by Daniel Giorello | Staff Writer
At the end of Rambo’s final outing, there’s a montage played during the credits showcasing some of the iconic scenes from previous films that have led up to this moment. This made me think about two things: first, I’d rather watch any of those movies over the one I just had to sit through. Second, the franchise has come a long way from the first film where tortured protagonist John Rambo doesn’t actually kill anyone. The Rambo we’re accustomed to hearing about has shifted from tortured war veteran cursed to drift aimlessly to a poor man’s John Wick who indulges in his kills a little too much. When the film started I had faith that Sylvester Stallone was experienced enough as a storyteller to if nothing else keep the movie going at a steady pace.
Unfortunately, it was only into the first five to ten minutes of the film that I learned how wrong my assumption was; Last Blood is a finale, but it is easily the most nonsensical film I’ve seen this year, that only digs a deeper grave for itself with a slew of abrupt jump cuts, terrible acting and a level of violence that, when it does appear, is either so overblown or difficult to follow it’s usually not worth your time to even pay attention.
Rambo now lives out his days in a farm on Arizona raising a niece that’s about to leave for college. When that niece chooses to find her real father and leave for Mexico, a chain of unlikely events is set off wherein she’s kidnapped and thrown into a trafficking ring and Rambo must step in to save her from her captors. But you won’t know that until you’re about an hour through the film. Stallone spends most of the opening minutes corralling horses and enjoying a humble farm life, and by the time he does kick into action, its only to act as an unstable psychopath who gives brutal death threats to teenagers or angrily storm around the country until he connects just enough dots to finally push the plot forward.
As far as action is concerned, your time is better spent probably anywhere else; the only time the violence is handled adequately is by the end; kills are brutal, but they’re also bizzarre. You won’t always understand how someone died, but you’ll always get a good look at Stallone brutalizing some of his victims after they’ve passed. Why? I honestly don’t know. But I don’t know about a lot of decisions in this movie. Mexico is portrayed as a third world country with very few good characters coming out of it, the film doesn’t actually start until roughly an hour in, and the action that should be the most alluring aspect is so ridiculous I found myself laughing during every sequence that took itself far too seriously.
Look. There’s a lot more I could go into; the annoying soundtrack, characters that only poke more holes in the plot before their unexplained disappearances, the astoundingly terrible performances from everyone including Mr. Sylvester…but at this point there’s not much more I need to say. If you’re someone who can get some good laughs out of a bad movie, which both myself and my editor certainly did, then it might not be a complete waste of your time. For anyone else, keep in mind that this body of work isn’t worth more than 3/10 pinecones.