Rambo: Last Blood
Sylvester Stallone & Matthew Cirulnick
September 20, 2019
$63,000,000 (so far)
Rambo: Last Blood (also known as, Last Blood or Rambo V: Last Stand) is the fifth and, to date, final installment in the Rambo series.
Sylvester Stallone claimed he was working on a script treatment, but in January 2016, he revealed that he was retiring the character of John Rambo. However, in May 2016, Stallone teased about another concept for Rambo V and in May 2018, Rambo V was officially re-announced.
It was released on September 20, 2019.
Eleven years have passed since the events in Burma, and John Rambo has returned to the United States from Thailand. He once again lives in Bowie, Arizona and works semi-retired on his long-estranged family's horse ranch. Rambo lives there with his old friend, Maria Beltran, and her granddaughter, Gabriela Beltran. Since they had helped him settle back into civilian life in America, the two are like family to him, and he considers Gabrielle his niece. Though his life is free from the violence that had long defined it, Rambo still suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, which Gabriela helps him cope with.
Things take a turn for the worst when Gabriela is told by her friend, Gizelle, who is living in Mexico, that she has located her father, Manuel. Manuel had abandoned his family after Gabriela's mother died of cancer almost a decade previously. Despite preparing to go to college and with a promising future ahead of her, Gabriela desires to find closure on why he left her and insists on going to see him. Rambo explains to her that she may not be satisfied with the answers to her questions and implores her to stay until she has thought the matter over further. Rambo also reminds her of how cruel he was to her and her mother, and that he cannot be a changed man. However, Gabriela is too emotional about the situation and secretly leaves to Mexico.
When Gabriela finally gets to see her father again, Manuel rudely rebuffs her attempt at reconnecting and tells her that he simply never cared about her or her mother, and decided to abandon Gabriela after her mother died because he did not want to be "stuck" with her. Gabriela is a wreck because of this and attempts to go home, but her friend tells her to stay and go to a night club so she can calm down before going home the next morning. While at the club, Gabriela is drugged and abducted by human traffickers for use as a sex slave. Rambo quickly learns of Gabrielle's disappearance and travels south to find her. Rambo first confronts Manuel, and after learning that he just told her to leave, Rambo tells him that this all resulted because of his actions, and that he should have killed him years prior, leaving without further incident. Rambo then encounters Gizelle, who he sees wearing Gabriela's prized gold bracelet that once belonged to her mother. Rambo realizes that she sold Gabriela out to the trafficking gang for money and she was able to tell Rambo who she tipped off. At the club, Rambo attacks El Flaco, the man who drugged Gabriela and tortures him until he reveals her location. Rambo leaves with the man, but is followed by a woman who witnessed the altercation.
Rambo attempts to rescue Gabriela from the gang in Mexico, but he is surrounded by the entire gang and beaten until he can no longer fight back. They take his driver's license, revealing the ranch's location, and a photo of Gabriela, who they recognize. The gang's leader, Hugo Martinez, tells Rambo that he will let him live, but Gabrielle will be severely punished for his actions. Hugo claims that he will make an example of her, by getting her addicted to heroin until she dies. The gang's second-in-command and Hugo's brother, Victor Martinez, then marks him by cutting his calling card into Rambo's cheek, claiming that he will do the same to Gabrielle. The gang leaves and Rambo is taken to safety by the woman who had followed him, a journalist named Carmen Delgado, who has been investigating the human traffickers since her sister was abducted and killed by them. She takes Rambo to her home and helps him recuperate from his injuries. Some time later, Rambo is well enough to go back for a second rescue mission. He raids one of the brothels, killing several men in the process, and finally succeeds in rescuing Gabriela. However, as a result of an earlier drug overdose, she dies returning home. Rambo subsequently buries her near their house and mourns her demise. In grief, Maria leaves the farm, claiming that there is nothing left for her there anymore. Rambo echoes the sentiment, claiming that he will likely drift from place to place again, like he "always did".
