Rambo: Last Blood Review

Old man is old. Christo Drummkop

It had better be the last

“I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road, I want to ride till’ I can’t no more.” This lyrical opening from Lil Nas X’s smash hit “Old Town Road” (a song used in the film’s teaser) is an apt description for the latest addition to the Rambo franchise. The horse, in a metaphorical sense, would either be Rambo or Sylvester Stallone’s career, the old town road would be the bank (keeping with the metaphor), while the ride would be the draining of every last penny from its cold, hollow corpse. This series, much like the Rambo character himself, is now on the same level as fertilizer. One that feeds the multi-million-dollar corporation that it supplies one essential nutrient at a time.

This film franchise is dead. It passed away 11 years ago with the last one and is now a meat suit for people who are okay with a white protagonist gunning down Mexicans by the dozens, so basically this movie is a Republican’s wet dream. Now, with that being said, (and I realize this is one hell of a backpedal after that comment) Rambo: Last Blood is a jarring picture for me as it does exactly the opposite of what one would expect a Rambo film to do.

In Rambo: Last Blood, there are two different types of movie going on. Whenever it tries to be Sicario (a much better film by the way), it becomes a gritty drama that, weirdly, tackles dark tones (e.g., PTSD, drug use, prostitution) head-on and doesn’t stray away from them, using its R-rating to really paint a picture of how terrible those things are. However, whenever it becomes a Rambo movie, it does things . . . poorly. For example, when it becomes a Rambo movie, it has a scene (spoilers) where Rambo tears the heart out of one of his enemies – like, the fuck? I guess Rambo was taking tips from Millennium Films, the production company that took the heart of this franchise.

The most positive note I can muster about this film is that there are hints of a more interesting movie in Last Blood that would make for a much better Rambo film in the long run. The grittiness makes for the most interesting stuff, which is pretty sad considering this is a film where (spoilers again) a dude gets his heart torn out. But again, if they hammered those positive points home, they’d more or less just be making Sicario for a second time – well, third time technically.

When it all comes down to it, what this film should have been is a curtain call for the character. Much like how Rocky evolved into Creed and how those films are fantastic coming-of-age stories, so too should Rambo: Last Blood have put Sylvester Stallone in a position where they could retire his character with some form of respect. Ending as we began, Rambo: Last Blood should have ridden off on its horse to the old town road, until it couldn’t anymore, cementing the legacy of the characters own battle where he fights until he can’t anymore. Instead, we have to watch 40 minutes of a terrible movie to see 50 minutes of a good one. I’d say it was fun Rambo, but lying’s a sin.

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