Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Review: "Rambo: Last Blood" is hopefully the last

Rambo: Last Blood Review
As with many action franchises of the 1980's, the "Rambo" movies are a ton of fun. I get the appeal of them, I get that they accelerated the popularity of Sylvester Stallone. They are big on action, big on mindless entertainment and very much created the definition of the 1980's action movie. I like this series very much and I am glad that it wasn't just one franchise that really defined who Stallone was.

There are many ways you can define John Rambo. He goes into dangerous situations by himself, he's reckless, he's raw, he's introverted, he disregards orders, uses violence to solve problems and is normally callous and dangerous. He served in the United States military and has been recruited to go on missions for our government. In "Rambo: Last Blood" when he's creating booby traps around an old ranch and impaling drug cartel enforcers to death, I had to look and see which movie I was watching again.

Sure, this new movie gets a few things right about John Rambo. He certainly enters a dangerous situation on his own. He's reckless, introverted, raw, callous and dangerous. He uses violence to solve a big problem. The thing is, there are several fictional tough guys that fit that persona, and in each of their adventures, they keep in the definition of their character. "Last Blood" never feels like a John Rambo movie. It seems like somebody thought it was a great idea to take the scripts for "The Equalizer," "Man on Fire," "Skyfall" and "Home Alone," mix up those scripts then put John Rambo in the middle of the movie. Yep, the best thing they could come up with for the seemingly last chapter of John Rambo was throw every modern cliche at him they could.

The movie features a pretty simple set up. John Rambo has settled down to a life of raising horses. He manages the horse ranch with a friend and grows close to her granddaughter. Her granddaughter gets mixed up in a bad situation. Rambo goes and cleans it up. Its a clear cut movie, it just never once feels like a Rambo movie. This feels like "Cobra 2," it never feels like a situation John Rambo would find himself in. Even in the action sequences, Rambo never really behaves like Rambo usually does. If you showed random scenes from "Last Blood" mixed with scenes from other Rambo movies, nobody would guess that "Last Blood" is also a Rambo movie. It never connects to the rest of the series. Stallone isn't even sporting his long hair, he looks like every other tough he plays besides Rambo.

Sergio Peris-Mencheta and Oscar Jaenada play two brothers who front a Mexican Cartel but they never really play characters. They are types. Their cartoons. They are simply people set up for John Rambo to kill. There is nothing that makes them unique as bad guys, and there is no real development. They are designed with enough mustache twirling facades to look like the bad guys, but they never really shine as characters.

But hey, if you've come this far in this franchise and all you care about is watching John Rambo kill bad guys, have at it. I am just convinced Stallone isn't playing John Rambo. I don't know what to even call this guy, but that's not John Rambo. This isn't a Rambo movie either. It's "The Man on Fire Punisher: Home Alone 4" That would have been a better title.


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