Rambo: Last Blood is a 2019 action film directed by Adrian Grunberg (Get the Gringo & Here on Earth). It’s a direct sequel to 2008’s Rambo & the 5th film in the Rambo franchise. Grunberg is mainly known for being an assistant director on such films as Traffic, Dance with the Devil, Amores Perros, Collateral Damage, Man on Fire, Jarhead, & the television show Narcos. It was written by Sylvester Stallone (Rocky franchise, Rambo franchise, The Expendables franchise, & Cobra) & Matthew Cirulnick (Paid in Full, South Beach, & Absentia). It was produced by Avi Lerner (American Ninja franchise, The Expendables franchise, Hellboy, & Rambo), Les Weldon (London Has Fallen/Angel Has Fallen, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Conan the Barbarian, & The Expendables franchise), Kevin King Templeton (Creed 1/2, Escape Plan, Rocky Balboa, & Cop Land), & 25 other producers. It was originally called Savage Hunt & The Last Stand in pre-production. The development for the project first started in 2009. Two different versions were released during it’s theatrical run. The budget was $50 million & it grossed $91 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
Eleven years after the events in Burma, Vietnam War veteran John Rambo (played by: Sylvester Stallone from Tango & Cash, Escape Plan franchise, Demolition Man, Judge Dredd, & Lock Up) lives in Arizona in his deceased father’s horse ranch with his old friend Maria Beltran (played by: Adriana Barraza from Thor, Drag Me to Hell, Babel, & Amores Perros) & her granddaughter Gabriela (played by: Yvette Monreal from Stargirl, Faking It, Lowriders, & Once Upon a Superhero). Gabriela reveals to Rambo that a friend of hers, Gizelle (played by: Fenessa Pineda from The Fosters) has found Gabriela’s biological father in Mexico. Against Rambo & Maria’s wishes, Gabriela secretly drives to Mexico to ask why he had abandoned their family years ago. Gizelle takes the heartbroken Gabriela to a local club, where Gabriela is drugged & kidnapped by enforcers of a Mexican cartel. They deal with human trafficking & sex slaves. Rambo travels to Mexico & interrogates various people about Gabriela’s whereabouts. Rambo follows El Flaco (played by: Pascacio López from Rosario Tijeras & El Torito) to a secret location. A mysterious woman named Carmen Delgado (played by: Paz Vega from Cat Run, Acts of Vengeance, Triage, & Spanglish) follows both Rambo & El Flaco. Rambo is immediately confronted, beaten, & marked by the cartel. They are led by brothers Hugo (played by: Sergio Peris-Mencheta from Snowfall, The Evil That Men Do, Love Ranch, & Resident Evil: Afterlife) & Victor Martinez (played by: Óscar Jaenada from The Losers, The Shallows, Hands of Stone, & Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides). The cartel vow to mistreat Gabriela further due to Rambo’s actions. Carmen takes Rambo back to her home where she cares for him until he fully recovers. Rambo later raids one of the brothels where he kills several men & finds a drugged Gabriela. He tries to take her home but he was too late to save her from an overdose. Rambo is out for revenge & a sets a trap at his home for the vicious cartel that’s coming for him. Can he survive this war at home? or Will Rambo finally lose after all of these years of fighting back????
Rambo: Last Blood tries to separate itself from the other entries from the Rambo series. John Rambo no longer has his iconic long hair which really makes the character & I think it was weird seeing this iconic role changed up so much. They tried something different with the story also, it’s no longer set in a war zone or a foreign country. It’s now in America & more of a revenge feature than an actual sequel to this known franchise. It actually feels more like a Taken movie than anything. The biggest problem with Last Blood is the flow of the film, it’s really show & it takes a long time for something to happen. I do appreciate the extended character development but for an action production it needs to pick up faster than that. Sylvester Stallone plays Rambo a little different here, it’s one of his better recent performances. He talks more in this compared to the others. Sergio Peris-Mencheta & Óscar Jaenada are both solid villains. The rest of the supporting cast elevated Last Blood. I personally think it’s the weakest film from the series but it’s still a solid sequel because it definitely pays off if you are patient with it. Rambo does his own version of Home Alone for the finale. The last 30 minutes is beyond brutal & features all kinds of gruesome violence. I just wish more of the movie was like that earlier. They wanted to go a different direction with this feature & it works for the last half but it could have been so much better. I still had lots of fun with it, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Lionsgate! This 2160p (2.39:1) transfer with Dolby Vision & HDR10 looks great in this format. Like I said above, it doesn’t really feel or look like a Rambo but it’s a good revenge flick. It has 4 different audio options which includes English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, & Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 on this UHD disc. It’s a little slower than other Rambo films but when it picks up, it sounds amazing. The dialogue is crystal clear, all the chaos has a killer boost to it, & the music is elevated here. It also has English SDH & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Lionsgate! The little over 50 minute “Drawing Last Blood: Multipart Production Diary” is broken down into 5 different segments which includes the little over 7 minute ” New Blood – Week 1 / October 8, 2018″, the little over 6 minute “Something To Fight For – Week 2 / October 15, 2018”, the little over 13 minute “Heaven Above/Hell Below – Week 3 / October 22, 2018”, the little over 13 minute “Forged In Hellfire – Week 4 / October 29, 2018”, & the the little over 8 minute “Nothing Is Over”. It has all kinds of behind the scenes footage. It has commentary over it from director Adrian Grunberg, actor Sylvester Stallone, other cast members, & various members of the production. Stallone says this isn’t an action film. It’s a drama feature. They chat about picking Grunberg to direct because he knew the area, the history of the crimes, & they enjoyed Get the Gringo. Stallone talks about character movies being on their last leg & he wants to save it. He says they explain nothing these days & don’t get personal anymore in cinema. They go over the production of the sequel. Stallone mentions that it’s 10 years after the last one. He is no longer a loner & has a family here. They go over the locations & what was built for Last Blood. They discuss the characters & the story for this follow up. They mention the crew & show special fx being filmed. They all go over the John Rambo character & the changes he has went through. The cast & crew discuss the finale for this film. “From First Note to Last Blood: Music for the Massacres” is a little over 17 minute interview with composer Brian Tyler. This is very similar to his previous extra on the Rambo 4K release. He says he tries to pay tribute to original composer Jerry Goldsmith. He brings up he used some of the same music from the sequel before this but changed it up for this one. He plays some of the music from the feature. He breaks down the score in great detail. He shows a variety of spots with different instruments. He gets real excited while doing all of this. He explains the mixing process & difference on the various releases of the music. He says the theater & album mixes both require precise methods for their highest quality. It has a “Theatrical Trailer” for the film. It also comes with a slipcover, a digital code, & a blu ray copy of the release. Every Rambo film has been released on 4K/UHD now thanks to Lionsgate. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!