Rambo: Last Blood aka A Series That Should've Ended 11 Years Ago

John Rambo has been prompted to action once more when his dear niece Gabriel is abducted by the Mexican cartel.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen the previous Rambo movies. I was partly interested in Last Blood because I was intrigued to see Rambo as the ‘rugged and older’ Unforgiven/Logan type.

The direction seemed to be veering back to the subtle First Blood, which intrigued me. Despite a competent performance by Stallone and an ebulliently violent climax, the outcome of Last Blood made me wonder why this series didn’t end with Rambo (2008). This movie is poor, it’s very poor.

The script is so insensible, so stupid and so rudimentary that there’s not the slightest bit of reverence, meat or blood to it. Characters make quaint and sordid decisions – Rambo walking into a huge gang of Mexican criminals trying to retrieve Gabriel without planning was insultingly out of character for him.

There are two plotlines that are hyped up as conducive pieces of the narrative that end up going nowhere. Paz Vega’s supporting role had me under the impression that she was to actively contribute to Rambo’s journey in this, but she doesn’t. This is one of the most lucidly useless supporting characters I’ve seen all year.

The relationship between Rambo and Gabriel doesn’t always work, namely because Stallone and Yvette Monreal don’t have good material to work with and their on-screen dynamic didn’t do much to help either. There are small (but essential) things that bugged me. I don’t like that she refers to him as ‘Uncle John’; it sounds like archaic movie speak written for an eight year old.

There’s a moment where they hug each other, and it’s devoid of passion and weight. I get that Rambo is a scarred war veteran but he clearly loves Gabriel, so there’s no reason why the hug should’ve been awkward.

The problem with Last Blood is that it seems to be in almost a constant state of respite. It’s not until the final twenty minutes where sh*t hits the fan. Up until then, the movie does nothing interesting with its characters, the dialogue is paper thin, the relationships feel unbelievable and contrived, and it has no subtext.

It has nothing to say. The sporadic moments of violence where bones are being pulled out didn’t really work for the feel this movie was going for.

When the movie gets bloody, it’s both hilarious and badass. Sometimes it’s stupid, sometimes it’s cool. At 73-year-old Stallone still has the chops, the physique, and the charisma that prevented the movie from being completely terrible.

But the movie’s emotional scenes feel so rushed and weightless where it’s difficult to care about what’s going on. The lack of levity also makes it harder to care. First Blood had something relevant to say. Last Blood didn’t. Rambo is a human being, this series forgot that.

Written by Seán Mac G.

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