After Maria leaves, an enraged Rambo prepares to destroy the gang. He returns to Mexico and asks Carmen to help him locate the gang members. Carmen is reluctant to help Rambo with this, claiming that it will not solve anything. However, after Rambo appeals to her personal grief, she ultimately agrees and gives him the address of Victor's personal residence. Rambo arrives late at night, kills Victor's bodyguards and ambushes him in the shower. The next morning, Hugo arrives to find his brother's mutilated and decapitated corpse, with a knife pinning a photo of Gabriela to Victor's heart. On the way back to Arizona, Rambo dumps Victor's head on the road and fortifies his farm with booby traps for when Hugo's men arrive to get revenge. Hugo assembles his men and arrives at Rambo's home. The gang arrives at Rambo's farm and he lures them into the tunnels underneath his property, where he quickly eliminates them one by one using explosives, knives and firearms sometimes even in coordination with his traps, despite sustaining some injuries. Rambo finally kills all of Hugo's men, saving him for last and telling him over a walkie-talkie that he will rip out his heart, just as Hugo did to him. Rambo implodes the tunnels, forcing Hugo to go into the barn, where Rambo is waiting. Rambo uses a recurve bow to shoot arrows into his brachial nerve, paralyzing his arms. Rambo then further pins him to the wall and cuts out his heart with the knife he had made for Gabriela, avenging her death.
Having completed his revenge, an injured and drained Rambo sits in a rocking chair on his porch, where he ponders that he is all alone once again. He proclaims that despite everything, he will continue living so he can keep the spirits of his loved ones alive. In a mid-credits scene, Rambo gets up from the chair, saddles up one of his horses and rides off to an uncertain future.
There is an extended opening that is not in theathrical cuts shown in USA, UK and Canada. In this version, the movie begins with a night search for three hikers lost in the forest that is about to get flooded by the rainstorm. Rambo, who volunteered for the search, finds a woman dead then finds the remaining two hikers, a girl and the dead woman's husband. The man refuses to leave without his wife and goes looking for her, despite Rambo's warnings about the flood and that his wife is dead. When the flood begins, Rambo ties himself, his horse and the girl to a rock, while the rush of water cascades over them. After returning to the base and being thanked for his assistance by police and the girl, Rambo sees the body of the man in a body bag being loaded into an ambulance which triggers his PTSD. He returns to his ranch and has a conversation with Maria, before going into the tunnels and putting on a CD which plays "Five To One" by The Doors.
A few scenes in this theatrical version also have slight differences. Such as Rambo's flashbacks of Vietnam in the tunnels being intercut with the hiker's corpse in the body bag and Gabrielle bringing up these events during her first conversation with Rambo.
Cast and Characters
- Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo
- Paz Vega as Carmen Delgado
- Yvette Monreal as Gabriela Beltran
- Adriana Barraza as Maria Beltran
- Sergio Peris-Mencheta as Hugo Martinez
- Óscar Jaenada as Victor Martinez
- Fenessa Pineda as Gizelle
- Marco de la O as Manuel
- Genie Kim aka Yenah Han
- Sheila Shah as Alejandra
- Díana Bermudez as Juanita
- Manuel Uriza as Sergio
- Atanas Srebrev as American Mercenary
- Nick Wittman as Jimmy (uncut opening only)
- Rick Zingale as Don Miguel
- Owen Davis as Rescue Worker
- Aaron Cohen as State Police Captain (uncut opening only)
- Louis Mandylor as Sheriff (uncut opening only)
- Joaquín Cosío
- Dimitri Vegas
- Jessica Madsen as Becky (uncut opening only)
Stallone claims the film will go deeper into his Vietnam backstory and why he is the way he is. Sylvester Stallone has stated that it will not be a war movie like its predecessors but will take the series in a new direction, more similar to the original First Blood, as well as mixing in a prequel feel to the story to give more insight to his original Vietnam years.
The premise for the movie was originally intended to be the plot for the previous entry, Rambo, but Stallone changed this after learning about the atrocities in Myanmar, the bordering country to where Rambo III left off, Thailand. Stallone planned for the Rambo series to end in 2008 after the release of Rambo, therefore the fourth film's original premise was also used for the plot of the 2013 film "Homefront", starring Jason Statham and James Franco.
Ultimately, after the success of the fourth film, Stallone went back to the drawing board for a fifth film and eventually revisited the idea of a film dealing with Mexico.
