Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Rambo: Last Blood — A Squandered Opportunity

Reel Reviews

“Rambo: Last Blood” is the last adventure for the famous action-hero icon known as John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone). After years of wandering alone, Rambo has finally found a place where he can live outside of the battlefield, with his niece on the peaceful free range of a horse farm. However, when his niece is taken captive by a ruthless cartel in Mexico, Rambo will have to sharpen his hunting knife for one last war.

This is going to be short as I’m afraid this one left me with little to say. What should’ve been a grand sendoff to a classic 38-year-old franchise, just feels like something that was slapped together in under a year. I know there are a lot of people out there who believe the “Rambo” films are just mindless screaming, shooting and violence, but the films have an interesting deeper meaning to them as they delve into the sensitive themes of Man’s Inhumanity to Man, The Horrors of War, among others.

Based off the David Morell book “First Blood,” the first Rambo movie touched upon the poor treatment Vietnam Veterans received upon returning to the U.S., as well as the toll it left on their bodies and minds. The sequel, “Rambo: First Blood Part II,” focused again on the horrors of the Vietnam War, but also on the ludicrous bureaucracy that chose money and politics over the lives of its soldiers. With “Rambo: Last Blood,” it feels like they missed an opportunity to try and show the state of Mexico with the cartels and ruling power. This movie should have been Rambo using his hunting skills in the concrete jungle of Mexico as he hunts down the cartel and punishes them for the atrocities they commit on their people as he searches for his niece—but we didn’t get that.

Instead, a good chunk of the story is eaten up as we focus on his niece. Imagine “Taken” if the film spent 40 minutes focusing on the daughter, then had her kidnapped halfway through the film. If you’re going to have more story then action, then the story has to be something eye-catching and interesting, which “Rambo: Last Blood” isn’t. There’s no subtlety or anything unique—everything’s too on the nose and by the book. I’ll admit that any scene where Rambo is being a tough as nail soldier is great, but the film needed more of it.

“Rambo: Last Blood” is rated R for strong graphic violence, grisly images, drug use and language. There’s little for me to say except this film just made me wish I was watching the original films. It made me miss their complexity and subtlety. Which says a lot given this is a franchise mostly known for a man who fights armies without wearing a shirt. All jokes aside, the final score for this film is a 5.5 out of 10.

Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. He currently serves as a Journalist and Copy Editor to the Coastal Breeze News and is working on becoming a Published Author.

One response to “Rambo: Last Blood — A Squandered Opportunity”

  1. Wallace Lee says:

    I agree with your review, and even more when thinking how deeper was film #4 compared to Last Blood.
    I can’t get out of my mind the idea that producers forced Stallone into doing ‘just another Taken / John Wick’ because of commercial reasons only. Rambo 4 was so much better than that with dialogues: “and then they send a devil (me) to do God’s work”. That fourth film was an outstanding movie. Last Blood is forgettable at best, or disappointing at worst.

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