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  Rambo: Last Blood Two Montages In Ten Minutes - It's Rambo All Right
Year: 2019
Director: Adrian Grunberg
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Adriana Barraza, Yvette Monreal, Finessa Pineda, Joaquín Cosio, Óscar Jaenada, Louis Mandylor, Jessica Madsen, Marco De La O, David Aguirre Firth, Manuel Uriza, Díana Bermudez, Sheila Shah, Rick Zingale
Genre: Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has decided to give up his life of travelling the world, settling here and there for a time, and instead has wound up in Arizona, not far from the Mexican border. There he trains horses on a small ranch, all the better to take his tortured mind off his experiences in the Vietnam War which pop back into his thoughts without warning. He has pills to take to take the edge of his post-traumatic stress disorder, but lately they have begun to wear off, leaving him not in the most placid frame of mind. Still, what could happen now in his retirement? Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), his teenage charge, might hold the key to that, for she wants to find her gangster father...

The general reaction in the critical community to this fifth and final instalment to the Rambo series was to throw up their hands en masse and complain bitterly that it was some tawdry revenge fantasy with a grudge against the country south of the border. To which the Stallone fans asked, well, what did you expect? They turned out to watch this and came away largely satisfied thanks to the film's keenness to present extreme violence as an impetus for more, and as a catharsis, that latter never popular with the more censoriously minded. Arriving nine whole years after the minimally titled Rambo, the subtitle marked a fair change, despite Stallone never courting praise.

Not praise for his action and horror movies, whose fans may have been getting on a bit if they had stuck with the David Morell character since the original movies, possibly the very first one, which was quite revealing. When discussing First Blood with their friends, eighties kids had been very impressed since the first movie served up all the excitement and thrills they could possibly want, and although Morell had written Rambo as the villain of the piece, albeit intermittently sympathetic as it was not he who had wanted to be transferred into a one-man killing machine, in this franchise he was plainly not someone whom could return to polite society as a useful contributor.

Yet here he was, fair enough he was in an out of the way place, but it sure looked as if Rambo had settled down, though he had ostensibly done that in the earlier sequences, his position as an audience surrogate, assuming the viewers wanted to see him fuck shit up in decisive manner, by now serving the same purpose as Charles Bronson in any number of eighties action flicks, only if anything even less humourless. Stallone should have by all rights been carrying a lot of baggage, and by all rights that should have been true, only he came across in one of his least complex roles as a plot convenience rather than the cultured man of the people he may have wished for. The moral of that was, audiences are always going to mix up the real performer with the most prominent character they had portrayed, and Stallone was happy to put Rambo forward as a right-wing power fantasy.

He certainly did not complain when his co-written script was criticised for simple minded solutions, yet then again, this was not about to get deep into the morality of attacking the Mexican drugs cartels generating massive profits thanks to America's love of cocaine. In fact, it was people trafficking and the illegal sex worker trade that the Stallone-co-authored script brought up, Gabrielle having been kidnapped when she tried and fails to engage with her estranged father down south. What happens to her is predictable should you have never seen how eighties action treated its female characters, though Rambo also gets a not-quite love interest with a Mexican journalist (Paz Vega) to stop the movie being accused of racism when the villains were a gang of such scum we were invited to welcome their destruction at Rambo's hands once back at the ranch. Some complained this was basically Home Alone, but at least Last Blood was honest in revelling in its violence and didn't try to couch it in troubling slapstick. Morell hated it, and he was right, it wasn't true to his Rambo, but as a brief action effort, eh, it was OK. Music by Brian Tyler.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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