10 years after killing over 100 people, and even longer after killing even more, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has finally settled down and is now raising horses on a farm in Arizona. He’s living with a friend, Maria (Adriana Barraza) and her granddaughter, Gabriela (Yvette Monreal). Rambo’s a surrogate father for Gabriela, but she still wants to know what happened with her biological dad. When he’s located, she goes to Mexico to find him, gets kidnapped, and now it’s up to Rambo to track her down. And if this sounds like a Taken movie, well, that’s because it very much feels like a Taken movie.
You may remember Rambo has a killing machine, and that’s eventually what we get from Rambo: Last Blood. It just takes the vast majority of its running time to get him to that point. The idea here is that he’s tried to move past that side of him and moved on with his life, only to be brought back into the fold due to the kidnapping. But the screenplay isn’t interested enough in him as a character to follow through on this. We just get to watch Rambo do a bad detective job before eventually turning on Rambo Mode™ and doing what we’re all here to see him do.
That part of the movie, the climax, the last 15 minutes—it’s quite something, guys. Remember how violent the previous movies were? Yeah, it’s like that. You likely won’t be emotionally invested in anything that’s going on, since Rambo isn’t much of a character and the baddies he’s killing are even less so, but the staging and the execution of the action itself is top-notch. Put that in a movie where the previous 75 minutes weren’t drearily dull and you’ve got something worth checking out.
Rambo: Last Blood can’t even commit to having anything substantial to say about, well, anything. The previous movies were always about something, like various wars, and this one feels like it wanted to be about the border and America’s relationship with Mexico … but it’s largely apathetic toward it all. If it falls on one side, it does so with stereotypical depictions of certain individuals and its attitude toward them, but that feels more like laziness than malice. Or maybe it’s just so par-for-the-course with these things that it’s turned me apathetic.
Sylvester Stallone proves here that he can still carry action scenes. He’s almost never been able to carry drama, however, and with so much of the film trying to rely on him doing just that, we’ve got ourselves a problem. He can’t elevate a weak, choppy, uninteresting script, and might even drag what little it had going for it down. The other acting is mediocre at best, but since nobody has anything one could even generously described as a strong character, it’s not like they had much to work with.
Here’s what it comes down to: Do you want to see Sylvester Stallone do a Taken knock-off that ends like a gore-fest version of Home Alone? Hold on, that’s making it sound good. Ahem. Do you want to see a boring version of that? Then you’ll want to check out Rambo: Last Blood, which, much like the other middling Rambo films, had a lot of potential and wasted it doing stuff we don’t care about.
Conclusion: Rambo: Last Blood is a boring movie with a great climax.
Recommendation: If you’ve seen the others, Rambo: Last Blood might be worth seeing just to complete what is hopefully the end of the franchise.
- Rating - 4/104/10