Personally, I prefer 1980s Rambo over 2010s Rambo.
We all know John Rambo, the Vietnam War vet, played memorably and iconically by Sylvester Stallone. He’s perfect in the role, because of his dialogue, fighting skills, and how the war has practically destroyed his positive views of life. Thus, learning about the evils inside each country he travels.
And when I reviewed the last four movies, I admitted that the original “First Blood” was gripping, the second one was dull, and the third and four were guilty pleasures. This isn’t my all-time favorite movie franchise, but for allowing Stallone to overcome his strengths and weaknesses, they work.
Now, we have “Rambo: Last Blood,” which should hopefully be the last one, because I don’t know how an old man like Stallone can keep this up all this anger and fighting. Because he’s an action star, so he has to have more juice.
And it’s also because this sequel plays a little bit like a formulaic version of the 2011 original “Miss Bala.” Try not to get confused with the Gina Rodriguez remake, unless you count Stallone slaughtering the villains.
As the film begins, Rambo is still haunted by his past and a recent failed rescue attempt during a storm in a forest. In his new American life, he takes up horse ranching, and has a niece named Gabrielle (Yverre Monreal) on the way to college. She wants to know why her father abandoned her, and when she finds out he’s residing in Mexico, she’s given a harsh answer.
Rambo is then called back in action, when Gabrielle is taken hostage by the Mexican cartel (with Sergio Peris-Mencheta and Oscar Jaenada as the main bad guys), who plan to make her a sex slave. Things don’t work out too well, so he decides to get his revenge on her abductors by setting up traps on his ranch. Yet another “Home Alone” rip-off.
There’s a one sad sequence in “Rambo: Last Blood” that actually moved me more than anything else in the movie. I won’t go into details, just because some of you fans might salvaging over this, but I can tell you it left me with some tears.
Aside from that, the movie lacks the surprises and style of the original 1980s movies, even if the sequel were given crappy responses. I know they weren’t exactly perfect, but they at least never exploited Stallone for his dialogue and muscles. He does what he can in “Last Blood,” but I prefer 80s Rambo more than 2010s Rambo.
It also has to feature supporting women in routine Mexican thriller situations, including Paz Vega as an independent reporter, who helps Rambo track down the cartel. She also tends to his wounds and mourns over her murdered sister, but they’re given so little profile, thus making her character lackluster.
And about the traps Rambo plants: they look nice, especially when the gunmen get stabbed and pierced, until our hero shoots them one by one. But there’s one problem: the movie plays it so safe that it just cuts to the final confrontation.
I’m at least thankful this isn’t a reboot, because it would have been a complete and utter disaster like David Harbour’s reincarnation of “Hellboy.” Matter of fact, I doubt anyone could replace Stallone as Rambo. Why am I saying that in a negative review? That’s just my personal opinion.