Movie Review – Rambo: Last Blood - Caleb Jones

I am now going to give you one of the most biased movie reviews you’ve probably ever read. The difference is that, unlike everyone else, I will clearly disclose my bias. 

First Blood is one of my favorite movies of all time. Rambo is a character I grew up with. I consider Sylvester Stallone to be a personal role model. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything he’s ever said or done, just that I consider his rags-to-riches success story, fantastic work ethic, and impressive aging as things to emulate. 1980s action movies were such a big part of my childhood that I think some aspects of my personality today were formed by them, at least to a small degree. 

Rambo 2 and Rambo 3 were silly but fun movies I enjoyed when I was a young man. The 2008 Rambo movie was one of the best action movies of the entire 2000s and I still re-watch it to this day when I have time. 

So, I’m a huge Rambo fan, Stallone fan, and 80s action fan, and I’m sure that’s going to color my opinion of this movie. Keep that in mind when you read this review. 

This movie was fucking beautiful. I’m actually shocked that it wasn’t stupid and that the dialog wasn’t lame. Yes, the action was awesome, but that’s to be expected. Quality action is a standard baseline a hardcore action movie like this needs to at least meet, and it does.  

My point is that everything else wasn’t bad. The acting was actually pretty good. One of the actors is actually Academy-nominated (Adriana Barraza). The dialog, while not Shakespearean (it’s a fucking Rambo movie, c’mon), isn’t bad at all, and I actually liked some of the lines. 

“I can’t control what’s out there.” 

“I tried to come home, but I never really arrived.” 

The characters, all of them, actually make sense and you understand their motivations. Even when they do something really dumb (and one in particular does something very dumb), it makes sense for the character. 

The character of Rambo stays intact. I always worry that a new Rambo movie will make Rambo do or say things that Rambo wouldn’t say or do, and that didn’t happen. As David Morrell has said (the guy who wrote the book upon which the first Rambo movie was based), these new Rambo movies finally understand the character of Rambo (which Rambo 2 and Rambo 3 did not), a deeply disturbed and flawed man with incurable PTSD from the Vietnam War, not a superhero. 

It dawned on me after watching this movie that this is the first film in which Rambo battles truly evil people. In first movie he fights a few hick cops. In the second, third, and fourth movies he battles soldiers. Sometimes ‘bad’ soldiers, but just soldiers doing a job. In this movie, he goes up against villains who are truly the scum of the Earth. And I’ve researched enough regarding the Mexican cartels to know that what was portrayed in this movie was not exaggerated. Some really horrible things happen to innocent people in this movie, and yeah, that shit happens in real life. 

I won’t give away any plot details other than to say that this a very dark film that doesn’t really have a happy ending, which is good. The movie tricks you into thinking that it’ll be a Rambo version of Taken when it suddenly does a hard right and becomes a Rambo version of Home Alone, in a good way. 

The violence, like in any Rambo movie, is extreme. People get their heads blown off, their limbs blown off, their organs ripped out, and so on. This is not a movie for people with weak stomachs or fragile egos. It’s a fuckin’ Rambo movie. I really liked a scene in particular where Rambo fires four arrows into a certain pattern (shown in the trailers) and later you find out exactly why he does that. 

This movie doesn’t hit you over the head with action. It slowly ramps up to it for a giant, long finale. I really like action movies that do this, the ones with little to no action at the start but slowly burn towards a craptastic and mind-blowing action conclusion. (The movie that does this better than any other is the Hong Kong action film SPL: Sha Po Lang.) 

Seeing Rambo again, hearing that Rambo theme song again, a stirring piece of music I’ve been listening to since 1982, man, it just made me smile. Well done, Stallone. 

As I demonstrated at this article here, today’s movie critics have become unable to remove their political opinions from their enjoyment, or lack thereof, from the movies they watch. Therefore this movie is getting poor reviews, not because it’s a bad movie (it’s a great movie), but because it shows some Mexicans doing bad things (while most of the key Mexican characters are very good people doing very good things, and Stallone is the only white person in the entire movie) and Toxic Masculinity™. So, it’s doing the Dave Chappelle thing where the scores from (the largely left-wing) critics are low but scores from audiences are very high.  

Rambo: Last Blood is fantastic. It’s not perfect, and it’s not even the best Rambo movie. Doesn’t matter. To watch Stallone kick so much ass at age 73 is a wonder to behold. I highly, highly recommend it. 

Before I go, here are my rankings for every Rambo movie in order of how good they are: 

  1. First Blood
  2. Rambo (2008)
  3. Rambo: Last Blood
  4. Rambo 2
  5. Rambo 3

If you have not seen First Blood, dude! What the hell? Watch it RIGHT NOW. It’s a classic and always will be. 

9 Comments on “Movie Review – Rambo: Last Blood

  1. I always will watch First Blood when it’s on-just one of the films that never gets old. And I like when they have the balls to not do the happy ending in movies(although the book ending was even less happy). Rambo is a very tragic and flawed character and I like that they kept him that way in Last Blood as well. It’s secondary a bit but also a cautionary tale of pushing someone too far till they snap…I’m assuming this will be part of the story of Joker coming out soon.

    Man that end scene First Blood when he’s with Trautman always gets me. The horror those guys faced in wars and coming back expecting to be respected(more like after WWII) for your service, only to me met with scorn was a real thing for Vietnam vets.

    Stallone is one of my favs from growing up as well-the original Rocky is one of my favorite movies along with First Blood.

  2. Well damn, Sly still has decent forearms at 72. Will definitely watch. I hope the movie ends up grossing well despite the negative reviews.

  3. sweet. was on the fence. sometimes i feel movies are too much risk with negative programming but sounds like the coast is clear on this one.

  4. I definitely agree with your rating of the 5 Rambo Movies:
    First Blood
    Rambo (2008)
    Last Blood
    Rambo 2
    Rambo 3

    Though I would have liked to see a little more, I thought “Last Blood” was a little short. I think they could have added in at least another 30 minutes. Overall I was quite happy with it!

  5. Though I would have liked to see a little more, I thought “Last Blood” was a little short. I think they could have added in at least another 30 minutes.

    Yeah, agree.

    But I’d rather have a good short movie than a longer movie that starts well and ends badly.

    For example, the first 35 minutes of Terminator Genisys is actually really good… but then the rest of the movie happens and you want to throw up.

  6. I agree with you 100 percent First Blood is a great movie and the book was also good. As far as your list goes I would put Last Blood ahead of Rambo 2008

  7. You’ve got Joker (which looks like absolute shit) out next week, so this looks like it’ll flop from the current box office. The gruesome violence means people overseas will have to be 18 to see it, which doesn’t help as parents can’t take teens to see it. It’ll do well in its afterlife.

  8. Rambo was an ultra superhero to me, even tho i had to sneak in the tv scenes while my parents werent around. Ill never forget seeing the arrow pin that guy to a tree through his head, while he was going for rambo’s girl. (Rambo 3?). I was grossed out and relieved at the same time. Recently, There have been several movies which spilled the beans on cartel violence in mexico lately which i was surprised by. Sicario 1 and 2, The Mule, the avengers movie mentioned it for a second, and this one. The sjw bloggers seem triggered each time, but anyone who travels knows its the reality. I liked this movie. My only issue was that the beginning seemed to take forever, and it was so sad, the revenge almost didnt make up for the devastation i felt for his loss. I also felt terrible for Rambo being so old now and still being dragged back into violence and ultimately, loneliness. I kind of wanted to leave him at the ranch in 2008 and let him retire I guess. I had a feeling he kinda wouldnt mind dying a hero’s death, but he keeps living through to the next tragic call to fight.

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