by Adam M. Wilcox
It is difficult to spoil a movie with an 89 minute run time. As you may have gathered, most of the movie is explained to you by the awesome trailers. I still don’t like to do spoilers, so if some of my descriptions seem vague, it is by design.
What does the trailer tell the audience? Rambo has assimilated himself back into rural society. Some shit goes bad, and there will be Hell to pay. The movie wastes absolutely zero time of it’s 89 minute run time setting up exactly what you would expect from a movie like this. That is both blessing, and a detriment at the same time. Allow me to explain. Stallone has been successful all of these years by being able to come to terms about what he is capable of, his audience’s expectations, as well as the motivations of the characters he has created over the years. Rocky Balboa, is the loser who got a second chance at life, and went against all odds to prove a point, and won over the hears of many as lovable goon with a huge heart, and a winning spirit. Rambo, is a killer Green Beret Vietnam vet who was unable to rejoin society after the war. In a last minute split decision, it was decided not to kill off Rambo at the end of the movie First Blood, and that paved the way for a series of sequels. All of them dealt with his inability to live a normal life. Whether he was killing Caucasian mountain sheriffs, Vietnamese prison guards, Russian military men, or Burmese military, one thing we can all agree on is that Rambo is an equal opportunity murder machine. So why should murdering a group of Mexican sex traffickers be any different? Only the internet seems to know for sure.
I don’t like to read or watch any reviews before I watch a movie, because I often find myself trying to see what others saw in a movie, and now I am no longer looking at it from my eyes, but rather trying to see it from somebody else’s perspective. I hate that I think that way, but it’s impossible to shake, and most of the time I fail to see where others are coming from anyways. So this time I did something different for my review. I ignored the articles, avoided the videos, and just went to the show. However I DID unfortunately glance upon a few headlines on the way out the door, so I agreed to read them on a live stream on my channel as soon as I got home from the movie. I read four separate single star reviews with very outrageously click bait headlines. I refuse to acknowledge, or cite those sources, but I will leave a link to my video below this review. One thing I saw in common among all reviews is that “it’s 2019…(enter any problematic hot spot you wish here)”. So what these critics are telling film makers is that you have to be sensitive now, because 2019 said so. Motherfucker, this is RAMBO, not Creed, not The Shape of Water, not Dora The Explorer either. May I remind you that this whole world existed before 2019, pre-MCU, and action heroes ruled the wastelands of entertainment. Bigger than life heroes doing unrealistic things while spitting out bad one liners faster than you can say “he’s dead tired!”. Many of the people that enjoyed those movies are still in fact alive, and maybe even miss some of that 80’s machismo. Rambo was one of the big ones that dominated that era. This movie is made for THAT crowd, not the hypersensitive cancel culture. Also, don’t mind the 12 thousand robots outside waiting to call my review “problematic”, pay no attention. Don’t feed the trolls. Now that I have got that shit out of the way, let’s move on to an actual movie review.
Last Blood waists no time setting up the third act. If you have seen movies like Death Wish, The Unforgiven, or even Home Alone, you kind of get where this is going. The downside to this, is that other characters that are in this film exist as plot points, and do not actually take on any personality to speak of. There is sadly just no development here. This is where I would have preferred the movie to be a bit longer, at least give us some time to know these people. The good guys, OR the bad guys. We already know Rambo from previous films.
The western vibe that you got from the trailer is a bit of a ruse. He is working on a ranch, and much of the action does take place there. But if you are waiting for a proper western which I honestly was kind of hoping it would be, you would be better to stick with Logan, or The Unforgiven. Like I said, this one is a bit more Death Wish, but somewhat shorter. So pacing is very fast, story is very light, and all of it is only to service the final act.
The final act is where the movie actually pays off. If it has been a long while since you sat with your friends at the latest Friday The 13th sequel to watch the “awesome kills”, then you are in for a shockingly good time. It is at this point where music plays, and I refuse to tell you all what song is playing, but I will give you a hint, it is NOT Drowning Pool’s “Bodies”, but most will recognize it. I recognize that this is the director’s subtle way of acknowledging his true audience, those that came for the kills, so buckle up the ride. And killing is what Rambo does best as he slices, dices, and blows heads off in graphic gory glory. Some audience members were actually laughing at this, and I found no problem with that. This is pure escapism folks. It’s not pro Trump, anti-Mexican, (the focus of the film is the rescue of his very Mexican niece after all), or “toxic masculinity” which I believe is code for 80’s machismo murder boners make me feel icky, so I will call it problematic on the internet. In other words, some of the BS in these reviews is really stretching. Although when you spend 75% of your life bitching on Twitter about all of the alleged “problematic” talking points I listed above of course your going to see these things if you are really looking for them. So what passage in Moby Dick did you highlight today? (Ten brownie points if you get that reference, FUCK I AM OLD!)
So I am saying it’s not great, it’s also not bad. That being said, I can’t cheat myself, or my audience, so my review is going to be a three out of five cheese curds. It is definitely worth a look. It is perfectly serviceable entertainment that actually makes me more excited that Tango And Cash, and Cobra sequels might be coming, so I hope that this movie makes all of the monies in the world so we can get more movies like this. Maybe a trip back to 80’s Machismo is exactly what we are missing in 2019, and Robert Rodriguez is listening folks!