Rambo: Last Blood (2019) review

Rated: 3.5 / 5

There will be spoilers in this review.  So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you have been warned.  That being said, I’ll be making up some bullshit so that you can’t tell when I’m being serious and honest as opposed to sarcastic and busting your balls.

Spoiler Alert GIF - Spoiler Alert Spoilertalert GIFs

So two Mexicans walk up to a house.  And they say:

Mexican #1: “Feliz Navidad little puto.  We know that you’re in there, and that you’re all alone.”

Mexican #2: “Yeah, come on puto, open up.  It’s Pecos Bill, and his Ass.”

Mexican #1: *chuckles*

[Rambo readies his bow.]

Mexican #1: “We’re not going to hurt you.”

Mexican #2: “Oh no, we got some nice present for you.”

[Pulls the arrow back, and aims through the doggie door.]

Mexican #1: “Be a good little puto now and open the door.”

[Lets the arrow loose, it hits him in the balls.]

Mexican #1: “AAAAAAAAAHHHHOOO!  Fuck fucking motherfuckin’ tu puta madre!”

[Mexican #2 sticks his head through the doggie door.]

Rambo: “ADRIEN!”

[Fires another arrow though his head.]

Mexican #1 [to the other sex traffickers]: “That’s it, that’s it!  I’m going around to the barn, you go into the tunnels!”

But seriously, the first two-thirds of this film is like a more depressing version of Taken.  The last third is Home Alone for adults.

How is it compared to the last four Rambo films?  Well, I’m not going to lie to you.  I still haven’t seen the third one.  I’ve seen First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo, and now Rambo: Last Blood.  But I’ve never seen Rambo III.  Rambo 4 really fucked with the way to easily discern one film title from another didn’t it?  But anyway, that aside, I’ll say that First Blood is still the best out of all the Rambo movies in my personal opinion.  And I’ll also say I enjoyed this more than Rambo 4 (I’m not calling that fucking movie Rambo; just the name alone makes me think it’s worse).

To be honest, there aren’t much frills to be had with this movie.  It’s very straightforward, with little to no twists in it.  Basic in its storytelling.  And has a runtime of 90 minutes.  (Remember when that was the average runtime of movies?  Fuck films today for making an extra effort to go over the two hour mark).  It doesn’t have any of those twist moments that are like, “Psych!  He’s not really dead!”  Or, “Psych!  It was the mother all along!”  Or God forbid, “Psych!  It was all a dream!”  Nope, it’s just a simple plot of one’s semi-daughter named Adrien (I’m just kidding, but that’s what I’m going to call her; if this movie didn’t want me to do that, then it wouldn’t have a Balboa Productions company financing it) getting kidnapped by the sexcatel, father comes to rescue her, then he reaps his revenge on the sex traffickers in bloody fashion similar to how he tore some Burmese up in the last Rambo flick.  Except this time he does it with more than just bullets.

And unlike Taken, he fails to get his daughter back alive (you don’t get the right to bitch, I warned you about spoilers).  He comes to rescue her, and then she dies in his arms, on the road, during a thunderstorm, and he falls to his knees and looks up and shouts, “Adrien!” while thunder booms and lightning flashes.  Then he gets back home, exhausted, and then he gets a phone call.  He answers, and some Irish guy says, “If it were me, I could’ve gotten her back alive.”  And Rambo is all, “Oh shut up!  You failed to protect your deadbeat wife.”  “Goddamnit you bastard!”  “Fuck you you half-assed Scottsman!”  Then he hangs up and starts making weapons that the other guy at the other end of the phone would never use on his missions.

