Review: Drawn out 'Rambo: Last Blood' ends series on bleak note

September 21, 2019

Courtesy of Lionsgate 

At 73 years old, Sylvester Stallone doesn’t know when to quit. 

 

In some cases (as he’s proven with Rocky in the “Creed” films) that’s okay, but in “Rambo: Last Blood” - the supposed final entry in this franchise - I can only hope the action star sticks to his word. 

 

Representing both a new low for the actor and the series, “Last Blood” is an 89 minute investment of which only 20 minutes of balls-to-the-wall ultra violence takes place. Somehow, this film had four screenwriters (and for the sake of their careers I won’t list them off) - which is baffling when you see how thin “Last Blood” actually is. 

 

For starters, did you know that Rambo had a niece? Good, me neither. 

 

Yet in a matter of thirty minutes, the filmmakers want you to feel invested in Rambo’s relationship with his niece, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), so that when she’s kidnapped by a squad of Mexican sex traffickers, you’ll feel compelled to root for Rambo to seek her out. Never mind the fact I’m fairly confident this character never existed in prior installments and, well, I just didn’t understand why a film about a machine gun wielding mercenary killing bad guys hadn’t shown any violence in, I dunno, 60 minutes. Not to mention how the film portrays all Mexicans as derogatory and stereotypical thugs in a plot point meant to fuel political agendas I’m sure.

 

In another loosely defined narrative thread, Rambo has been diagnosed with some form of PTSD on account of his constant flashbacks and need to reach for the pills every five minutes. Yet director Adrian Grunberg doesn’t explore those nifty ideas and instesd takes the series in a horrible, cringe-worthy direction. So much so, that by the time we reach the films climatic “Mano-a-Mano” showdown, you’ll probably be planning your exit strategy. 

 

Sure there’s some graphic, gory, and straight-up relentless slayings in the final half hour of “Last Blood,” but it’s not enough to give one of Stallone’s most iconic characters the send-off he deserved. 

 

“Last Blood?” how about “Last Nerve.”

 

Grade: D

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