Rambo: Last Blood (2019) Review

High Octane!


Rambo: Last Blood is a rip roaring rampage of revenge with Stallone at his best taking out the trash in brutally satisfying fashion so by the time the end credits roll we can rest easy that his legacy remains in tact and there are still no terrible movies in the series.

Plot: When a friend’s daughter is kidnapped, Rambo crosses the U.S.-Mexico border to bring her home but finds himself up against one of Mexico’s most ruthless cartels.

Review: When Last Blood was announced I was unsure how I felt about it as the 2008 Rambo wrapped up the series nicely with John Rambo coming full circle and returning home after many years. Then I thought about it and figured well, it’s more Rambo (who is the greatest action hero of all time) so is that really such a terrible thing? I think not and the trailers have so far made it look like a bloody good time. I was concerned that there were no press screenings for the movie but critics have never really liked the Rambo series so it’s not a big surprise. So is it any good?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy every blood-soaked second but if I’m being honest it is the weakest of the franchise for me; that’s not to say it’s a bad movie. It absolutely is not and thankfully there are still no bad Rambo movies. Last Blood feels more like Taken crossed with an R-rated Home Alone (at least for the finale) but still at its core remains a Rambo movie. We’ve got some brief flashbacks showing that even though he is older John is still haunted by his past but his newly found family has brought back some of his humanity as he found out there was still some good in the world. This of course is short-lived when his niece goes to Mexico and is kidnapped by a brutal drug cartel. Only one man can save her… and his name is Rambo.

Stallone is so perfectly cast as Rambo and he can portray this haunted vet in his sleep; he never phones it in though and makes you care about him immediately so you are rooting for him all the way.

Storywise it’s rather predictable and we’ve seen it many times before and I was surprised by how much was given away in the trailers so there are few twists. The villains are also pretty one-dimensional but let’s not forget the bad guys (aside from Teasle) in the Rambo series were never people like Hans Gruber; they were just enemies that needed killing while John battles his inner demons. He knows he is born to kill and when he unleashes the beast there is no one better.

I thought the finale to Rambo (2008) was one of the series best with Rambo mowing down an entire army with a cannon but nothing really matches those lofty heights in this outing. On the flip side of that every kill in this movie is more intimate and at times will make you wince with the sheer nastiness.

Where Last Blood differs from all the other movies is that he is essentially a vigilante (with a hint of western); he isn’t a soldier and there are no rules. The people (if you can call them that) he is after are the lowest of the low and watching them get what they deserve is incredibly satisfying. This has arguably the most violent and vicious kills of the series which had me cheering in the aisles; unfortunately I think one moment got a bit too much for one of our audience members who had some kind of a seizure so whoever you are I hope you are OK.

Hearing the iconic Rambo theme always brings a smile to my face and it is thankfully used regularly in the excellent score; it is in full swing during a montage when Rambo is preparing for war and is one of my favourite scenes of the year.

If anything I wish the movie was a little longer as it could have had a little more meat to it but as it is Last Blood is a lean, mean killing machine just like its protagonist. It has enough heart so we care for the characters and the villains are suitably dastardly that we despise them completely and feel no remorse for their fate.

Overall, Rambo: Last Blood is a fitting finale (maybe?) for one of cinema’s greatest icons of action and if we don’t get another movie then I’m happy with what we have. Rambo is a timeless action hero that will always be a joy to watch. I think the best movie of the series in terms of story and character is First Blood but my personal favourite will always be Part 2 as that is the movie that made Rambo a true legend of action. Last Blood wraps the series up nicely with some of the most brutally efficient kills you’ll ever see and Stallone proves that even in his 70’s there is no one that can match him.