Sylvester Stallone returns for his fifth and presumably final film as the deadly Vietnam vet, John Rambo.
Following on eleven years after the events of Rambo IV, where we saw a war-torn Burma get the wrong end of Rambo’s stick, he’s now settled down on his deceased father’s horse ranch in Arizona. It’s as peaceful as it sounds. John spends his days raising horses alongside his old friend Maria Beltran and her granddaughter, Gabriela, who he’s become an unofficial “Uncle” to. When he’s not soaking in the alluring vistas or tending to his stallions, John finds himself forging sharp objects in his death lair located beneath a series of underground tunnels he’s carved out for a rainy day. And the rain is most certainly coming.
After adopted niece Gabriele gets a call from her friend Gisele, she explains that Gisele has located her biological father Manuel, in Mexico. Against strong warning from Uncle Rambo and grandmother Maria, she persists nevertheless and drives to Mexico to confront her deadbeat dad. Which unsurprisingly, turns out to be a very bad idea. Gabriele is eventually drugged and kidnapped by members of the Mexican Cartel to be sold on as a sex slave. Upon realising her absence, Rambo sets off in pursuit of Gabriele, finding his way to her father and also the location of the cartel enforcers. Things don’t end well as he’s savagely beaten half to death and left marked by one of the Martinez brothers responsible for Gisele’s abduction. Fortunately for him however a local reporter, Carmen, watches on and comes to Rambo’s aid in the nick of time, escorting him to safety and nursing him back to health over the next four days. John is unbelievably cheesed off by this point which sends him down a path of brutality and this is where everything goes full Rambo. His vengeance, performed in staggeringly merciless fashion, catches the attention of the cartel where it all leads to a final showdown back at the jolly ranch. The final act serves up a litany of inventive death sentences that will have your mouth struggling to close for much of it’s duration, its gory, wicked stuff that plays out like a montage of Mortal Kombat fatalities.
Lets’s call Rambo Last Blood what it is; a paper thin plot littered with bloodthirsty sequences. And that’s fine. Over the franchises almost 40 year run, we’ve grown accustomed in what to expect from Stallone’s troubled soldier. Rambo Last Blood serves as a messy ode to those same late-eighties / early nineties action flicks that provide pure popcorn entertainment. The film attempts to add a bit of heart but works better when it’s trying to rip it out.