It’s been 11 long years since the last Rambo film, which I thought concluded the saga of Rambo pretty well. But this is Stallone we’re talking about here, if there’s a chance to make another sequel, obviously he’ll do it. There isn’t a movie he’s been in he wouldn’t eventually do a sequel to. Well, maybe not for Over the Top, his arm wrestling film. But everything else he’d jump at a chance to cash in on a sequel, good or bad. Case and point the awful Escape Plan sequels.
In Last Blood, a play on the first film’s title First Blood, Rambo returns, but this time has branched out and started killing Mexicans instead of just Asians.
I jest, however I do see how this can be seen as problematic in the climate we find ourselves in these days. No longer can you just enjoy a mindless action film without someone getting “triggered” by something.
I don’t remember much outrage about all the Asians John Wick killed in his last movie…. Maybe Asians are just more acceptable as cannon fodder for our white heroes to slaughter.
Last Blood does try to depict the people Rambo is killing as evil as possible, but I don’t know if the film did a good enough job separating the fact these men are evil because they are Mexican cartel members and not just because they are Mexican. I guess technically they are sex traders, but I just assumed they were part of the cartel.
Things start off a bit rocky (no pun intended) once we get our first scene in Mexico, depicting it like a bombed out village in Iraq. Complete with gun toting thugs walking around freely in the streets, like this is El Rey, the fictional town in Mexico Robert Rodriguez made up (or Tarantino) in From Dusk till Dawn.
As any lover of 80’s action films, obviously I’m a fan of First Blood and the Rambo sequels. And even some of the ripoff films that followed it. It’s a great concept really. A lone soldier up against impossible odds, using Mother Nature as deadly weapons… it’s almost impossible to make that scenario boring.
Hell, that’s half of Chuck Norris’ best filmography.
But what set First Blood apart even from its own sequels was the character side of things. Rambo is a deeply damaged man with PTSD to the max, something the first film delved deep into, but the later sequels mostly forgot or were replaced with with more action sequences, until it has morphed into what it is today.
I’m not sure the fact Rambo is killing only minorities has ever been a topic for discussion before. We used to just look at it like, these are bad people, and we are okay with him slaughtering these bad people. Race never really played into it. Bad guys are bad guys. If we start to bring race into it, who can our hero kill in our action movies now?
Has political correctness gone too far and is Rambo Last Blood the solution for it?
Maybe not the solution but most likely the by-product. Like asshats that add extra exhaust pipes on their trucks just so they can give the middle finger to anyone telling them it’s bad for the environment.
Maybe I’m giving the makers of Last Blood too much credit. It’s possible we are all reading way too much into it. Maybe they just wanted to make a mindless gory action film, leaving all subtlety behind. If that’s the case, they succeeded.
Honestly, all I wanted out of this film was a dumb action movie with Rambo as he kills bad guys. And you know what, that’s exactly what they delivered to me.
Sometimes I just want to watch a film like this, sometimes you NEED a film like this. Not to sound too much like Denis Leary from Demolition Man, but sometimes I just want to have a Kraken and Coke in one hand and a fucking messy greasy ass cheeseburger in the other while I enjoy some toxic male masculinity.
Again, if you tell people their trucks are bad for the environment, assholes are just going to add more exhaust pipes.
Yes, I unapologetically loved this movie. I loved it for all the wrong reasons, ignoring everything that is blatantly wrong with it. This is by no means a perfect film. It might not even be a good film. And compared to the previous films in the franchise, this could possibly be the worst one, even rivaling the 3rd movie, which everyone hates.
If you think about it, this film franchise has been a long journey to one man’s cosmic fuck you of a tragic life. Every glimmer of hope in this man’s whole existence has led to nothing but misery and isolation.
There’s a part in the film where he is having a heart to heart with this daughter figure character, where he talks about the regret he has for wishing to be a soldier. It’s a great moment and a window into this terribly broken man who is one car backfire away from going on another rampage.
In the last film, it looked like maybe things were looking up for Rambo. He finally came to terms with the things he has done in his past, ready to come back home and be a part of society once again.
Even if it’s funny to see how bulky he got compared to his old lean self. Like damn, Rambo, you got swoll in the jungle, bro.
Anyway, his now 60 year old bulky body aside, maybe the franchise should have ended there with Rambo 4. This is Rambo after all, the man destined to be forever tormented, this was about as happy of an ending this man could possibly hope for.
I for one was hoping things wouldn’t turn out so bad for him this time around, but Last Blood seems to relish in his misery, destroying even this small amount of happiness he’s managed to chisel for himself.
Last Blood felt less like a Rambo film and more like another entry into the Death Wish franchise. There are only so many wives, daughters and love interests Charles Bronson can have raped and murdered before it starts to become a daily routine, desensitized by the whole thing. At some point, maybe you should do what Rambo did and just live in a maze of tunnels under your farmhouse instead of interacting with other people.
As that always seems to be Rambo’s downfall. Other people.
I’m slightly unclear with the relationship he has with the soon to be deceased teen in this film. I believe she’s just the granddaughter of Rambo’s maid. Regardless, they have basically become his surrogate family.
Gabriela has just turned 18 and is headed off to college soon, but before she leaves, she wants desperately to find her father. It’s been 11 years, so there’s some drama we haven’t been privy to.
Gabriela’s mother died years ago of cancer, but before then was married to an abusive lowlife, who Rambo had to run off. Apparently Gabriela is aware of none of this, since she still desperately wishes to find this asshole.
Gabriela has a friend in Mexico named Gizelle who helped find him for her.
Ignoring all of her grandmother and Rambo’s pleads to forget about this man, Gabriela heads to Mexico anyways.
