It has been 11 years since John Rambo came home, and in that time he has managed to find peace. Seeking a quiet life, he runs his family's horse ranch with his friend Maria Beltran (Adriana Barraza). But when Maria's granddaughter Gabriella (Yvette Monreal) secretly heads to Mexico in search of her father, she is kidnapped by a gang who force her into sex slavery. And Rambo will have to unleash a side of himself he's been trying to keep a lid on, if he's going to get her back.
We've come a long way since First Blood, as has John Rambo. He's gone from being a drifter victimised by a brutal small town Sheriff, to an 80's uber action-hero who could take on the Vietnamese and Russian armies almost single-handedly. Even as an ageing veteran he was able to decimate a tyrannical Burmese army unit. But now he's older, slower, he hasn't been in a fight in a while, he's even had a haircut! And with Rambo resorting to a few new tactics, the movie does reflect that. In many ways Last Blood is Rambo does "Taken" and "Home Alone", just not as well and with a lot more bloody violence. The '18' rating here in the UK is definitely earned.
The problem is, for an action movie it does take a while to get to the action, which is odd given that the 89 minute run time not only makes it a short movie, but the shortest movie in the franchise as well. Apart from a few brief moments throughout, it doesn't really get action-packed until the finale, in which a quiet farm is turned into a war zone. Seeing old man Rambo decimate a small army is a lot of fun, and as previously mentioned he does it in such a way that gives him an advantage, but it's weird seeing him do it without a mullet. Is Last Blood really a Rambo movie without a mullet?
Inexplicably, what could have been one of the best - not to mention most satisfying - parts of the movie, isn't even in the movie. We only get to see the aftermath, which then leads into Rambo doing his Macaulay Culkin bit. The movie even ends in an odd fashion; after suggesting one outcome the credits roll, during which audiences are shown images of the previous four movies, then they're shown something which suggests an entirely different outcome. It's like they decided on one ending, and then chickened out.
Unfortunately - and without wanting to get into politics - Rambo: Last Blood does portray a rather negative image of Mexico and its people. Apart from Maria, Gabriella and Carmen Delgado - a journalist who briefly helps Rambo, played by Paz Vega - most of the Mexican characters are criminals, or at least untrustworthy, which makes this feel like some sort of Trump fantasy. It's almost as if the story was written to prove and/or justify some of Trump's claims. The movie even suggests that illegally crossing the US/Mexico border is as easy as driving a truck through a fence. Maybe Trump will use Rambo: Last Blood as part of his re-election campaign, much like he did "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" for his 2016 campaign.
Rambo: Last Blood is an average action movie that takes too long to get to the real action. The final battle is exciting and very gory, just as you would expect from a Rambo movie, it just isn't worth waiting for. Much like all of the other sequels in this franchise, Last Blood never gets close to living up to the the original "First Blood".
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