‘He’s a hell of a tracker!’ a passer-by offers during the pre-credits of Adrian Grunberg’s action sequel, which would have been more fun under the title Rambo Number 5. And John Rambo is one hell of a tracker, a fighter, a one-man army; over five films, his kill count must be in the hundreds, and this final instalment sets a more personal goal in its attempt to evoke the opening salvo in the Rambo saga; First Blood.
Sylvester Stallone may be getting on, but at least he looks the part as Rambo: Last Blood sensibly keeps the running and chasing to a minimum, and the star is understandably coy about keeping his shirt on this time around. A friend’s daughter unwisely heads across the US/Mexican border, and is kidnapped, leaving John Rambo as her last hope. His foray across the border is successful in bringing the girl back, but leads to some ‘bad hombres’ heading to Rambo’s place for some reprisals.
‘I hate to break it to you, but nobody writes letters any more’ is a line delivered to Rambo that emphasises the man-out-of-time conceit, but Rambo: Last Blood has concerns other then the demise of epistolary culture. Despite a brief shot of a slatted border wall, the politics are not persuasive enough to capture Presidential attentions as the second Rambo film did, and the use of tunnels under Rambo’s house to trap enemies evokes Home Alone as much as Skyfall
Yet despite a slow burn start, and a trailer that misleads about the nature of the action, the last twenty minutes of Last Blood are a reasonably rousing hurrah for one of cinema’s great action heroes. It may not be the all-guns blazing send off the fans want, but it’s not a dud either, and those looking to squeeze the last drops of pleasure out of the Rambo franchise should find that the conclusion of this one burns like a magnesium shard.