When thinking about action movies there are several iconic characters that have defined the genre. Among these heroes is none other than the grizzled soldier Rambo. The character debuted in 1982’s Rambo: First Blood and the film became an instant classic. Since then the character has been featured in four sequels where the action continued to get more intense and sometimes a little ridiculous. It has been sometime since the action hero has graced the silver screen; so naturally one would think that Rambo’s war has come to an end. However that is not the case as now in theaters is the fifth installment in the action franchise-Rambo:Last Blood. Directed by Adrian Grunberg, Last Blood sees the seasoned hero return in what appears to be one final time. That prospect alone was enough to see this sequel, and if nothing else it could be an exciting action film.The end result was a movie that lived up to the name Rambo-albeit in a subtle fashion.
The story of Last Blood deals with the aged John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) living quietly on his ranch. However when his niece Gabriela (Yvette Monreal) goes missing in Mexico, Rambo finds himself at war with a Mexican Cartel who abducted Gabriela and seek to use her in their human trafficking. The plot to this installment was a shining example of what you see is what you get. When it came down to it there was not much to this tale as the narrative centered on Rambo getting his niece back and battling the cartel. While its sense of simplicity was not bad, in fact it was even understandable, the story’s execution left much to be desired. This detraction may have been caused by the movie’s quick pacing which seemed to rush through aspects in the plot. Yet despite its issues the plot was effective. While it may not have looked like it, the plot lived up to the series’ better qualities as Rambo is at his best when he is dealing with a bad situation that increasingly gets worse. If nothing else the story’s climax made everything worth it as it was a fitting end to not just this installment,but action movies in general.
While Last Blood did not have an enormous cast it was effective for a movie such as this. Stallone was in rare form as John Rambo. While the character deals with dilemmas that have plagued him since 1982, the character was still fresh thanks Rambo being in a different environment and gaining new development by having a family. Along with the new aspects to the character was Stallone’s solid performance as war veteran. Even after all these years Stallone has not lost a beat playing the action hero. As for the rest of the cast they were decent in their roles. The likes Gabriela and her grandmother Maria (Adriana Barraza) were good supporting characters for Rambo, but other additions like Rambo’s ally Carmen (Paz Vega) had little to offer due to her limited screen time. The villains Hugo and Victor Martinez (Sergio Peris-Macheta/Óscar Jaenada) were typical baddies who really just there to get their comeuppance; although I cannot say they were bad at their jobs as I eagerly awaited their demises.
When it comes to action the Rambo franchise has featured an array of styles ranging from gruesome to ridiculous moments. In the case of Last Blood the action was limited but definitely left an impact. The action sequences could be subtle in delivery but it was very much effective as each scene was creatively brutal. Enhancing the action was the movie’s gore which took me by surprise. While the series has never shied away from bloodshed the gore in the fifth installment was definitive and far more practical than I was expecting. Cementing things for the film was the music by Brian Tyler which was fairly decent to say the least. While the score may not have been the most memorable of compositions, it did its job by keeping true to the action packed nature behind Rambo.
Rambo: Last Blood was a fitting addition to the action series. While it could have had a stronger delivery in both story and characters, the movie makes for these issues by keeping true to its basics and having a strong lead characters. Along with these factors was the movie’s sense of action which certainly lived to the franchise’s standard. If this is the end for Rambo, then Last Blood was indeed a fitting conclusion as though it may not have ended with a bang it certainly did enough to be a satisfactory finale.