Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.
Rambo: Last Blood
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Paz Vega, Adriana Barraza, Joaquín Cosio
Director: Adrian Grunberg
Confessions of an action-flick junkie!
Alright, we have a confession to make. We have always enjoyed the Rambo movies. Truthfully, we have always found them to be a guilty pleasure of sorts. Needless to say, while he began as a sympathetic, broken-down, Vietnam Vet who had fallen through the cracks in the system that broke him in the first place, he quickly morphed into a progressive, Reagan-fueled, Jingoistic, one-man army bent on killing all of the wicked-evil bad guys who are bent on subjugating the weak and helpless souls across the world.
Rambo: Last Blood trailer
But we digress
(Yeah, we really did type the above.)
A quick trip thru the Rambo films
Still, let’s put all that aside for the moment, and focus on what actually occurred on in this most current Rambo film. So, it is nearly four decades after that tragic incident in that small town in Washington where those small-minded sheriffs were mean to him and “drew first blood.” These days, John Rambo has left his violent past behind. No longer is he living in Thailand but has returned to his ancestral home, in in Bowie, Arizona where his father owned a ranch. Currently John lives there with his close friend and housekeeper, Maria Beltran (Adriana Barraza) and her teenage granddaughter Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), who considers John as something of a Dutch uncle. Gabrielle’s mother passed away many years ago, and her abusive ex-husband abandoned her long before that (the story hints that he might have even been chased off by John who did so because of the continued abuse of Gabrielle’s mother).
Rambo as a cowboy
Gabrielle 's Story
Gabrielle is getting set to go off to college but is insistent on tracking down her long-absent father in Mexico first. Both her grandmother and John insist that is a terrible idea, but Gabrielle is dead set on doing it, and without their blessing, does exactly that when a girl she knows who is currently living in Mexico contacts here with information on Gabrielle’s father. Once in Mexico, Gabrielle seeks out her friend Jezel, who leads Gabrielle to her father.
Rambo and his Niece
Here's where it all goes South
Unfortunately, not only is her father remarried, but he tells her that he left because has no interest in being her father and that she should leave, which she does. Turning a bad situation worse, Jezel leads the heartbroken Gabrielle to a bar where she gets drunk and then picked up by a chicken hawk, who abducts her. The next morning Maria gets a call from Jezel saying that Gabrielle has disappeared. Concerned for her safety, John proceeds to drive to Mexico and find Gabrielle himself. Once there he locates Jezel and soon realizes that she was the one who turned Gabrielle over to a human trafficking ring.
John's on a Mexican raid(io)!
Rambo to the rescue
John pressures her to take him to the club where she brought Gabrielle and point out the guy she sold her to. John assaults the guy then forces him to reveal where Gabrielle was taken, and then heads there himself. Only it winds up badly with John getting the beat-down of his life by the gang. Left to die, John is rescued by Carmen Delgado (Paz Vega), a journalist who is tracking the brothers who run the cartel that kidnapped Gabrielle and nursed back to health. John then (finally) goes all “Rambo” on the gang, killing several of them (including one of the brothers who run the cartel), and rescues Gabrielle.
John Rambo at home
When things go really, really bad
Unfortunately, she has been held captive for several days by now and (presumably) constantly doped up, and (repeatedly) raped. Needless to say, she dies on the way back to the U.S. Knowing that the cartel will track him down (they took his driver’s license during the beat-down), the revived former solder, Rambo, rigs up the miles of tunnels under his ranch as well as the ranch itself for the onslaught he fully expects to follow him. Naturally enough, he is right, and a caravan of blood-thirsty Mexican drug-dealers and rapists follow Rambo across the border in order to extract their own revenge.
Now, we have read comments of folks who want to insist that Stallone (who is apparently a supporter of the current occupant if the White House) made this film which seems to have played on the president’s opening comments when he tossed his hat in the ring — that Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers —however, we would like to take exception with that and point out that in the first installment of this series, the “villains” were the redneck cracker sheriffs of small-town America; in the second film it was the Viet Cong, in the third it was Soviets, while in the fourth film it was the Burmese Army. Near as we can tell, it was simply the Mexican’s turn.
Burn, baby, burn!
It's all fun and games 'til everyone dies!
So, all of this brings us to the “lone-soldier-against-all-odds-end-of-film-bloodbath” for which we were all attending this film to see. Truth to tell (yes, we are something of a pacifist), but it was with no small amount of glee that our friend and ourself fully enjoyed watching Rambo take out these cartel members (they never stood a chance, this is Rambo, after all). Was the bloodletting over the top? Well, not nearly on the level of The Expendables, but it also wasn’t any worse than in any of the previous four Rambo films. Did we enjoy it? You betcha! This is, after a revenge-fantasy film (much on the same order as Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds).
You don't want to make him angry
And that's that
Does enjoying this film make us some sort of evil monster. We think not. Your mileage may differ.
© 2019 Robert J Sodaro