Rambo: Last Blood (1 star)

Rambo: Last Blood

Unpleasant final outing for Sylvester Stallone's vengeful Vietnam veteran

Sylvester Stallone's PTSD-afflicted Vietnam vet John Rambo returns for a last hurrah in this ultra-violent revenge movie that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Stallone was clearly inspired to resurrect Rambo after the success of bringing back Rocky (his other iconic tough nut) in the Creed movies but, on the evidence here, he should have left well alone.

The story begins on the Arizona horse ranch Rambo (Stallone) was seen returning to over a decade ago, at the end of the last movie, 2008's Rambo. When his teenage niece Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal) impulsively heads to Mexico to find her absent father (Marco de la O), she swiftly gets snatched, sold into sexual slavery, shot full of heroin and viciously disfigured, prompting Rambo to embark on a bloody revenge mission. Inevitably, members of the cartel come looking for Rambo at his ranch, where he has handily prepared a network of booby-trapped tunnels for just such an occasion.

The Rambo movies have always been unabashedly right-wing and that's truer than ever this time round, with a depiction of Mexicans (here, rapists, murderers and thugs to a man) that's frankly Trumpian. There's an attempt at depicting one of them as a decent human being – Paz Vega's independent journalist – but it's a token gesture at best, as she barely has any dialogue.

In fairness, it's not as if Rambo fans are there for the performances, which is just as well, as Stallone is even more mumbly and incoherent than he was in the previous movies. Director Adrian Grunberg (How I Spent My Summer Vacation) is keenly aware that the audience is expecting a deluge of insanely brutal death and torture scenes and he duly delivers, including a wince-inducing bit with a collar bone and the relentless series of death-traps and head-shots that constitutes the climax. Perversely, the horrific finale makes Rambo himself seem like the real monster, making you briefly wonder if Stallone is aware of the irony. On balance, one suspects not.

General release from Thu 19 Sep.

Rambo: Last Blood

  • 1 star
  • 2019
  • US
  • 1h 41min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Adrian Grunberg
  • Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Óscar Jaenada
  • UK release: 19 September 2019

Rambo (Stallone) heads to Mexico to rescue his teenage niece (Monreal) from the cartels. Stallone is even more mumbly incoherent than he was in previous movies. Grunberg delivers a deluge of brutal death and torture scenes, the film’s depiction of Mexicans is frankly Trumpian, and Rambo himself unwittingly comes across as…