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RAMBO: LAST BLOOD gets 6.5/10 Final fatality

Directed by Adrian Grunberg
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Yvette Monreal, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Paz Vega

6.5/10

Violence is a useful thing to have in films. Aside from occasionally having narrative purpose, it can be used as entertainment value to fulfil our innate bloodlust, and this fifth Rambo film follows in the tradition of the fourth one by certainly quenching that thirst for blood, despite the blandness that goes along with its effectiveness. It sets up a bare-bones plot and clearly stated villains so that it can culminate in our all-American hero violently dismembering them in an increasingly gruesome variety of manners – Rambo: Last Blood is not an action film stumbling over its own complicatedness.

Our titular hero (Sylvester Stallone) is caught between two worlds when the idyllic life he offers his niece, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), isn’t enough for her, as she must cross over to Mexico to find her father. But it all goes pear-shaped for her when she is taken into a ruthless sex slavery ring, and as you can imagine, Rambo ain’t happy at all when he finds out. Thus begins a war between this one man and an army of coldblooded cartel gang members. The escalation of which eventually results in Rambo equipping his large estate with Home Alone-esque booby traps for these hell-bent killers that are coming after him.

Unlike the first in the series and very much like the previous in the series, Rambo: Last Blood is a very basic, standard, clearly defined, meat-and-potatoes action revenge film. It doesn’t view the baddies, along with their expendable cronies, with much complexity, they’re merely crass representations of the cruel, amoral subjugators of pain and suffering, so it can seem perfectly reasonable when Rambo employs his gory house of tricks upon them all.

It’s not as endlessly bloody as the last instalment, 2008’s Rambo, as it prefers the blood and guts to come out in fast and effective bursts, but the gore and action unfortunately reveal the film’s production’s shortcomings – much of the gruesome killings occur obscured in shadows, but that still doesn’t mask the obvious CG blood splatter, alleviating a bit of the fun.

Last Blood harks back to the action films of the 80s. Not so much First Blood, but moreso the simple-minded and simply effective action romps that featured Schwarzenegger or Chuck Norris, but now with far more gore. Aside from a particularly badass final kill, Last Blood and all its build-up and goriness isn’t hugely memorable or special, but a stupidly violent film like this feels welcome in an age where bloodless blockbusters surround it.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

 

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