Kyle Shaun Thomas
Review - Rambo: Last Blood
The following review contains major spoilers.
Rambo: Last Blood comes across as Sylvester Stallone’s turn into the Taken franchise with more violence and less of an interesting story.
Last Blood opens us to how Rambo is living, secluded from the world on his ranch. Still plagued with PTSD that is now controlled with medication, the only company of which he has, can be considered his housemaid (Adriana Barraza) and his adopted daughter Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal).
From what the trailer set us up for was “an old cowboy’s last time out in the field”, instead we are brought along on a tale of search and rescue when Gabrielle is kidnapped by an underground sex trafficking ring and it’s up to Rambo to save her. However, this soon changes when Rambo fails to save Gabrielle, and once again he becomes a one-man army out for revenge.
For the most part, Last blood is an entertaining, violent, shoot ‘em up with Rambo doing what Rambo does best. Kill. Herein lies where most of the positive moments take place, with the final quarter of the movie being a Rambo’s murderous rampage through countless foot soldiers by various gratuitous means before getting his hands on the man responsible for (spoiler) Gabrielle’s death.
Sadly, this is where the entertainment ends. The rest of the film is left to poorly acted scenes with the support characters being no more than Mexican stereotypes. As is seen early in the film, Gabrielle’s friend Jezel (Fenessa Pineda) is described as someone who’s company shouldn't be sought out.
Once we are finally introduced to this character one of her opening lines is “you still a virgin?” Giving passive-aggressive responses to almost everything Gabrielle says. Another example of a poor supporting character is Carmen Delgado (Paz Vega). Whose sole purpose in the movie is to nurse Rambo back to health after a brutal beat down at the hands of the film’s antagonist, after this, she is seen once more when she alerts the media about Rambo’s kill, at his request.
There are also moments in the film where scenes and montages are repeated, reducing the writing to no more than trying to find a way to fill it’s run time before the final confrontation. One of the first scenes sees Gabrielle argue with Rambo over her birth father’s motives for abandoning her. By the end of the conflict, Gabrielle yields and says she won’t pursue looking for him. The next morning this confrontation plays out once again this time with Maria (Adriana Barraza) being present to tell Gabrielle not to pursue him either.
There' s also two montages that depict Rambo preparing his ranch for battle and his enemies preparing to take him on- it's just repetitive.
By the end of the film, audiences will be left scratching their heads questioning if Rambo has finally bitten the dust. The final voiceover has Rambo talking about defending the people he loves with honour forever, whilst sitting in his rocking chair after taking two shots to the shoulder and midsection. After this, it cuts to credits where audiences are taken through a history of Rambo’s adventures starting at First Blood and ending at Last Blood. His final ambiguous shot can only be seen as no more than an opportunity to continue the franchise should enough time pass, rather than finally moving on and accepting that all good things come to an end.
My final thoughts on the film are another 80’s action star is finally trying to lay their iconic role to rest. If you have enjoyed Rambo’s previous ventures, then Last Blood will satisfy your need for bloody deaths and prolonged action sequences.
Even when the film makes you play the waiting game for these action-packed moments, with each scene essentially acting as a playful wink of "you know what's coming, just you wait" which becomes more frustrating rather than playful very quickly.
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