Landon Roberts, Contributing Writer
It’s really hard for me to walk out of a theater with the mindset that I wasted my time watching the movie I just saw. Even if the film was awful, I’m at least able to have a few laughs at the absurdity that I just experienced.
However, “Rambo: Last Blood” has made me finally utter the words, “What a waste of time,” because of its insensitive and outwardly ignorant underlying political message.
“Rambo: First Blood,” released in 1982, was a thematic film about the failure of the U.S. government to offer help to soldiers with PTSD. Yes, the film had action, but it was mostly interested in dissecting the psyche of war veteran John Rambo — played by Sylvester Stallone — returning to a country that has failed him.
After the release of this original film, the series deluded itself into an action franchise that turned the troubled veteran into a murdering machine the audience was supposed to idolize because he was killing the enemies of the U.S. Whether it was Soviet Russia in “Rambo III” or a terrorist group in “Rambo” (2008) the message was always clear: John Rambo was supposed to rally audiences against the common enemy of the time in hopes to boost morale during a war effort. In turn, the films became a propaganda machine.
So this brings us to “Rambo: Last Blood.” Who is John Rambo fighting this time? Well, the answer is a Mexican gang.
After John Rambo’s niece Gabrielle visits Mexico she is kidnapped and sold into sex slavery, so Rambo has to do what he does best, get revenge.
This story has been told hundreds of times, but where the film fails completely is through its portrayal of Mexico and its people. Every character from Mexico is shown as a criminal or a rapist with no redeeming qualities.
These horrific one-note portrayals are so offensive that I contemplated walking out of the theater on multiple occasions.
The film is so dead set on its portrayal of Mexico as an enemy that it even decides to throw in a montage of the gang gearing up, intercut by shots of the border wall. The disgusting and hateful choices made through the editing of this montage really solidified this film as a true propaganda piece for Trump’s America.
Even without these maleficent messages, the film is still a complete mess.
The cinematography and shot composition are bland with an oversaturated color palette that switches from shot-reverse-shot to shaky-cam action. The only time the film adds any interesting shots is when it portrays grotesque violence and gore enacted upon Rambo’s enemies.
This boring and bland direction pairs well with Stallone’s performance. Every time the camera focused on him during a reaction shot, the audience was met with a soulless stare reminiscent of a zoned-out child in math class.
Stallone’s production company may have made this film, but it’s hard to believe he has any interest in this character anymore.
Even during the scenes that require Stallone to ride a horse, the stunt double is noticeable. At some points, Stallone is added into the scene through some absolutely terrible CGI horseback-riding.
“Rambo: Last Blood” has earned the title of the worst movie I’ve ever sat through due to its blatant propaganda and overall mediocrity.