For the third film in a row, the one and only Gil Hibben was again contracted to make three knives for the film's release. As a nod to the fourth film, Stallone asked Hibben to re-manufacture the hero machete from the previous film, as well as design two more knives: a dagger with a fluted white handle and a Bowie-style clip point knife. Gil even provided handmade blade blanks for the Bowie and Dagger so it would appear Rambo was making the knives. The machete was seen prominently in the final film, however the other two knives that Hibben provided unfortunately did not end up in the finished film. It can be assumed that the other two knife designs were ultimately passed on after Stallone decided to use Pohl's knife designs instead. Even despite this, Gil Hibben is the knife designer who has made knives for three movies, the most of any smith that worked on the franchise.
Dietmar Pohl, a German knife designer and CEO of Pohl Force Knives, was asked by Stallone to design the two primary knives for the production. These knives included the MK-9 A.K.A. "Heartstopper", that is forged by Rambo for Gabrielle and prominently seen in the climax. The Heartstopper has a handle made from olive drab canvas Micarta and a nine-inch Niolox steel blade with a two-tone satin finish. The other knife that was seen was much smaller and had a blood groove cut into the blade similar to the knife from Rambo III. This knife was known as the MK-8 and had a Bowie-style blade that measures 7.8 inches in length. The blade is again made of Nikolox steel, with an ebony wood handle. As Pohl is a designer and not a manufacturer, his knives were made in a factory in Italy by Lionsteel. Pohl is an avid Rambo fan and claims that Jimmy Lile's knives from the first two films fueled his passion for knives after he first viewed the films as a child. Pohl even owned one of the thirteen screen-used Lile knives and said that being asked to actually design knives for the fifth movie was a tremendous honor.
Timeline of Story Updates
- On February 2, 2008, Sylvester Stallone informed Reuters in an interview that making a fifth Rambo would depend on the success of the fourth movie but that he thought he was "gearing one up" and that it would "be quite different". On March 10, 2008, Moviehole.net revealed that in an interview with Metro magazine, Stallone said that he was "half-way through" writing Rambo V and that it would not be another war movie. Bulgaria was to double for John Rambo's home town in Arizona. On November 3, 2008, Stallone said: "Rambo hopefully will be back. We've just got to give you guys a story that's worthwhile." It was rumored for a while that the fifth film's plot would involve Rambo's apparent daughter being kidnapped by cult leaders and his ensuing mission to rescue her, although this was never confirmed. On February 4, 2009, Sylvester Stallone quoted, "Yeah, we are doing another Rambo, but the conflict is whether to do it in America or a foreign country."
- On August 30, 2009, Millennium Films officially gave Stallone the green-light to make Rambo V, with Stallone writing, directing and starring again. At that time, the plot revolved around Rambo fighting his way through human traffickers and drug lords to rescue a young girl abducted near the U.S.-Mexico border.
- Stallone later confirmed that he intends Rambo V to be loosely based upon a novel called Hunter, in which Rambo and a Special Ops are hired to hunt and kill a ferocious beast (the product of illegal genetic engineering experiments) that has slaughtered and destroyed research facilities and is on its way to civilisation. Stallone has had the film rights to Hunter for several years and has not yet made a film adaptation, although he later gave up on this and stated that the idea of the novel still being made into a Rambo film is merely "silly fan-fiction".
- On November 11, it was reported that the plot had reverted to Rambo crossing the border to rescue a girl who had been kidnapped, which led commentators assume that Rambo will go to Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican border city infamous for gang violence, although this was not confirmed as well, and came from a fishy source.
- On May 1, 2010, Stallone told Empire magazine that he no longer wishes to do Rambo V. He stated, "I think Rambo’s pretty well done. I don’t think there’ll be any more. I’m about 99% sure, I was going to do it... but for Rambo to go on another adventure might be, I think, misinterpreted as a mercenary gesture and not necessary. I don’t want that to happen."
- At the Cannes Film Festival, Millennium Films and Nu Image advertised Rambo V with posters and handouts. Following an interview with Stallone for Ain't It Cool News, in which the director emphasised the finality of his decision to end the franchise, Harry Knowles reported that "He then told me that the folks behind those posters essentially said that if Sly didn't do it - someone else would. And Sly seems fine with that."
