Film Score Monthly
Screen Archives Entertainment 250 Golden and Silver Age Classics on CD from 1996-2013! Exclusive distribution by SCREEN ARCHIVES ENTERTAINMENT.
Wild Bunch, The King Kong: The Deluxe Edition (2CD) Body Heat Friends of Eddie Coyle/Three Days of the Condor, The Ben-Hur Nightwatch/Killer by Night Space Children/The Colossus of New York, The Not With <i>My</i> Wife, You Don’t! Vol. 2—Original Soundtrack Great Santini, The
Forgot Login?
Search Archives
Film Score Friday
Latest Edition
Previous Edition
Archive Edition
The Aisle Seat
Latest Edition
Previous Edition
Archive Edition
View Mode
Regular | Headlines
All times are PT (Pacific Time), U.S.A.
Site Map
Visits since
February 5, 2001:
© 2020 Film Score Monthly.
All Rights Reserved.
Return to Articles 

Message Board (open 24 hours!)

Twitter - @andredursin (for everything else!)

The fifth and perhaps final adventure of John Rambo finds the Vietnam vet having settled on the family ranch in Arizona, living out his retirement while managing his internal demons…at least until the college-bound daughter of a family friend decides to go to Mexico. Hoping to reconcile with her destitute father, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal) instead becomes the victim of a date-rape drug and is subsequently bound for a life in sex trafficking – all in one night! And that, of course, doesn’t sit well with Sylvester Stallone’s hero, especially once he stops taking his meds.

Stallone and Matt Cirulnick’s script for “Last Blood” actually starts off well, believably establishing the relationship between Rambo and Gabrielle, and Sly’s grizzled delivery comes off as a convincing extension of the same character he essayed in Ted Kotcheff’s original 1982 “First Blood.” Yet once the second half of the film kicks into gear, “Last Blood” loses its momentum and never recovers. The pacing turns completely awkward – second-billed lead Paz Vega’s character has no pay off whatsoever – while the picture commits a major narrative blunder that takes whatever emotional investment one might have in the story and chucks it out the window.

Stallone’s 2008 “Rambo” was a potent piece of action filmmaking that was understandably separated in tone and tenor from the ‘80s blockbusters that preceded it – yet still felt connected thematically with Rambo finding a “cause to fight for.” This lower-budgeted new entry, directed by Mel Gibson protégé Adrian Grunberg, offers even less of the same cinematic DNA, especially since Rambo suffers a major defeat in his quest, turning the pre-ordained bloody climax into less a piece of rousing violent triumph (like its predecessors) and more a rote rerun of “Death Wish.” Rambo runs around the underground tunnels beneath his ranch and takes out one generic Mexican cartel smuggler after another, but none of it offers any suspense or release since Rambo’s not fighting for anything other than serving the audience with a succession of ridiculously gory kills.

Grunberg’s direction, meanwhile, lacks the raw visceral intensity Stallone brought to the last “Rambo” outing, with his strongest cinematic trick reserved for passing-off Portugal and Bulgaria as Arizona and Mexico! Ultimately, though, Stallone’s prior entry should’ve been Rambo’s swan song – the iconic action hero was deserving of more than the limp cinematic rubble he’s finally reduced to here. (**, 89 mins., R; Lionsgate)

Return to Articles Author Profile
Comments (0):Log in or register to post your own comments
There are no comments yet. Log in or register to post your own comments
Film Score Monthly Online
Powell Answers the Call
Film Composers Who Rock, Part 1
The Outsider's Lodge
Sundance 2020, Part 1: The Ecstasy and the Agony
John Williams in Vienna
Wong's Turn: A Few More Thoughts on 2019
Concert Review: Elmer at the Autry
Ear of the Month Contest: John Powell, Vol. 2
Today in Film Score History:
February 18
John Bisharat born (1964)
Lalo Schifrin begins recording his score for Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971)
Nathan Van Cleave records his score for The Colossus of New York (1958)
Nathaniel Shilkret died (1982)
Paul Baillargeon records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Hatchery” (2004)
Tommy Tallarico born (1968)
FSMO Featured Video
Video Archive • Audio Archive
© 2020 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved...