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War Hits Close to Home in Rambo Sequel

Rambo: Last Blood

Director: Adrian Grunberg

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta

Synopsis: John Rambo, a Vietnam war veteran attempts to live out the rest of his life in peace on his Arizona ranch. When his ‘adoptive’ granddaughter, Gabriela, is taken by a Mexican cartel, Rambo takes it upon himself to cross the border and bring her to safety, no matter the cost. 

Review:

“All these years I’ve kept my secrets, but the time has come to face my past.” Going into this film, I was prepared for Rambo’s ultimate revenge and I was not disappointed. The film hits this motif hard throughout the runtime. Last Blood manages a complex theme, great cinematography and strong performances but sacrifices on story throughout its brisk ninety minute runtime. 

With the theme of revenge, comes the idea of change. The film pairs these two elements quite well together. Change is presented in the discussion as to whether or not people do change and develop or if they always stay the same by nature. I believe this is an idea everyone should reflect upon as some people can truly mask their nature, something Rambo himself even mentions within the film. This was definitely a belief that I still thought about long after I left the multiplex. 

Revenge is showcased in the antagonists of the picture, but also Rambo himself. Rambo takes revenge on those who captured his ‘granddaughter’, but the cartel also seeks revenge on Rambo for his invasion. Rambo hopes that they know “that death is coming. And there’s nothing they can do to stop it, [as he will] fight to keep their memories alive.” Again, such a deep topic from a film that I didn’t expect to explore it. Quite honestly, I expected to see a lot of blood and gore, and while those are present, I did not think it would be packaged alongside a moral theme.

This film is beautifully shot. I commend Brendan Galvin for his cinematography work on this picture. Every frame is filled with great detail, even during sequences in which dialogue is the main focus. Nighttime shots have an almost divine beauty to them. It is as if Galvin used already established photos and placed the actors into the scene. The Arizona desert and ranch feel are highlighted and enhanced by sequences with the sun shining. The tunnel sequences are beautifully well-lit in a way that reminds one of any recent Call of Duty title. That is how gorgeous his work is. 

Performances are key to this film’s success given its weaker storyline. Stallone captures an aged Rambo quite wonderfully and personally, I felt that Stallone’s talent shines through the entire film. He knows how to give one hundred percent of himself to the scene at hand, otherwise he wouldn’t have had this much career longevity. Supporting actors such as Paz Vega and Sergio Peris-Mencheta also command the scenes they are in and demonstrate an ability to steal said scenes. Overall, everyone on screen looked very committed to their role in the film. 

Unfortunately, this film is not perfect. The only critique I have for this film is of the story. The film has an elementary plot for an adult-oriented action film. The plot moves fast, which, in part, is due to the runtime, but a lack of depth is ever present within this film. Much of the plot feels very one dimensional and things are only partly explained within dialogue. Similar to how the story lacks depth, the film also moves at a quick pace and viewers are rarely left the chance to digest what they had just witnessed. This left a few times of confusion throughout the film.

Rambo: Last Blood may not be the worst of the franchise, but it definitely is not the best either. Unless you are a huge Stallone or Rambo fan, this is a film you can wait on for the Blu-Ray or to stream on Netflix. Otherwise, prepare yourself for a ninety-minute action fest with little to no story. 

Colin gives this film 6.5 Saints out of 10