I was born in the late 1970’s, which made me an unfortunate child of the 80’s without reaching my true teen years until the 90’s. if I’m being true to myself, which I always like to do, I got the best of everything. I grew up during the decades with the best music, the best technological innovation and the best movies. Not that we don’t have significant and fantastic technological advancements now. But I was there to use 8-track tapes and marvel as they were miniaturized into cassettes. Then I marvelled and nearly blinded myself with the wonder that was compact discs. I’ve seen movies on beta, followed by VHS and DVD, long before streaming services became a thing. One could say I’m a bit of a historian, in that respect…
When I was but a wee lad, i sat through a slow-moving yet captivating film called “First Blood.” Released in 1982, First Blood told the story of a Vietnam War vet who mustered out of the military and came home after his service. With no known family and nowhere to go, he sought out his old unit compatriots, only to discover they were all dead and gone. He wanders through a small town where he’s discriminated base don his appearance by the local sheriff and all hell breaks loose as he delivers military-grade justice against the sheriff’s department and the entire area as a whole.
As a 5-year old boy in the 1980’s, it was everything I could expect it to be. It had guns, shootouts and action, without much of the gore and violence that would actually be expected from such a movie. Having been born a few years after the end of the Vietnam War, I can’t say that I fully understood the implications of what I was watching. Having a grandfather as a War World II veteran taught me a few things, however. The film series saw sequels released in 1985 and 1988, respectively, with the former covering a return to Vietnam and the later being the conflict between Russia and Afghanistan. Despite critic reviews, I felt all three movies were fantastic and fit perfectly into the perspective I had of the action movie genre.
It wouldn’t be until a year before I joined the Force that they would release “Rambo” in 2008, which saw the titular character venture into a war-torn jungle to rescue Christian missionaries who were capture by insurgents. Considering all of these movies star Sylvester Stallone and he isn’t getting any younger, one would be inclined to think that perhaps it would be time to set down the compound bow and let Rambo lie where he was left; much like “Rocky Balboa,” where the titular character fights one final time and then has the god graces to bow out. Even in the recent Creed movies, Balboa takes more of a secondary role.
Apparently, the gun-toting, blade-wielding Rambo needed one last hurrah in Rambo:Last Blood. This final chapter (that we know of, so far) sees the titular character settled down in Arizona, having raised a young Mexican girl as his niece. He runs a small ranch with a bunch of bunker-style tunnels built beneath the surface and when the niece decides she needs to find her deadbeat father in Mexico, all hell breaks loose when Rambo has to go to Mexico to rescue her, only to have her die on the way home. When Mexican cartels come knocking, he’s ready and delivers Rambo-style justice in a way only an 80’s action hero could.
It has its fair share of cheesiness but it’s a good flic, with a fair share of gratuitous violence and gun play, as well as some imaginative traps and obstacles placed by the titular character. That last part is a bit surprising, since in previous sequels, Rambo mostly depended on shooting his way out of most situations. But in this one, he actually plans ahead and sets traps, which is a significant change. One could almost surmise that he’s gained some insight in his golden years and uses that to his advantage.
He takes a couple of wounds during the final battle, which is expected of a Rambo movie but I genuinely thought these wounds would be the end of him. And maybe they were. the movie ends with him riding off into the horizon on horseback, which could easily be symbolism for him passing away. Who knows? Maybe it’s up to the viewer to use their imagination. I’ve written about remakes, reboots and sequels decades after the fact on a number of different occasions. Depending on the movie, my opinions differ. A part of me is always happy to nostalgically relive the glory days of kick-ass movies. The logical part of me thinks Hollywood should develop an original idea.
All of that being said, if you’re looking to relive the glory days of classic action movies, Rambo: Last Blood may be right for you. Although the tone and gore of the movie may bot be right for some of modern society’s more tender sensibilities, it can still appeal to the remainder of my generation. I highly recommend it, if you’re looking for an easy, action-base watch on a slow evening. And best of all, it’s only an hour and a half long. considering the popular trend these days is to make movies two hours or longer, it even allows my generation to hit the sack all that much earlier. ☯️