Quickie Review 1: Rambo: Last Blood

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Parental Warning: If it wasn’t obvious, Rambo: Last Blood is Rated R for violence, drugs, and sexual situations. A lot of the hyper-violence you see in the marketing is in the last 20 minutes, but that’s beside the point. Viewer’s Discretion is Advised. I hope you all like the review!

I decided to change things up a bit, and do quick little reviews in-between the films that I consider to be highly rewatchable. Maybe I'll come back to these films and do full-fledged reviews, but I wanted to do something to liven things up a bit.

The Rambo franchise probably has one of the more confusing lineages of films. The first film wasn't really meant to be the beginning of this huge action franchise, but it happened, and now we have the supposed final film in the franchise with Rambo: Last Blood by director Adrian Grunberg.

 The premise of the film isn’t terrible, albeit unoriginal. The plot has Rambo now living in Arizona as a rancher taking care of an adopted Hispanic teenager, who goes to Mexico to find her real father. She ends up getting kidnapped by a Mexican cartel, and he has to go save her. Too bad the entire first 70 minutes of the film are filled with fairly generic plot points with characters introduced that you will never see again by the end of the film, and is pretty much like Stallone's version of Taken, but with Rambo. That should be cool, but the writing drags the experience down, along with the boring villains. If this is supposed to be Rambo's last hurrah, why not have it personally connect to his character? It's just another boilerplate cartel gang. It’s not even as pandering as last year’s Death Wish or Sicario: Day of the Soldado, they are more like a cartel you see in CSI or NCIS. I was sitting there waiting for something to be interesting, and you get a tiny bit of action when Stallone finds the girl, but it almost doesn't matter, due to how dull everything up to that point is.

 

It's not boring like Red Sparrow, but more in the vein of 2018's Proud Mary, where you get a taste of what makes the franchise great, but not much else until you hit the last 20 minutes. Even after the entertaining action sequence of Rambo fighting off the cartel, the film tries to end on a deep note for the franchise. I think I would have personally been mad if the final film in my franchise was this slap-dash dullfest. Like, at least the Taken films stayed cohesive and connected. Last Blood even tries to end on a montage of the franchise as this consistent poetic beauty of cinema, and that's not even the case.

 

Still, Stallone himself has the acting chops to pull you through the grimy streets of Mexico and back to the dry Arizona desert, but you can tell how little he is invested in this film compared to Creed II. The only reason to go see this film is for the last 20 or so minutes of action. It's truly a fun romp as the violence and gore are so over-the-top that it almost feels like it should belong in the John Wick films. It's the best part of the film by miles. If you want some intense action and gore, you will find it in this film.

 

I want to be angrier about this not being a great film, but I honestly can't. Don't get me wrong, I did not like this, but it's so boring, and there are other action films from 2019 that are way more obnoxious than Rambo: Last Blood. I don't think it's the worst film of 2019, nor do I think it's as bad as a lot of people are making it out to be, but there are so many other action movies to watch that are captain obvious levels of better. You could easily watch the John Wick series, The Equalizer films, Upgrade, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the previous films in the Rambo franchise and even the parody film Hot Shots Part Deux, and get a more consistent experience than this film. If you couldn't tell by my review or the fact that no one is talking about this film, that this is a film I will not be playing again.