Rambo: Last Blood review
In the past, I've talked about Stallone and his most iconic character, Rocky Balboa. But I haven't had a chance to talk about his second most popular character, John Rambo. To start with, there's a large difference in character. Rocky is an upbeat, optimistic boxer who only wants to help others, even putting them over himself. Rambo is the opposite monster. Rambo is an expert super solider whose trained in gruella warfare and survival. At that cost, his humanity is consistently lingering and has a hard time finding peace. Unlike Rocky who only fights in the boxing ring, Rambo is unafraid to knife anyone in his way or use a machine gun to blow an entire army.
Because of their violent nature, the Rambo series has always been polarizing. I only consider the first one, First Blood, to be a phenomenal story from beginning to end. Rambo: First Blood Part II and beyond have made him in the "one-man army" that's often the subject when parodying 1980's action heroes. The other movies are still entertaining if I want my fair share of explosions and even a little history lesson depending on the enemy he's fighting. Rambo is back for another battle in Rambo: Last Blood.
Things have been going well for John Rambo (played by Sylvester Stallone). After finally returning to America in the last movie, he has taken over his late father's horse ranch in Arizona, along with a friend Maria (played by Adriana Barraza) and her granddaughter Gabriela (played by Yvette Monreal). Ever since her mother had died and her father abandoning her, Rambo has stepped into the father role as he's found new purpose in raising her. Though she's about to go to college, she still wonders about her father.
Through a friend, she manages to locate him in a town in Mexico. When she asks to go, Rambo and her grandmother say no as her going by herself would be too dangerous. She still does and does pay her father a visit. Not only is she dismayed to find he still wants nothing to do with her, but when out clubbing with a friend, she is kidnapped and drugged by a Mexican cartel. When Rambo receives word, he immediately drives down to search for her. He discovers through journalist Carman (played by Paz Vega) that the cartel is run by the Martinez brothers. Will Rambo go into solider mode at age seventy-three? You better believe it.
Rambo: Last Blood is the kind of movie I expect to watch in the late summer; a short but entertaining run-and-gun action movie with a star that proves he still packs that punch. It's also the kind of film I'd expect such a character to be in. Is it as good as the older movies? Well… the movie has a lot of opportunities that could be explored with John Rambo but don't. It depends on what kind of movie you'd expect.
To begin with, Stallone may be getting up there in age, but he still has the energy from years before to pull off a lot of action stunts that people in their seventies wished they could do. But the movie does make itself aware he's a different Rambo; a Rambo in which he's settled down for a while and only wants peace. Of course he's still sharpening his knives and digging tunnels, but he now seems like the guy who will only pull the trigger when pushed far enough.
Story wise, Rambo: First Blood is both at an advantage and a disadvantage. I do like seeing Rambo take on a Mexican cartel (any reports of the story being racist or offensive to Mexicans is untrue) and rescuing someone whose become like a daughter. The problem is that a lot that happens in the first hour doesn't feel like a Rambo movie. Much of the dialogue makes him a tad generic and could have been filled in by a random character. It honestly doesn't make him in Rambo until the last twenty minutes, which I won't spoil, but it was a lot of fun. It's also hard to complain as the movie is also the shortest of the Rambo movies (it's only eighty minutes).
I'll give this three and a half Rambo knives out of five. Though it's not as good as the original, I would rank it higher then Rambo III (which I consider the goofiest). Whether this is for you depends on your opinion of the other Rambo movies. It was a short but enjoyable blast. You just have to wait through a more typical story to get to the good stuff.