Rambo: Last Blood Review

I won’t beat around the bush here, I hated this film. I went into this wanting to see something more mature and reflective about the character of John Rambo, something along the lines of Rocky Balboa or the Creed films which would give another one of Sylvester Stallone’s iconic characters a fitting end. What I got was an ugly, nasty film that just made me feel uncomfortable to watch.

Eleven years after the events of the last Rambo film John Rambo is making his living running a horse ranch with a friend of his and her granddaughter, Gabriela. One day, Gabriela gets information about her birth father and travels to Mexico to find him, however she ends up getting kidnapped and sold into slavery prompting Rambo to go into Mexico to find her. Now the first big issue with the film is just how generic it is, having nothing that remotely feels like a Rambo film. If I didn’t know about the history of the film, I could have sworn that the script was for a cheap Taken rip off that was retrofitted into a Rambo film. For a film called Last Blood, I was expecting something more meditative, something that would have a look at modern issues for Veterans through the character of Rambo, in the same way First Blood looked at how Vietnam Veterans were treated in a worst case scenario. What we got was something that just felt rushed. It doesn’t help that the film was clearly hacked to the bone to get it into a 90 minute time frame, with there being reports of what would have been a more powerful opening being cut out of the film. There are even points which hint towards Rambo still suffering from PTSD from his time in war, but those moments are rushed through to give the vague semblance of a character to Rambo. What I found worse though was the way the film depicted Mexico. The implication given in the film is that if you are a woman who goes to Mexico you will be kidnapped and sold into slavery and the general depiction of Mexico just feels racist, along with there being heroic shots of border fences, the implication being one in favour of Donald Trump’s stupid, racist, ineffective border wall. The whole side of the the film relating to Mexico just feels racist and this added to my lack of interest in the film.

The performances don’t really help matters. Stallone is fine as Rambo, but there’s nothing of interest he brings to the character, he makes Rambo into a generic tough guy with a soft heart rather than the layered character we saw Rambo was in First Blood. The rest of the performances though are a mix of bland and outright bad. Paz Vega tries to do good work, but she is completely wasted, her character clearly being an element that should have had more depth, but her character was cut down, barely getting 10 minutes of screen time, when a better film would have made her a co-lead with Rambo. Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Yvette Monreal, Oscar Jaenada and Adriana Barraza meanwhile are terrible here, the script giving them nothing to do and their performances being completely one-note, with no sense of emotion in any of their performances.

On a technical level, the film doesn’t work either. The action scenes are completely incomprehensible in how they’re shot, with there being no clear scene geography and the shooting of the scenes is so frenetic and the editing so hectic that I had no idea what was happening. The big issue on the technical side is just how nasty the film is. The film is insanely gorey and revels in how gorey it is. This is mainly the case in the torture scenes in the film which take pleasure in just how sadistic they end up getting, especially when it’s Rambo doing the torturing. This whole side of the film just made me feel uncomfortable and gives the impression that the filmmakers were more focused on gore and shock than crafting an intelligent story.

Rambo: Last Blood is one of the worst films I’ve seen in the cinema in a long time. What should and could have been a powerful look at the lives of Veterans and how things have changed and remained the same since First Blood is instead a sleazy, lazy, racist film that feels more like a rip-off of Taken than a Rambo film, which has clearly been hacked to the bone to make it in any way releasable. I don’t like feeling this way about films and I don’t like leaving a film feeling gross for having watched the film, but I felt that way with this. This will be the worst film I see this year and may well end up being one of the worst films I’ve seen period.

My Rating: 0.5/5

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