Rambo: Last Blood Review by Tim Nasson

September 18, 2019

It has been thirty-seven years since Sylvester Stallone’s first Rambo film, First Blood, exploded onto the big screen.

Since then, not only has Rambo (and Stallone) aged, he has gotten more creative when it comes to killing his enemies. When the series began in 1982, Stallone was 36. He is 73 today.

Rambo: Last Blood, the fifth, and doubtfully the last, in the franchise, starts out on a farm in southern Arizona, with John Rambo in his bathroom popping some pills. We find out he is a horse lover. He is training one of his horses to do ‘circles.’ He is living with his niece and her grandmother (an old Mexican lady).

The fast pace and predictability of Last Blood is an asset to the film. Very early on, we know that Rambo’s teenage niece, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), is in danger. She is hellbent on finding her Mexican father who abandoned her and her mother (who died of cancer). Against both her grandmother’s and Rambo’s orders, the rebellious brat decides to drive to Mexico, where her father lives to confront him. Before deciding to disobey, Gabrielle shouts at Rambo, “You can’t protect me forever.”

Gabrielle’s “friend,” Gizelle (Finessa Pineda), is responsible for this. You know the old saying, be careful what you wish for. As soon as Gabrielle’s father literally tells her to F-off and never come back, her friend Gizelle drags her to a nightclub. Unbeknownst to Gabrielle, Gizelle has sold her out to human sex slave gangsters. For some reason, the mentally impaired Gizelle actually calls Rambo’s house and tells Gabrielle’s grandmother that she had snuck off to Mexico to see her father and went missing.

From here, the movie takes a turn from being a search and rescue type of film, to a revenge film. It is more like Taken than any previous Rambo film. But that is not a bad thing.

When Rambo finds the creatures responsible for turning his niece into a sex slave, they beat him to a pulp. But, like any good movie where the bad guys have brains smaller than a fly’s, they leave him alive.

This is when Carmen Delgado (Paz Vega, who is a dead ringer for Timothee Chalamet in this role) steps in to literally save Rambo. She is an “independent journalist,” whose sister was sold into slavery and killed by the same monsters who kidnapped Gabrielle.

Rambo ends up rescuing his niece. But it is too late. On the drive back to the farm in Arizona, she dies in his arms.

Now there is no stopping Rambo. The final act is a Bugs Bunny episode on steroids.

Rambo sends grandma off to her sister’s house. In anticipation that the gang of sex slave criminals will come to him, Rambo booby-traps a tunnel under the farm, (much like Macauley Culkin’s Kevin did to his house in Home Alone, while waiting for his tormentors), and a lot of the land the farm is on.

The US border patrol doesn’t exist in this movie. A caravan of evil Mexicans arrive at the farm. Not before half of the caravan is blown up. Anyone who survives probably wished they had died in the first wave of explosions.

There are stabbings, decapitations, arrows piercing bodies, bodies being blown to bits from grenades, spears going through skulls, collar bones being broken and hearts being ripped out.

Rambo: Last Blood isn’t Oscar bait. But it is a great throwback to 80s action films and the best popcorn film of the year. And while Sylvester Stallone is aging, he never gets old.

Make sure you stay until the end credits are over. Right after Rambo kills the last bad guy, he retires to his rocking chair on his front porch. However, the next 5 minutes are a welcomed montage of clips from 1982’s First Blood, 1985’s First Blood: Part 2, 1988’s Rambo III, 2008’s Rambo to Rambo: Last Blood.

Rambo: Last Blood Review by Tim Nasson