A part of me thought that this undercover reporter (which, honestly, her role could’ve probably been scrapped from the film if they had just removed the whole section of Rambo getting caught and beat up, and just had him do a successful rescue the first time around; but they had to pad it out and make sure the semi-daughter would OD) would play a part and help Rambo kill off some of these assholes.  You know, like one of those movie twists where the protagonist is about to get killed off, only to get saved at the last second by some side character.  Or hell, even to have the aunt (who makes a killer breakfast by the way) show up with a shotgun to shoot up some guys.  But nope, this was Rambo taking care of business the whole way through.  He just needed help recovering after the first incident, which didn’t seem very well thought-out on his part (I mean, seriously, I know he was emotional about the whole thing, but you would think he’d have a better plan than what actually went down).

And I find this to be a good thing, because that’s become such a cliche now of the protagonist (especially a white male protagonist) getting help from someone else directly because he “needs” it, because he can’t do it alone.  It’s more rare to have a legit one man army take on an actual army in a somewhat believable fashion (as opposed to The Expendable 3, which was a crock of shit).  It’s also rare to do so in such bloody great fashion with his grown up Home Alone traps and stuff.  And it’s especially rare for him to do it to the tune of The Doors.  And he overcomes the need for his pain pills and mental stability pills in the process, somehow (seriously, that little subplot just gets dropped and kicked to the curb by the halfway point).

All in all, aside from this cringe-inducing collar bone scene, the whole film is basically build-up for the last 20 minutes, just like the fourth film was.  And it is definitely worth the wait.  It’s worth the price of admission just to get to the blood-soaked finale.  Though the earlier acts could’ve been done better if given just another minute or two to breathe.  I can already picture how the drive back from Mexico could’ve been handled more effectively.  Fade-in to the lone truck driving along the highway, without any music playing at any point in time, until the end of the scene.  Like the last film, this one tries to be emotional, but it fails with its attempts at evoking sadness.  Stallone has never been good at that sort of emotion, except in the first two Rocky films, and in First Blood, and in Copland.  Thankfully, I don’t think anyone really intended to watch this for an emotional investment.  They wanted blood and gore and action, which this film eventually delivers on.

And when it ends, does it live up to its title “Last Blood?”  Honestly, I’m not sure.  It seems like it’s ended there, with John’s last hurrah.  But it’s possible he could pick himself up for another movie.  I honestly hope not.  This is a film where he thought he regained a reason to be happy, but then has it taken away from him, and the only thing left is rage, and emptiness, except for the idea that the memories of those who have any meaning should be kept alive for as long as they can. He tried to be the father figure his semi-daughter deserves, but he fails to protect her as real father should (though not for lack of trying); while her real life father failed to be one. So all he has left now is his memories of her, of the happy times, before they were all gone. While it’s better than throwing those memories away as the real father did, he has become a shell of a man at this point, where his death would be a mercy.  Besides, he’s already shot up Americans, he’s shot up Russians, he’s shot up Burmese in Thailand.  And now he’s shot up some Mexicans.  Who would be left after this?

Well, I guess there’s Africans, but that’s never going to happen.  That’s never really happened in any movie where the African’s weren’t sympathetic to some extent and where the movie fully expects you to root for the white guy, outside of Black Hawk Down and Zulu and Birth of a Nation 2016 (films based on true events shouldn’t count), and The Naked Prey (anything that takes place pre-1980 shouldn’t count either).  Come to think of it, when it comes to films where we expect a one-man army (or a small group that’s strong enough to be the equivalent of an army) to gun down a bunch of bad guys, it never happens between blacks and whites and a large 10+ scale (on either side of the spectrum).  Oh sure, there’s white and/or blacks killing off Mexicans (The Wild Bunch), or whites gunning down other whites (virtually any crime movie), or blacks gunning down other blacks (virtually any gangster movie).  But whites and blacks specifically going after the other on a 10+ slaughter scale (bombs do not count)?  Closest I can think of when it comes to something like that is  That’s a threshold that I don’t believe has been crossed yet, not even in a Spike Lee flick.  Closest I can think of is Dead Presidents, but it’s not like you’re really rooting for these guys.  So that’s currently taboo, but considering the state of society, let alone the state of Hollywood, there’s a possibility that line could be crossed within the next 10 years.

