen, meets Paz Vega for a completely pointless nothing guest role, does a dumb riff on the hammer thing from Oldboy…
…and then only when things get sufficiently shitty enough plot wise (like he was waiting around for permission or something?) does the switch get flipped and he finally seems like, “Oh yeah, right – I’m Rambo!”
and we get that still meaningless but at least impressively nasty finish. But even then,
it’s not an especially definitive ending despite all the talking that gets done about
how meaningful a growth experience this has been for Rambo.
I mean setting aside the jarring aesthetic shift from wilderness battlefield action of all the other movies to urban Mexico and rural Americana neo-modern Western setting, the idea of reminding the audience
that we typically only see action hero characters like Rambo for a few days or even hours out
of their whole lives and giving us belated context on what else he has going on in
his background has a certain appeal there… but nothing happening in Last Blood feels strongly
informed by the previous films or reverberate back to them any more context. So ultimately this is just another bad late-period franchise entry that doesn’t feel like it
knows why it exists. First Blood got sequels in the first place because Stallone and the
producers had thematic and/or political stuff they wanted to explore (for lack of a better
word) with the character, the fourth one got made because Stallone had just tied the
bow off on Rocky (or so we thought). And while Stallone maybe underappreciated as an actor in many respects,
he’s never been all that good at pretending to give a shit when he doesn’t. 4 out of 10 – most
of that going to the ending… this is a bad, mostly boring, and uneven entry in what is honestly (if we’re being fair with ourselves) a pretty uneven series and this time I really hope we are done.

100 Comments

  1. Sevro Author

    All they needed to do was have Rambo’s daughter be black, and the bad guys are white Supremacists. It would’ve got a stunning 100% on rotten tomato.

    Reply
  2. TheWolverine1987 Author

    The previous movie was perfect ending for the franchise, but Stallone just couldn't live with the fact that he is playing supporting roles now.

    Reply
  3. Michael Beddoe Author

    Mexico is more violent than it has ever been. Its funny that you just assume its xenophobia. I also noticed that you basically copied all the other reviews by sjw's…

    Reply
  4. NSine Author

    Having just watched the movie, I agree with most of your points. The biggest thing I got from it was that there was another half of the movie that got cut regarding PTSD, especially with the line by the singular 'not bad person in mexico' that lights and noises would cause problems due to the concussion and medicine

    Reply
  5. Homero Castellanos Author

    It's not that these 90s action movies were so great, it's that these 90s action movies were normally devoid of interesting plot, just a bunch of mindless action. These dumb film producers cant seem to understand that not everything in the past was great. And to top it all off to use the xenophobic headlines of today just reminds me of the casual racism of the 80s and 90s. No one wants to see action without substance anymore.

    Reply
  6. Collex Author

    It always amazes me how much the Rambo sequels and pop culture perceptions of the character in general miss the point of First Blood. In the original movie, John Rambo is a broken man lashing out against a society that sent him to hell then treated him like shit when he came back. It was a serious look at the legacy of the Vietnam War and the way the country treated the conscripted young men who came back as criminals. First Blood ends with Rambo breaking down and crying, not with an orgy of salvatory violence. It says a lot about American culture that it glorified John Rambo as a musclebound action hero and overlooked his serious mental and emotional issues.

    Reply
  7. Daniel Kunkle Author

    So Rambo kills a bunch of Mexican drug cartel thugs who are (*shock*) Mexican and not what, Norwegian?
    Reviews like this are an endorsement to see the movie.

    Reply
  8. MangelKorn Author

    Movie blob did not like the movie. Well at least he is following suit with the rest of the blue checkmarks.
    Which means I am going to watch Rambo this weekend.

    Reply
  9. Jason Heavensrun Author

    Wait, John Rambo has family? Wasn't it a central plot point of several of the previous films that he didn't have anything or anyone except for his connections in the service? His old CO, his war buddies from Vietnam…We've had four of these things, and those were always the only connections he ever claimed before this, but he had a family farm he could've gone back to that whole time? Why was he constantly at the ass-end of the planet living off of his skills and labor?

    Reply
  10. Justin Mills Author

    There's a fine line between xenophobia and confronting reality. Sure, they aren't all bad, but they aren't all good either. A movie about bad guys from any country is going to have a lot of…….bad guys. Pull your head out of your woke ass Bob.

    Reply
  11. Laughing at Nothing Author

    I was laughing at the movie for the first half due to the bad acting and the racial stereotypes.
    But it was one of the most Brutal endings i have even seen on screen also during which i was laughing in disbelief of how fucking violent it is.
    It was a bad movie but i enjoyed it due a good theater experience. Everybody in the theater was shouting and laughing at the film.

