This time it’s personal. Rambo is fighting for the only family he’s ever known, and there will be blood. Lots of it.
When we last saw John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), he was decimating the Burmese military while rescuing a group of missionaries. Now the weathered warrior is enjoying a quieter life on an Arizona ranch, riding horses and forging steel, assisting the sheriff in rescue operations, and playing father figure to teenager Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), whose real dad callously abandoned her when she was a child. But this softer, paternal side doesn’t last for long. “I haven’t changed, I just try to keep a lid on it every day,” he growls.
When Gabrielle absconds to Mexico to find her father and is subsequently abducted by a drug cartel with a sideline in sex trafficking, Rambo’s lid is blown completely off, and her sadistic kidnappers become dead men walking. Think Taken, albeit with Rambo’s own special set of skills.
The fifth and (supposedly) final instalment in the long-running action franchise, Last Blood is an atypical Rambo movie in that we’re accustomed to watching him running through the jungle and machine-gunning enemies en masse, not skulking about an urban and rural setting.
The protracted set-up, while delivering a couple of unexpected twists, plays out just like any number of good guy vs. cartel action-thrillers (the screenplay, co-written by Stallone, bears more than a passing resemblance to his script for the Jason Statham actioner Homefront), leaving the audience impatiently anticipating the mayhem that will inevitably explode in the final act.
And explode it does. If you thought 2008’s Rambo was shamelessly over the top, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Last Blood earns its R-rating with a guiltily entertaining onslaught of excessive carnage, as the stereotype Latino villains are shot, stabbed, decapitated, eviscerated, and blown into gory shrapnel. If this is indeed Rambo’s last hurrah, it’s an appropriately ferocious farewell, and fans wouldn’t want it any other way.
In cinemas: September 19, 2019
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Yvette Monreal
Directed by: Adrian Grunberg