Until then, we’ll just stick with our American-made flicks (for as long as that means anything, what with China digging its tentacles in deeper and deeper) with Americans of any color fucking up foreigners from a different country, and we’ll fucking enjoy it.  Just as I’m sure those other countries make their own films of their own people fucking up Americans (China does it).  And they’ll fucking enjoy it.  Because 99% of all the foreigners in these types of films are irredeemable villains.  Nice to know some sense of nationalism is alive and well in some places.  If nothing else, it’s a memory we can all try to keep alive (especially in a time period where some memories are kept more alive than others).

“Now get me a beer, woman!”

In the meantime, we’ll be enjoying what last amount of effort the old-timers can give us with old-fashioned shameless action and messages, with Clint Eastwood dramas, Sylvester Stallone flicks, and Keanu Reeves John Wick films.  Not sure what state we’ll be in when they’re gone.  Although it is nihilistic fun to see a sneak preview of that state, especially knowing how shallow this action film is, and knowing it isn’t trying to be political at all, and just showing that Mexican sex traffickers, which do exist and are a problem, are bad people that deserve to be killed (I’m pretty sure even Mexicans will agree to that):

Image

Of course, this being about Mexican sex traffickers, it gives Stallone a chance to inject this shit with pathetic Trumpian backslapping

Steve G

racism trigger

This movie was total blasphemy. From the god awful editing, rushed pacing, xenophobia, fetishistic gore.

CinephileBoy

bq-5c66a615839cb

A sick pro-trump pos.

ash_hp

bq-5c8a74a86b38c

Instead, we get a old white male revenge fantasy that stokes racial stereotypes and fear. While in the end (literally in the last ten minutes) becoming a love letter to old Reganites, Trumpers, and off the grid libertarian survivalists.

The Sociologists Dojo

bz-5cdeee1de3bc3

this has zero issues saying the quiet parts out loud with its mindset on how brown people are evil.

Sean Blanford

viva mexico

When I watched Rambo ’08 a couple nights ago, I thought I’d seen the pinnacle of this series’ conviction that anyone who doesn’t speak English is a dangerous threat who should be dispatched as gruesomely as possible. But fuck this movie and its “better build that wall to keep the Bad Hombres out” twisted bullshit.

What I’m afraid will get lost in the justifiable disdain at his movie’s offensive racial and gender politics is just how miserably constructed it is as a story.

[…]

It’s kind of mind-boggling to consider what John Rambo began as: a symbol of a nation that discarded its veterans, treated them like garbage. It was a movie that considered the people harmed by a social structure built on keeping the “undesirables” away from “decent folks.” Like so many Baby Boomers, Rambo started with a rebel streak and just turned into an anxious, gun-toting asshole.

Scott Renshaw

bz-5cc03d9011d0f

Extremely gratuitous, racist, misogynistic, politically irresponsible and entirely distasteful: there’s a special place in hell for Rambo: Last Blood.

jamespunshon

bz-5cc5c289a5746

What we get instead is a cheaply made, poorly written, and very misogynistic movie that shouldn’t have been made in the first place.

Jordan

90ed4cd39beb3642

this is pretty xenophobic on many levels. Basically tries to paint a majority of Mexicans as criminals. Stallone’s conservative views are no secret, but this film is definitely trying to justify Donald Trump’s xenophobic speeches. That alone makes it a horrible film.

The Video Vault

One fufills a male power fantasy of still being “the man” while the other is about learning how your place in the world changes and growing with it.

Shaun

And now we have Rambo: Last Blood – A morally vile and retrograde action movie that looked old and outdated in the 80s. In this reported last instalment, John Rambo is now an all American cowboy, living on a horse ranch with his adoptive family. But when his adoptive daughter gets herself into trouble across the border, Rambo journeys into Mexico, to teach those scuzzy Mexicans a thing or two about good old fashioned American values.