Gizelle takes Gabriela to see her deadbeat father, only to be even more devastated by him when he tells her he left because he hated both her and her dying mother.
I’m really shocked Rambo didn’t shove his giant ass knife into him by the end, but his character is mostly forgotten about after using him as a pretense to get Gabriela to Mexico.
Not happy with how things went, Gizelle takes Gabriela to a nightclub where she is instantly drugged and kidnapped, taken to be used as a prostitute.
Not hearing from Gabriela, her grandmother starts to worry. Rambo grabs his army jacket and one of his large ass knives and heads off to Mexico to track her down.
His first stop is with Gabriela’s deadbeat dad, which leads nowhere. Next on the list, Gizelle. She vehemently denies knowing what happened to Gabriela, but she fucked up, as Rambo catches her wearing a bracelet belonging to Gabriela’s mother, something Gabriela would never willingly part with.
Rambo forces Gizelle to lead him to the man responsible for taking her. She takes him to the nightclub and points out the slime ball who drugged and kidnapped Gabriela.
If you’re thinking this is starting to sound a lot like the plot to a Taken movie, you aren’t wrong. This might as well be an unproduced script for another Taken sequel that Liam Neeson turned down, so the whole thing was repurposed to be a Rambo movie.
Rambo uses some aggressive interrogation to get the man talking, breaking and pulling out his collarbone. A technique I’m not sure I’ve ever seen used before.
Either way, it gets him talking, leading him to the main hideout all the cartel gangsters hang out at. Following Rambo from the bar is Carmen, she’s a journalist looking into the ones spearheading this whole prostitution sex slave trade ring.
She spots Rambo and follows him.
Rambo walks into a trap, as the whole block is on alert, slowly surrounding him, trapping him in with no way out.
They deliver a beat down but let him live, as they want to make him suffer knowing they’ll now be even harsher to Gabriela, putting her through even more hell.
They take Rambo’s ID and leave him with a carving on his face, promising to do the same to Gabriela later.
Carmen quickly gets him to safety where he gets his wounds treated. Unfortunately, he has been unconscious for several days, leaving Gabriela to fall victim to being raped and drugged up for almost a week.
Now that I think about it, Liam Neeson didn’t find his daughter in time either.
Carmen knows which brothel they’re keeping the girls, so Rambo grabs a hammer and starts bashing in some heads and a few balls. It’s how the scene in You Were Never Really Here should have played out instead of cutting away or getting glimpses of the carnage off camera, here we see the whole bloody affair and it’s just the first taste of what’s to come.
Rambo beats everyone to death, freeing the girls but they are too frightened to leave. He does find Gabriela but she’s close to death.
Rambo drives her back home but unfortunately she doesn’t survive the trip.
They do have kind of a weird message where Rambo comes to the border and easily runs his truck through the fence, almost advocating for a wall. But then later they contradict that message by showing how the cartel can easily bypass the wall altogether by using an underground tunnel. Get your messaging right, guys. Are you saying we need a wall, or are you saying walls are pointless?
Anyway, now that Gabriela is dead, Rambo has gone off to turn his underground bunker into an underground maze of booby-traps and death.
He plans to coax the cartel into coming after him, to do that he needs to go back to Mexico and slaughter a few more of their ranks.
The two in charge of the sex trade are the Martinez brothers.
Rambo tracks down Victor Martinez and cuts his head off, leaving a message for his brother Hugo.
Now it is all-out war, as Hugo takes an army to Rambo’s ranch to only fall victim to the Home Alone style traps throughout the farm. I liked that this takes place during the day. Usually something like this is a night raid, like what we saw in the climax for Hobbs & Shaw.
Rambo leads them all into his underground tunnels where he picks them off one by one, two by two, leaving only Hugo alive.
Rambo finishes things off with his good ol’ bow and arrow, vowing to rip out Hugo’s heart, the same done to him when Gabriela died. Being a man of his word, Rambo cuts him open and pulls out his still beating heart and shows it to him.
During this little excursion, Rambo was shot a few times, taking a bullet to the gut and shoulder. As he seems like this is his last hurrah, we get a shot of him riding off into the sunset on horseback, vowing to live on and I guess be more miserable.
So clearly this isn’t the last film. Or should I say, the Last Blood.
It’s weird this was the story they went with. There’s so much they could have done to make it feel more like a Rambo film. Go back to basics, have Gabriela get killed by a dirty cop and Rambo is once again back to fighting the police. Do anything that isn’t a Taken film. I like Taken but it isn’t Rambo.
It felt a lot like that film Blood Father with Mel Gibson, a movie I also really enjoyed. But Rambo has a very distinct premise, one man army against impossible odds, using what he has at his disposal to survive. We kind of get that at the end with his underground maze, but… if I remember my history right, the US didn’t make underground tunnels in Vietnam, the Vietcong did. I’m not really sure I understood his compulsion to build this in the first place. Unless they are saying his job was to go into these underground tunnels back in the day and smoke them out.
Very little is known about Rambo, just that he was in Vietnam.
The action in this, much like Rambo 4 is brutal as hell. Rambo still uses that giant Bowie knife, so when he wields it, it’s total carnage. Limbs get hacked off, heads get chopped off, faces get torn in half, shit gets nasty fast.
This film does not pull its punches when it comes to the gore, that’s for sure.
If you’re like me and that’s really the only thing you came to see, the film won’t disappoint. For that, I give the film a SEE IT.
Next time, HORROR MONTH officially kicks off!
I’m not sure what the plan is aside from watch a ton of new horror movies. So stay tuned, we got 3 From Hell, Joker and a whole lot more headed your way for next month. Might put together a top 10 list for horror movies worth checking out this Halloween and maybe a few more surprises I’ll toss at you along the way, who knows.
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