Rambo: Last Blood – Five Things We Learned
When Sylvester Stallone last stepped into the role of John Rambo in 2008, it had already been 20 years since the gnarly Vietnam veteran's last appearance on the big screen and while talk of a sequel was almost instantaneous, plans for a fifth movie in the franchise soon seemed to stall and fizzle out. With the passing of a decade since, it had begun to look as though 2008's Rambo, directed by Stallone himself, may have to serve as the final chapter in the story of a character whose time, much-loved as he was, had been and gone.
As it turns out, you just can't keep a retired army veteran down. Stallone once again donned the proverbial headband (not literally though, sadly) and returned to the big screen in 2019 for Rambo: Last Blood, where the embattled John Rambo once again finds himself to be a magnet for armed conflict.
Rambo's unlikely return comes by way of a run-in with a Mexican cartel, prompted by his step-daughter's trip south across the border to find her real father. When she doesn't return, the ageing Rambo finds himself being reluctantly dragged from his peaceful life on a horse farm in Arizona and into a full-blown war with some of Mexico's deadliest criminals. Naturally, this is all going to end in a hail of bullets and a lot of things getting blown up.
Get The Gringo director Adrian Grunberg takes the reins on the new film, which also features key roles for Paz Vega, Óscar Jaenada, Yvette Monreal, Sergio Peris-Mencheta and Adriana Barraza.
With Rambo: Last Blood in stores this week we strapped ourselves in for 90-plus minutes of carnage and picked out five key points about the final chapter in the Rambo saga...
(Warning: May contain spoilers...)
Stallone has still got those action-hero chops
Barring their choice of headgear, there isn't much to separate two of Stallone's most iconic roles these days and the ageing, battle-scarred Rocky Balboa of the Creed movies isn't all that different from the ageing, battle-scarred version of John Rambo we find here. But credit where it's due: when it comes to action, Stallone has got way more left in the tank than any 73-year old has any right to, and there are few actors that can pull off 'man-carrying-lifetime-of-unimaginable-pain' with as much enduring realism.
The film really hangs on its talented cast
Pretty much the entire film feels like it's geared towards setting up the final, explosive act and that doesn't leave much room for character depth, but there are still some impressive performances here, particularly from the likes of Paz Vega in the role of reporter Carmen Delgado and the pairing of Jaenada and Peris-Mencheta as the unhinged Martinez brothers. Yvette Monreal is the real hidden gem here, though, providing some emotional heft where it's badly needed.
The climactic final scene is quite the showdown
Somewhat surprisingly, much of the film isn't quite as action-packed as you might expect. Violent, for sure, but not exactly what you would describe as high-octane. Don't worry though, because if it's fire and bloodshed you're looking for then the final stand-off at Rambo's Arizona ranch absolutely delivers the goods. If Home Alone's Kevin McCallister had been a grizzled army veteran with a burning desire for revenge instead of an eight-year old boy, this is what it might have looked like.
It's not for the faint-hearted
When the action does arrive, it's pretty gruesome stuff. From severed heads to bodies impaled on spikes, there's a full spectrum of violent excess on offer here, but the film's final addition to its enormous body count is, quite literally, the most heart-stopping of the lot.
This time, it's definitely the end
If you were in any doubt as to whether a sixth Rambo movie might be on the cards at some point, the montage of Rambo's finest moments which plays out over the end credits certainly seems to signify otherwise. If it feels a bit like the 'In Memoriam' section at the Oscars, that's probably because it's designed to convey one message: John Rambo has fought his last fight. And what a fight it is.
Rambo: Last Blood is available in hmv stores now - you can also find it here in our online store.