Rambo: Last Blood is “not everyone’s cup of tea.” Or so says this newly-released promo for Sly Stallone’s latest (and potentially final?) big-screen appearance as the buff, gruff Vietnam war vet.
Embedded below, this stinger arrives after a pretty turbulent weekend for Last Blood, after critics lambasted the fifth Rambo movie as a cheap and gory revenge fantasy. Perhaps more troubling is the racist undertones of the film’s script, itself penned by Stallone, Matthew Cirulnick and Dan Gordon, which ships John Rambo south of the border to kill evil Mexicans – a premise so ill-conceived it left the character’s founding father, David Morrell, “embarrassed” to be associated with Rambo: Last Blood. Strong words, indeed.
Stallone is yet to respond at the time of writing, but he did, however, post a fresh promo for Last Blood which calls out those viewers who, ahem, “can’t handle Rambo.” The ad even contains archived footage from what appears to be the premiere of the original Rambo back in ’82, when Stallone’s jacked-up action hero was again dismissed for being too violent.
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But is cinematic violence really the issue here? John Wick: Chapter 3 is an exceptionally violent film, yet managed to woe critics with its story and razor-sharp editing. The problem here seems to be rooted in Last Blood‘s central storyline. Frankly, if it left David Morrell embarrassed, then Stallone’s latest effort may well be beyond saving… critically, at least.
In spite of all this, Rambo: Last Blood scooped up $19 million at the weekend box office and may well be on route to a franchise-best opening. It’s also notched a surprisingly high audience score across multiple review aggregators – IMDb, Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes… you name it – so it remains to be seen whether this blowback has much of an impact on Rambo’s immediate future.