Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Adriana Barraza
Director: Adrian Grunberg
So, in the same weekend where Downton Abbey came out, Rambo: Last Blood decided it would be a great decision to get released as the two movies have almost no overlapping audiences. In a sense the two are almost polar opposites of one another, so it makes sense that this decision was made. As mentioned in a previous review, Downton Abbey is well-made but boring so the polar opposite of that would be a dumpster-fire that’s super entertaining like Rambo: Last Blood. Rambo: Last Blood quickly enters the, “so bad it’s good” territory and shows no sign of letting up. Cartoonishly evil and without a real purpose while at the same time also hilarious, Rambo: Last Blood had no reason to be made, but at the same time its ridiculousness makes me glad it was.
The film continues to follow John Rambo (Stallone), a Vietman-veteran who manages his PTSD by making weapons and fortifying his ranch in Arizona. When Gabriela (Yvette Monreal), the granddaughter of his friend Maria (Barraza), goes to Mexico to find her birth father, she is kidnapped by the cartel which causes Rambo to go down to Mexico and try to get her back. Naturally, the cartel doesn’t take too kindly to Rambo’s actions and make it their mission to kill Rambo resulting in a final battle on Rambo’s ranch. The only saving grace that Rambo: Last Blood has is just how over-the-top the violence and gore is. After five movies and almost 40 years dedicated to this franchise, Rambo finally became the thing he swore to destroy; the Vietcong. Rambo has miles of tunnels underneath his house and naturally he sets brutal traps to harm, maim, and otherwise kill his enemies. What started off as a sensitive franchise about a young man suffering from the effects of war and how his country treated him after his service has slowly devolved into violent nonsense that becomes funny to watch. When you have a film like this where Rambo can make bullets that literally engulf people in flames, you know this movie wasn’t exactly going for realism and was much more focused on how Rambo can the most disgusting kills in franchise history. At a blistering 89 minutes, there’s never enough time to make anything feel important as the movie feels so focused on getting to the next scene that it blows past any sort of plot or character development. Even if you’re only here for the action scenes, there’s only about 15-20 minutes of Rambo at full-force and the rest of it is the usual Stallone mumbling and trying to be sensitive. I like most of the Rambo movies as a guilty pleasure, so I tend to give them a little more slack then some other action movies, but Rambo: Last Blood is a rare combination of a poorly-made movie whose action scenes are so unnecessary that it makes the movie funny. Not the worst action movie of the year, but Rambo: Last Blood is a clear fall from grace and not the way this franchise deserved to go out.
Overall, when your film ends with a franchise montage that includes scenes from the movie you just watched, you know you’re in for a rough time. Rambo: Last Blood only gets a pass because it’s incredibly entertaining, but from a purely filmmaking standpoint you can tell there’s no passion left in this passion. This is the type of sequel that had no reason to exist and that fans of the franchise my find hard to stomach, but Rambo: Last Blood is just entertaining enough to avoid being one of the worst movies of the year and worth a stream if you’re looking for an unintentional action-packed laugh.
Overall Score: 4.5/10