Unless this is a satire, it's silly stuff.
Rambo: Last Blood
Director: Adrian Grunberg (Get the Gringo)
Screenplay: Sylvester Stallone, Matthew Cirulnick
Cast: Syllvester Stallone (Rocky)
Runtime: 1 hr 29 min
By: John DeSando
“All these years I've kept my secrets, but the time has come to face my past. And if they come looking for me, they will welcome death. I want revenge. I want them to know that death is coming. And there's nothing they can do to stop it.” John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone)
After listening to that trite speech, not much more need to be known that Rambo: Last Blood is formulaic revenge stuff. It even has pretentious language now and then and violence worthy of a Vietnam vet with PTSD, a Green Beret with otherworldly destructive skills.
That Rambo from decades ago is now 74 years old and retired to an Arizona ranch, but not without challenges. His adoptive college-bound niece Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal) takes off for Mexico to find loser dad. Immediately abducted by sex traffickers, she needs a hero uncle to cross the border and good taste to save her.
Not quite his old self, John allows himself to be cornered by too many bad hombres early on, get brutally beaten, and then prepares his compound for the villains to come for him. The booby traps are impressive, including virtuoso bow and arrow strategy, even if the bad boys are clueless about Rambo’s potential for mayhem.
Not much makes sense here, except for Stallone’s urge to stretch out another franchise but with far less nuance that in Rocky, for instance. It’s not that Stallone is too old to leave the ranch; it’s just that the screenplay does not allow for subtlety or smarts, even given Stallone’s 165 IQ. Perhaps it’s a satire? If so, I feel better although it’s not obviously humorous.
When dozens of hombres descend on John’s ranch, the initial blasts should have warned them that John plays for keeps. No, they are so dumb they follow him into tunnels that beg for rigging. However, they are the rapists and murderers the president identified as Mexican immigrants. Mexicans are all we see of the thugs. Even Liam Neeson’s Taken has more diversity and smarter action.
Rambo: Last Blood should be that last of this sub-B thriller franchise, yet the hero’s wistful look on his porch as the last shot bodes disappointingly to more mayhem. But not to Oscar.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com