I have a had a life-long love of the arts; enjoying theatre, ballet, art and movies. We are all time poor and have limits to our entertainment budget so I hope an honest review will help make your choices easier.
Published September 28th 2019
The story is sad, the violence is visceral
When Rambo First Blood first hit our screens in 1982, the raw violence was absolutely shocking. But beyond the violence was the story of a man who having returned from the Vietnam War was now struggling to find his place in the world. For many, this was the first glimpse at post-war discrimination and the horror of post-traumatic-stress-disorder.
Despite or maybe because of the violence, Rambo inspired a fairly loyal following. Rambo First Blood was soon followed by Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988), and Rambo (2008); I think we all thought that was the end of that story. But now almost four decades after first blood, Sylvester Stallone has returned to the big screen with Rambo: Last Blood.
The movie opens with a very weathered looking John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone). Now a hero; he rescues strangers in a crisis, protects his niece Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), and works hard on his horse ranch. However, soon you see the ravages of war are still affecting John forty years on. His eyes are still haunted, flashbacks are an ongoing burden and the need to stay ever-prepared for a possible uncertain future is evident in a series of elaborate hand-carved underground tunnels.
When his niece Gabrielle is threatened, Rambo is pushed from hero to vigilante and the heart and sadness of the early part of the film gives way to pure vengeance and visceral violence. This is not a film for the faint-hearted—the final fight scene is a non-stop litany of some of the most realistic and frankly shocking violence you will see in a mainstream film. When asked about the level of violence Stallone said, "What I'm trying to show is how horrible war is and how you never get over it". "When you participate in it and once you commit to it, you are now condemned by it. It's that old thing, seek revenge, dig two graves". I think that is the absolute truth of this movie; my overwhelming feeling was those we send to war pay a life-long price that is barely understood by the rest of us.
Some have criticised this film for the violence, but hey it is Rambo—to go expecting anything less is probably naive. Others have criticised a perceived racist agenda, I didn't see that—rather I saw exactly what I was expecting. Ultimately, the back story is as sad as it was when I first saw Rambo First Blood.
If you were a fan any of the preceding films you will not be disappointed by Rambo: Last Blood; in cinemas now.