- In August 2011, Sean Hood submitted a finished fifth Rambo film script titled Rambo: Last Stand for Millennium films. Hood described the film to be "more in line with the small-town thriller of First Blood". He based the script on an incomplete draft of Rambo V that Stallone wrote which consisted of 20 pages.
- On February 7, 2012, Sean Hood offered an update saying "Rambo 5 on hold as Sly finishes Expendables 2. He hasn't decided if R5 will be an "Unforgiven" or a "passing of the torch". Meanwhile, Stallone confirmed a fifth instalment, saying this one would be the last one.
- On March 6, 2012 Stallone said "I’m dying to do another Rambo. He’s in Arizona on the border. It will involve him going into Mexico."
- On August 21, 2013, it was announced that Entertainment One, along with Avi Lerner and his production company, Nu Image, are to develop and produce a Rambo TV series and that Stallone is in talks to join the project.17 However Stallone's press representative has refuted reports that Stallone will reprise Rambo on the small screen.18
- On 12 August 2014, Sylvester Stallone confirmed that Rambo V has received green light, and that the studios are located in Shreveport, Louisiana.
- On January 6, 2016, Stallone officially confirmed that he was retiring the character of John Rambo, having deemed the fourth Rambo film to be a worthy and satisfying conclusion to the series and the character arc, showing that Rambo was on his way to getting better and making amends with his past. Stallone said: “The heart’s willing, but the body says, ‘Stay home! It’s like fighters that go back for one last round and get clobbered. Leave it to someone else.” Thus, if any more Rambo media is produced, such as the Rambo television series which is being talked about with Fox, possibly about Rambo's son; it will not involve Stallone. He added: “You know when you realize there’s nothing more to pull out? As an action film, I was very satisfied that it dealt with the Burmese situation. It had one foot in a current event, the longest civil war in history, 65 years at that time. It was so brutal, which civil war is, I was shocked they even gave me an R-rating. I didn’t want to compromise. I said, ‘This is probably going to be the last decent film of this genre that I’m going to do as a solo act.’ When that was accomplished, I never felt the same willingness to do it again. There’s nothing left. When they asked me to do another ‘Rambo,’ I said, ‘If I can’t do better than I did last time, and I can’t, then why’?”
- On June 8, 2018, Stallone confirmed that the filming and making of Rambo V is set to begin in September 2018 and is aiming to release the movie in fall of 2019. He will be a part of the main cast in Rambo V, reviving the character of John Rambo.
- On December 6, 2018, Stallone stated that this would be the last "Rambo" film, saying that his character would "finally find what he assumes to be peace." However, at Cannes 2019, Stallone stated that he would continue to play the character of John Rambo, should "Rambo: Last Blood" prove to be successful.
- Primary filming began on October 2, 2018 and lasted until December 4, 2018. Re-shoots and additional photography took place at the end of May and early June of 2019.
- The studio, Lionsgate, viewed the first cut of the movie on April 5, 2019.
In the United States and Canada, Rambo: Last Blood was released alongside Ad Astra and Downton Abbey, and is projected to gross $23–25 million from 3,500 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $1.3 million from Thursday night previews.
The review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 30%, with an average rating of 4.15/10 based on 76 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads: "Like the sequels that preceded it, Rambo: Last Blood is content to indulge in bloody violence at the expense of its main character's once-poignant story." Despite the negative critical reaction, fans of the series like the film, with it getting an 85% from the audience on the website. Metacritic said the film received "generally unfavorable reviews," with an overall weighted average of 29 out of 100 based on 24 critics. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 3.5 out of 5 stars and a 55% "definite recommend."
The script by Stallone and Matt Cirulnick also attained mostly unfavorable reactions. Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter said it "feels utterly tossed-off and generic, more resembling the pilot for a Rambo television series than a proper sendoff," but credited Stallone with "keep[ing] a franchise afloat". William Bibbiani said the script "has been reduced to its lowest common denominators, establishing characters quickly and then shoving them into a simplistic plot (that is to say, simplistic even by Rambo standards)." Bibbiani called the plot of Last Blood derivative of Taken, while web-based critic James Berardinelli called it "a Death Wish variant with a few callbacks to the trap-building of First Blood."
