RAMBO: LAST BLOOD – Review by Susan Granger

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Over the past four films, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has established himself as an unstoppable killer. Trained by the military, he was deployed to the jungles of Vietnam. Like many soldiers returning from that unpopular war, suffering PTSD, he never adjusted to civilian life, becoming jaded and bitter.

But this fifth installment begins with seemingly contented Rambo spending his twilight years on his secluded Arizona ranch with his adopted family: middle-aged, matriarchal Maria (Adriana Barraza) and her teenage granddaughter Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), who calls him “Uncle John.”

“I haven’t changed,” Rambo notes. “I’m just trying to keep a lid on it, every day.”

But when Gabrielle travels to Mexico to find her biological father who abandoned her many years earlier, she’s kidnapped by a sex-trafficking ring led by brothers Hugo (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and Victor (Oscar Jaenada).

All his repressed rage resurfaces when Rambo takes off to find her, only to suffer a savage beating as the bad guys sneer, “Are you lost, old man?”

Afterward, he’s nursed back to health by a Mexican journalist (Paz Vega), whose sister was kidnapped and murdered by the same brothers.

Unable to fight on their territory, Rambo lures the cartel thugs back to his heavily fortified, booby-trapped compound, after making sure Maria and his horses are safely hidden away. Predictably, bloody, violent carnage – including impalements, decapitation and incineration – ensues during the revenge/siege.

Working from a generic screenplay by now 73 year-old Stallone and Matthew Cirulnick, director Adrian Grunberg (“Get the Gringo”) makes sure that – when Rambo threatens to cut a man’s heart out – he does exactly that.

If that’s not enough to discourage you, David Morrell, author of the “First Blood” novel on which the series is based, tweeted: “I agree with the ‘Rambo: Last Blood’ reviews. The film is a mess. Embarrassed to have my name associated with it.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 ot 10, “Rambo: Last Blood” is a traumatized 2. Mercifully, it runs only 89 minutes.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.