A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rambo: Last Blood is the fifth installment in the Rambo series starring Sylvester Stallone. Like all the sequels since the soulful first movie, it elevates intense gore over character. Violence is extremely graphic, with heavy guns and shooting, knives and stabbing, and tons of gore. Characters are killed, caught in traps, and burned. Body parts are severed and sliced out, and there are violent flashbacks to Vietnam. Plus, teen girls are kidnapped into a sex trafficking ring; they're shown to have been punched and cut and are given drugs. Language is also strong, with several uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. Sexual content is mild; one teen tries to kiss another at a party, and a teen girl is ogled in a club. Villains drink alcohol and snort cocaine in nightclubs, there's a reference to drinking too much, the main character briefly takes prescription meds, and background characters smoke.
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As the world is now well aware of child and sex trafficking, this movie gives us a peek into a contrived scenario where Rambo gets p... Continue reading
What's the story?
In RAMBO: LAST BLOOD, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is finally enjoying a quiet life, living on a horse ranch in Arizona alongside Maria (Adriana Barraza) and her teen granddaughter, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), whom he's helped raise and whom he considers family. When Gabrielle learns the whereabouts of her biological father (who left long ago), she heads to Mexico, without permission, to find him. Unfortunately, she's kidnapped and taken into a human trafficking ring. Rambo goes to Mexico to retrieve her but finds himself outnumbered and badly beaten. Journalist Carmen Delgado (Paz Vega) nurses him back to health, and he enters the den of thieves once more. This time, though, he's brought a war to his own front yard. Fortunately, he's ready.
Is it any good?
Though it (vainly) tries for some of the human soul that drove the 1982 original, this fifth entry in the Rambo series is ultimately little more than a cheap, gory revenge fantasy. Coming 11 years after Rambo (2008), Rambo: Last Blood -- will this really be the last one? -- is basically a series of simple setups with predictable payoffs. We meet the pure, sheltered Gabrielle, who's so innocent and full of promise that she's not much more than a kidnap victim waiting to happen. We're also introduced to a series of military-grade tunnels -- with nooks and crannies stocked with guns, knives, and bows and arrows -- dug under Rambo's ranch, which seems like the perfect place for a climactic showdown.
Even though the movie isn't very long, it still feels like a bit of a wait before any of this inevitable stuff actually happens, not to mention that a long "trap setting" montage gives away most of the carnage to come. Stallone slips back into the character easily, carrying a lifetime's worth of hurt and rage and "trying to keep a lid on it." But the film's attempts to infuse the movie with heart, such as audio flashbacks to previous "touching" conversations, fall flat. The rest of the characters mean nothing; they're only there to react to him. The direction by Adrian Grunberg is mostly serviceable, though sometimes clunky, and Rambo: Last Blood eventually achieves the kind of mindless, primal kick it tries for. But it's easily forgotten.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Rambo: Last Blood's violence. How intense/extreme is it? How did it make you feel, and how did the filmmakers achieve this feeling? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Why are stories about revenge popular in the media? Is revenge ever justified?
What does the movie have to say about guns? Do you agree?
How does this movie compare with the rest of the Rambo films? How has the main character changed or evolved?
- In theaters: September 20, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: December 17, 2019
- Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Adriana Barraza
- Director: Adrian Grunberg
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong graphic violence, grisly images, drug use and language
- Last updated: July 16, 2020
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