The portrayal of the Rambo character was put under scrutiny. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and was complimentary of the story's "surprisingly brooding examination" of the character: "Sure, Rambo is convincing when he ends up telling bad people, 'I'm gonna hurt you real bad,' but there is also a kind of fragility that makes us worry about people putting the hurt on him." The film's violence was also seen as more excessive than previous installments and many reported being appalled by the brutality of the action scenes, comparing its amount of gore with that of a slasher film. Vince Mancini of Uproxx wrote that "[i]t's so genuinely horrific I'm convinced there are real-life cartel videos celebrating the torture of rivals that are less gory," but recommended the film as "a must-see".
David Morrell, Rambo creator and author of the First Blood novel, liked the fourth film, however he was critical of Last Blood, saying he "hated the film. Embarrassed to have my name associated with it." Morrell told Newsweek: "The film is a mess. I felt degraded and dehumanized after I left the theater. Instead of being soulful, this new movie lacks one I felt I was less a human being for having seen it, and today that's an unfortunate message. That film is typical of ultra-violent 1970s exploitation "grindhouse" films, the technique of which Rambo: Last Blood resembles. The sets here look cheap. The direction is awkward. Rambo could be called John Smith, and the film wouldn't change."
The production company Millennium/Nu-Image has expressed interest in producing another, sequel Rambo film after Rambo V; there are talks of scripts already being drafted for a sixth installment of the series. During the release of Rambo, at a Japan promotional interview, Sylvester Stallone revealed that he was considering a plot based around the slave trade of women in Mexico as a plot for another Rambo film — this plot has been brought forward, however and will be the plot for Rambo V: Last Blood.
Currently, the studio is the only body to express interest in a sixth installment, therefore if Rambo V isn't successful or the character of John Rambo is killed, it is likely that the sixth installment will not be given the greenlight. Despite this, some people have theorized that the sixth film will be a prequel about Rambo's life in Vietnam, with a different actor portraying the titular character John Rambo.
Behind the Scenes
- This installment of Rambo is rated R in the United States. Stallone himself has claimed it to be a "hard R" rating, also stating: "What's coming is going to be unlike anything you have ever seen."
- The song used in the trailer is Old Town Road - Remix by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus.
- The film was shot primarily in Spain and Bulgaria.
- This is the first film in the series which John Rambo doesn't have long hair, and headband.
- The film's runtime is 100 minutes.
- As with the previous film, Rambo, Brian Tyler has taken over the role of composer from Jerry Goldsmith, who composed the first three films but passed away between filming of Rambo III and Rambo.
- Rambo: Last Blood has four primary taglines. They are: "The Legend Comes Home", "They Drew First Blood. He Will Draw Last", "Everyone has one more fight in them" and "His War Comes Home."
- Lionsgate, the production company behind Rambo: Last Blood, set up a website at Rambo.Movie for the new movie; it contains teasers, posters and behind the scenes images.
- There is an extended opening that is not present in theathrical cuts in USA, UK and Canada. In this version, the movie begins with a search for three lost hikers during a rainstorm at night. Rambo, who volunteered for the search, finds one of the hikers dead then finds the other two and tries to get them out, but the male hiker refuses to leave without his wife, despite Rambo's warnings that she is dead and the forest is about to get flooded.
- This is the first Rambo film in which Colonel Trautman doesn't make any kind of appearance, not even in flashbacks like in the previous film.
- This is the first Rambo film since First Blood in which the villains are not part of a military unit.
- This is the first Rambo film in which Rambo doesn't use his trademark machine gun.
|V • D • E|
|Films:||First Blood • Rambo: First Blood Part II • Rambo III • Rambo • Rambo: Last Blood|
|John Rambo on:||First Blood • First Blood Part II • Rambo III • Rambo IV • On-Screen Kills|
|Cast:||Sylvester Stallone • Richard Crenna|
|Video games:||Rambo • Rambo: First Blood Part II • Rambo (1987) • Rambo III • Rambo on Fire • Rambo (Sega) • Rambo: The Video Game|