Yes, Rambo Last Blood is the perfect film for Trump’s America, where every Mexican is either a drug dealer or sex trafficking asshole and the only way to deal with them is by dismembering them beyond all recognition. So, if the Rambo movies have ever been a reflection of the times in which they were made, then this one sure does reflect America as it is today.

nicksav

bq-5ca5fae343c97

flat out racist

shookone

3cd151de727d6baa

 startlingly racist presentation of Mexico, which is lacking in sensitivity…even for a Rambo film

Wilson

DwHGCRQUUAAgott.jpg large

Rambo: Last Blood is a poorly acted, abysmally written right-wingers wet dream with non-existent border patrol and all of the Mexicans a racist could wish to shoot.

ChewsReviews

bq-5ca0b83593a31

The future?  People expecting Mexico to be shown in a light that is absent of sex traffickers, while being ok portraying Trump supporters as people who are just as bad in their own way (which is of a higher population count than sex traffickers).  They don’t want countries outside of the U.S. being shown in a bad light due to xenophobia concerns, but are ok with stating a good portion of the U.S. in a bad light.  Anything pro-Trump is bad because it’s bad to support any form of nationalism and wanting to protect the country from ill-willed foreigners, but anything anti-Trump is good because it’s good to support ill-willed foreigners to the point that we’ll just let off illegal alien criminals who commit rape and/or murder off with a slap on the wrist, while doing the opposite for actual citizens.  Old white male revenge fantasies are bad, but young non-white revenge fantasies are good.  Brown people can never be bad, that only applies to white people.  Gender politics and misogyny is… wait, what?  When did that comes into play?  Because a guy tries to save his semi-daughter and women didn’t contribute to the kill count?  Uhhh, ok, I guess we can’t have a film where a man can get things done without female help either, but it’s ok for films with women getting things done without the help of any men (ie, the daughter should’ve been able to save herself, or the aunt or reporter should’ve showed up with guns they keep up their snatch and karate skills they just so happen to know).  Racism against Mexicans is bad, racism against whites is ok.  Politically irresponsible to show Mexico in a bad light, but it’s politically responsible to show America in a bad light, especially when led by Trump as opposed to a leader who sold out to the cartels.  It’s never ok (or at least no longer ok) for right-wing male power fantasies to be fulfilled, but left-wing female power fantasies are ok; like with Aliens.  Old fashioned American values about protecting your family (with guns) are bad, new-fashioned values where there shouldn’t be a family unit (or at least one not run by the father, if there is one) is good; like in Mexico.  Racism and lack of sensitivity is bad, unless it’s done against white males, especially Trump supporters (or anyone right-wing or right-centrist).

bq-5cb44119a28fd

What a future to look forward to.  I can picture myself dying of laughter from it, because it’s one big joke.  And the joke can’t get any bigger or more hypocritical or more ludicrous or nihilistic than that, so life would be worth losing at that point.

The one noteworthy criticism I quoted above is this one: “John Rambo began as: a symbol of a nation that discarded its veterans, treated them like garbage.”  Fair enough, this film isn’t about that.  Though the irony of it all is that all the above criticisms can equate (to some extent) towards it being ok to treat veterans like garbage and discard them, especially white veterans.  Because, you know, nationalism is bad and attacking other nations for whatever reason (justified or not) is xenophobic.  You could argue Rambo is pretty much left alone in this movie for that reason.  Just as the old fashioned American male father figure is left behind, discarded, and treated like garbage.  Like how old fashioned values of believing sex trafficking is terrible and all people who do that should be killed.

82d42da7bd5d1447

 

 

 

 

PS: While I’m glad they kept this film more realistic than the rumored sci-fi plot this film originally allegedly had, it is fun to imagine the possibilities of Sylvester Stallone going up against a werewolf, or whatever sci-fi monster they had in mind.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s