Rambo: Last Blood Parent Guide
An unbelievably awful movie full of gory, bloody violence, including brutal scenes of torture. And the writing is dreadful too.
Parent Movie Review
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has been running his father’s horse ranch in Arizona since returning from Burma eleven years ago. Things are going well, and he has enjoyed helping his friend Maria (Adriana Barraza) raise her granddaughter, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal). But when Gabrielle runs off to Mexico to find her biological father, she encounters more trouble than she expected, and it’s up to Rambo to rescue her.
It’s difficult to know where to begin with this movie. There are so many crucial failures - an absence of any character development, turgid expository writing, awkward camera movement, Sylvester Stallone’s increasing resemblance to an old leather couch, and awful pacing are the tip of the iceberg. But it gets worse…
First, this is a horrendous depiction of Mexico and its citizens. Apart from Gabrielle and Maria, only one Mexican character isn’t a deranged criminal. While it would be disingenuous to claim that Mexico doesn’t have a problem with drug cartels, this depiction of all Mexicans as murderous, violent, rapacious criminals is both extremely racist and deeply unpleasant to watch. Every negative stereotype about the country has been cranked up to eleven in an attempt to justify Rambo’s slasher-film rampage.
Second, this film has an attitude towards sex-trafficking which is, if possible, just as distasteful as its portrayal of Mexico. While the women are unquestionably victims of a horrendous crime, the film sees no need to contextualize their experience within a global problem of sexual slavery or with attempts to eradicate it. The women’s suffering is just another bump in the road that sends the male hero off on his mission to slaughter as many people as he can kill in an 89 minute runtime. These women and their predicament are being used as a moronic macho motivation. While the movie’s villains treat women as sexual objects to be abused and sold, the script treats them as plot devices, not people – another form of objectification.
Finally, the violence is just ludicrous. I don’t mean to say it isn’t graphic, because it’s gorily, messily, sickeningly detailed. But once you’ve seen the alleged hero of the flick machine gun some corpses, the violence just loses all context. Actually, it loses it well before that when Rambo decides to torture a kidnapper for information by cutting him open and pulling organs out (apologies to anyone eating while reading this). My point is that without developing any kind of basic humanity in either the hero or the villains, the violence is just a series of gooey, blood-soaked special effects shots with no deeper resonance. Everyone is just a photocopy of a stereotype, and nothing that happens to them matters very much.
Although this cinematic disaster only runs for an hour and a half, I feel I’ve been robbed. And I didn’t even have to pay for my ticket. I find some comfort in the fact that I’m not alone: David Morrell, author of the original 1972 Rambo novel has said that he felt “degraded and dehumanized” after seeing the film. That’s a pretty damning indictment from the creator of your source material - and he’s not wrong. This is basically the ultra-violent version of Home Alone, but our would-be Kevin McAllister isn’t defending himself from burglars - he’s bolstering vicious and racist stereotypes through the most grotesque violence imaginable. If the violence doesn’t make you queasy, the socially nauseating messaging ought to.Directed by Adrian Grunberg. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, and Yvette Monreal. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release September 20, 2019. Updated December 17, 2019
Watch the trailer for Rambo: Last Blood
Rambo: Last Blood
Rating & Content Info
Why is Rambo: Last Blood rated R? Rambo: Last Blood is rated R by the MPAA for strong graphic violence, grisly images, drug use and language.
Violence: Individuals are shown being beaten, killed with hammers, stabbed, burned, impaled on spikes, decapitated, blown up, shot with both bullets and arrows, and having their hearts removed. This is all shown with graphic blood, gore, and general unpleasantness. Several scenes of torture occur.
Sexual Content: No direct nudity is shown, but there are frequent references to rape in an extremely unpleasant context.
Profanity: I counted 13 extreme profanities in English, with a similar number in Spanish. Frequent use of moderate profanity and occasional terms of deity also occur.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are scenarios which are implied to include underage drinking. Individuals are shown drinking in a bar. People are shown doing cocaine. Individuals are forcibly injected with heroin.
Page last updated December 17, 2019