Rambo: Last Blood (2019) Review

Another Rambo movie? Looks like Sylvester Stallone has a tough time letting go of the past. It seems to me that he’ll keep milking the franchise while he still fit enough to do so. Over a decade ago — 11 years, to be exact — his self-titled fourth Rambo movie back in 2008 was supposed to be the final chapter in the franchise. That movie even ended perfectly with Rambo finally returning to his hometown in Bowie, Arizona.

And yet, here we are. Appropriately titled as Rambo: Last Blood, the story this time follows the long-retired Rambo forced to revert to his old ways when his young niece (Yvette Monreal’s Gabrielle) is kidnapped by a ruthless Mexican cartel led by Hugo Martinez (Sergio Peris-Mencheta).

Let’s start with the plot. Co-written by Matt Cirulnick and Stallone himself, the story is pretty much a simple revenge tale about an angry old man (that would be Rambo) settling an old score against the Mexican cartel. It even only runs around 90 minutes long, so it’s easy to expect Rambo: Last Blood is going to be pacey and action-packed. But if you are expecting the latter, keep in mind that Rambo only goes all one-man-army mode during the climactic third-act finale.

And whereas the plot is both generic (the additional sex-trafficking theme is nothing more than a superficial plot device) and clunky in places, Rambo: Last Blood does get a few things right. Stallone brings a suitably world-weary performance to his iconic title character and even establishes better-than-expected, father-and-daughter-like chemistry with Yvette Monreal’s Gabrielle earlier in the movie. Paz Vega does what she can to elevate her otherwise filler-like role as independent journalist Carmen Delgado. But Sergio Peris-Mencheta and Oscar Jaenada, though look the part as the movie’s main antagonists are largely relegated to standard-issue villains.

As mentioned earlier, the action scenes are largely confined during the Home Alone-like finale where fans of the franchise can expect a copious amount of gore and violence, though not as excessive as the one seen in the last Rambo movie. Stallone, who’s already pushing 73 years old, still manages to prove himself what it takes to be an action star at such an age. Although we get to see him setting up plenty of explosive devices and booby traps, throwing knives, shooting arrows and firing a sawn-off shotgun in point-blank, the action is mostly shot either in the dark or a dimly-lit scenario. This is particularly evident since most of the killing scenes towards the end take place inside a tunnel — a result that sometimes hard for us to appreciate the brutal choreography of the action setpieces.

Back in June, Stallone did reveal that he’s open for a possible sequel if Rambo: Last Blood manages to make money in the box office. I can see that he really treats the Rambo franchise like his own child but frankly, he should have quit while he’s ahead. Otherwise, what’s the point of showing all the past and present Rambo clips during the end-credits scenes?

Leave a Reply