Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as John Rambo in the lifeless and forgettable sequel “Rambo: Last Blood.” Besides Rocky Balboa, John Rambo has been one of Stallone’s most famous characters.
The first film in the series, “First Blood,” is a really great film that is more of a character study about a Vietnam veteran struggling to readjust to society than an action film. The first two sequels veer the series into the over-the-top action that it’s most known for. The 2008 sequel is a far more gritty war film and seemed like the perfect way to end the series, but we now have “Rambo: Last Blood,” the incredibly unnecessary and supposedly final film for the series.
One of the biggest problems with “Last Blood” is the dull story that has Rambo going up against the Mexican cartel after they kidnap his friends’ granddaughter. The script seems like a poor amalgamation of other popular movies such as “Taken,” “Home Alone” and “Sicario.” There’s nothing in the story that makes it feel like a “Rambo” movie besides the fact that Rambo is in it. It’s just a generic action movie any aging action star like Liam Neeson or Bruce Willis could’ve been in.
There are scenes in “Last Blood” that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. One scene has Rambo walking up to the Mexican cartel by himself with no plan other than asking for the kidnapped girl back. He subsequently gets beaten within an inch of his life. I’m not sure what else Rambo thought would happen; the Mexican cartel isn’t exactly made up of the nicest people on earth.
Stallone’s performance unfortunately doesn’t add much to the film either. Stallone seems to be sleepwalking through the film. Movies like “Rocky” and “Cop Land” have shown that Stallone is capable of giving great performances when he is dedicated. Perhaps Stallone might have known that “Last Blood” wasn’t going to be very good because his performance appeared so uninspired that he himself looked bored the whole time.
Another big problem is the pacing. For a movie that isn’t even 90 minutes long, it feels much longer. The majority of the movie is essentially just setting up the last 20 minutes where Rambo slaughters dozens of nameless cartel members in a gruesome fashion. Even if you’re just looking for mindless action out of this movie, it's really not worth sitting through the tedious first 70 minutes to see the last 20.
The final action set piece is devoid of any sort of tension. Despite that Rambo has to be in his 70s by now he easily dispatches a small army of heavily armed cartel members. There’s so much gratuitous violence but it comes off as cartoonish and over-the-top instead of realistic like some of the earlier Rambo movies. Rambo went from a misunderstood war vet that doesn’t even kill anyone in the first movie to a mass murderer in this film.
Considering what a great job Stallone has done with the character of Rocky with the recent “Creed,” films it’s such a shame that Rambo, one of the most iconic action movie characters, has to end on such a lifeless and incredibly forgettable movie like “Last Blood.” That is until we get the next unnecessary sequel. Die-hard Rambo fans might get a kick out of watching”Last Blood” but anyone else that doesn’t watch it won’t be missing much.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of @rambomovie Instagram.
Edison Escobar is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.