    Reply
  12. TARINunit9 Author

    I'm predicting that adopted daughter is gunna get dragged into whatever deadbeat sequel the executives want to crap out in five years. And I regret adding this second prediction, but bonus points if they force the marketing team to halfheartedly pretend it's an appeal to social justice

    Reply
  13. Horrormaster13 Author

    In my opinion Rambo (2008) was a perfect Ending for the Franchise.
    I honestly don't understand what the hell was Sylvester Stallone thinking?
    Only because it worked really well with Creed 1 and 2 as a continuation to Rocky Balboa doesn't mean it will work for Rambo too.

    Reply
  14. ULGROTHA Author

    All the "Rambo" movies stink; they're entertaining B-movie schlock at best, and disturbing and uncomfortable dreck at worst. Outside of First Blood, this franchise has nothing of poignancy.

    Reply
  15. Young-M Author

    Just remember folks, it’s VIDEO GAMES that are the main cause shootings in America and should be banned. A movie about a guy going apeshit with tons and tons of firearms and sharp objects is fine though.

    Reply
  16. James Henderson Author

    Just saw Rambo . The movie was good. I’m going to see it at least three more times over the next few years. It was worth my money and my time. It left me wanting more. I’ll give it three stars.

    Reply
  17. L0LWTF1337 Author

    My favorite Rambo is still the one where he teams up with the Taliban to battle soviets. That one isn't on TV anymore though. I can't quite figure out why.

    Reply
  18. Wolfblood Gaming Author

    I haven't seen the movie yet, but I felt like critics were exaggerating in certain areas because that has become part of how reviews are now. But if MovieBob says it's bad, then it's fucking bad.

    Reply
  19. 2nd3rd1st Author

    Anyone else on whom the irony is not lost that Rambo took a whole stonking chapter out of the Vietkong playbook in this movie to defend his life and home?

    Reply
  20. Red Thread Author

    Just par for the course for the fuck Mexicans narrative that's omnipresent in our culture. When it comes to Hispanics and Natives, our society has nothing but contempt for the original inhabitants of the new world. The Invaders will never let you forget who your sapose to hate.

    Reply
  21. Matt Beckley Author

    What I find funny movie blob is you take exception to them portraying Mexico as an unsafe place which is accurate but had no problem with Rambo aiding a Pakistani resistance that became al Qaeda plus I hate to tell you my checklist for a good rambo film is does it have guns does it have action does he drop more bodies than Obama did while carpet bombing the middle east check check and mother fuckin check

    Reply
  22. Glen Author

    Just watched it and I loved it. Personally enjoyed it more than the previous one.
    I thought the pacing was good and the story was simple and straight forward. Exactly the way a Rambo movie should be. We didn't have to know the history of the bad guys or their freaking names to make the story any better. Only what they did to deserve what they had coming >:)
    Its AWESOME!

    Reply
  23. Adam Kadir Author

    I saw it a couple nights ago and ultimately enjoyed it, but I spent the first hour and a bit hyping myself up for the final scene. I'm not disappointed in the film. Both Rambo and Stallone are very old men, and Rambo is a very broken man who is also very tired. It would be absurd to expect another First Blood Part II or Rambo 3.

    Plus, the scene where he's going after one of the Martinez brothers in the alleys/homes of Cartel, Mexico is straight up serial killer. He wasn't a soldier there, he was a boogeyman. It was great.

    Reply
  24. theblocksays Author

    Laughing cause I'm picturing him going outside dressed like that all, "Ask me about the MCU, AH GOT SOME THEORIES!"

    I hope Stallone is in GoTG3 more this time, see how he reacts to that in his favorite movie not yet made.

    Reply
  25. Guy Boo Author

    Starting off a review by saying “the following only applies to the last ten minutes” and then lavishing praise is a power move if ever there was one.

    Reply
  26. Elfos64 Author

    The first one wasn't even an action movie, it was about how badly Vietnam war veterans got the short end of the stick when they came home. Only 1 person died. The 2nd one was an action movie but still had a point, that saving refuges can take a backseat to political convenience. Several people died, but not too many- just a couple handfuls. Then every successive film was just about getting the kill count higher and higher. Didn't really matter if there was a point anymore, they just wanted gory action scenes.

    Reply
  27. BeeGeenie Author

    So basically, Rambo should have jumped out of the bushes, put a knife to the producer's throat, and grunted "just let it go"
    First blood, best blood

    Reply
  28. prophetisaiah08 Author

    Well, thanks for this, Bob. I thought that this looked like an overly expensive, poorly concieved Logan knock-off with some hopelessly out of date, but still somewhat recognisable "classic" character tacked on to put butts in seats. Nice to know I was pretty close to the mark. Thanks for saving me a few hours of wasted time; I'll just watch the final fight once someone puts it up on YouTube.

    Reply
  29. Aaron Nicewonger Author

    First Blood is amazing.
    Rambo 2-4 are surprisingly good and far better, and deeper, than anyone gives them credit for.
    Rambo 4 provided a proper ending to his story. Proper thematic closure.
    Rambo 5 is unnecessary and terrible.
    Rambo 5 is this franchise's equivalent to Die Hard 5.
    A garbage sequel sullying the name of a pretty good franchise.

    Reply

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