Keepin’ It Reel: Rambo: Last Blood

Rambo: Last Blood

Cassidy McKnight, Staff Writer

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Beginning in 1982, the Rambo series sparked great controversy by telling the story of a traumatized Vietnam War hero just nine years after the United States ceased its involvement in the war. Nevertheless, it became a popular survival film series, which some agree is on par with the “Taken” series. Before this weekend, I had never seen a Rambo film at all. Surprisingly, it exceeded my expectations greatly and I realized that I did not need to watch the previous films to understand this one. “Rambo: Last Blood” was a graphic and detailed thriller that keeps you gripping your seat throughout the entire film.

John Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone, is a Vietnam War veteran who has been through many different challenges since he left the battlefield, all while suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Almost four decades after his first appearance in “First Blood,” Rambo is faced with a situation that hits home, quite literally. His niece Gabrielle, played by Yvette Monreal, is taken by a drug cartel while trying to find her father. She is forced into sex trafficking and drugged for four days before Rambo finds her. After finding her beaten, drugged and traumatized, Rambo enacts revenge. He creates a mousetrap of sorts for the cartel at his farmhouse, using all the techniques he used in the previous films. It’s a blood bath between Rambo and the cartel, ending in lots of gory deaths and explosions.

Now, this gore was a key part of why newcomers to the film series, like myself, were so intrigued, but it was also a big letdown for people who grew up enjoying these films. They felt the extra 21st-century graphic deaths today’s movies are known for diminishing the plot of “Rambo: Last Blood” and take away from the legacy of the series. Personally, I really enjoyed the gore in this film. This movie’s graphics really are not for everyone, though, because even I, a huge horror movie buff, cringed away at some scenes. So let this be a warning to all viewers of “Rambo: Last Blood,” there are some scenes that are so graphic, that they are similar to “Saw” or “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” I didn’t receive a warning like that, so you can imagine my surprise when the first scene came on screen. So, make sure your stomach is prepared.

Like always, Sylvester Stallone’s acting did not disappoint in “Rambo: Last Blood.” If you’ve never seen the previous movies, like me, you’ll probably remember Stallone from his other famous movie series, “Rocky” and “The Expendables.” Stallone’s acting career has always held up and exceeded expectations with action-packed characters. Honestly, I grew up loving the “Rocky” film series, so Sylvester Stallone was one of the main reasons I chose to watch “Rambo: Last Blood.” I really wanted to see Stallone back in his natural habitat: kicking serious butt with limited resources and lots of explosions. So, if you’re a fan of Stallone’s previous movies, I highly recommend going to see the fifth installment in the “Rambo” series.

Overall, “Rambo: Last Blood” truly piqued my interest and I plan on binging the other four movies because this film has gotten me hooked on the plot and I hope by watching the other four I will get a better understanding of the fifth and final installment. Taking into account the awesome graphics, the amount of gore, the thrill-seeking attitude and the always amazing acting of Sylvester Stallone, “Rambo: Last Blood” has earned a 7 out of 10 in my book. Now, some fans of the series may not agree, arguing that the amount of gore takes away from the legacy that the other four movies left behind. For those fans, try to remember I have yet to see the other four movies. To me, this film was interesting, thrilling and downright nerve-wracking at times. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would happily watch it again, after the other four.

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