Rambo: Last Blood… and a lot of it

ramboposterRambo: Last Blood (2019)
R: strong graphic violence, grisly images, drug use and language | 1h 29min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

Synopsis: Almost four decades after they drew first blood, Sylvester Stallone is back as one of the greatest action heroes of all time, John Rambo. Now, Rambo must confront his past and unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission. A deadly journey of vengeance, RAMBO: LAST BLOOD marks the last chapter of the legendary series.

Review: John Rambo was one of the first true action stars I remember as a kid. I always thought it was cool how he stood up for what was right and thumbed his nose at the law. Now that he is an old man… he is still pretty cool and possibly even more intimidating. Rambo: Last Blood is a fitting tribute to the character that we haven’t seen since 1988. You can argue that there was a 2008 film but I am not going to listen. This film for some reason feels like a better retirement party for the man.

In this one we find John (Sylvester Stallone) trying to squelch the voices in his head as he lives peaceably on a ranch in Arizona with a woman and her teenaged niece, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal). Rambo has watched the young girl grow up and she is like a daughter to him and as the movie progresses you understand that she is a big part of how he has kept his sanity. When Gabrielle gets taken by a ruthless gang Uncle John goes in to full on warrior mode to dish out some bloody vengeance on the attackers.

Say what you will about Stallone these days. Yes he moves and talks a bit slower than he used to but there is no denying that he is still able to utilize his skill set when called upon. At times it is hard to separate Rambo and Rocky. They live by the same code in many ways. They are both guys who will fight for not only their own goals but for those unable to fight for themselves. The striking difference though is when the action starts. I am not sure if Rocky could handle all the blood and violent attacks that Rambo delivers. As mentioned, old or not this dude is intense and few can stand up to him.

The story is straight forward and everything drives the plot to the final showdown. We don’t watch these films for the intellectual dialogue so it is easy to overlook some of the conversations. The meat of each moment still shine through as you get to feel the heart of Rambo and his family and the deep love and respect they have. This helps to understand the extremes that John goes as he savagely brings his type of justice. You feel bad for the guy and also ponder the darkness of mens hearts. A statement that Rambo mentions a few times. I enjoyed watching Stallone navigate his character’s emotions. The John we meet at the beginning of the film grows in intensity until we get the full on rage of Rambo unleashed.

The film is rated R and you wonder why until the 3rd act. Then you are like, holy cow, yeah I get it. This is when, as I mentioned before, you remember Rambo is not Rocky. Not at all. The things he does with a knife… {shudder}. But there is no sympathy for the men on the pointy end of the knife and you might even clap a little. I wasn’t proud to do it but I did it. RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD is what fans of the franchise would hope for and a touching farewell to an iconic Stallone character. This is not a spoiler so don’t read too much into it. Wasn’t sure what to expect but i can say it was worth the 90 minutes I gave up for it. Want to wait for on-demand? No shame in that game either. But for a dose of bloody, vengeful action it is a solid choice in any format.