“Rambo: Last Blood” is an American action-packed thriller that is a sequel to the fourth film in the “Rambo” series. The plot draws attention to such cruel, inhuman and criminal phenomena as sexual slavery and human trafficking, and tells about the later life of war veteran John Rambo, who, trying to forget his military past, is forced to take up arms again to save his adopted daughter, kidnapped by a Mexican a criminal cartel. In addition to Sylvester Stallone, who once again played the main role, the film also stars Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Menchet, Adrian Barras, Yvette Montreal, Oscar Jaenada and other actors.
Having been in development since 2008 and with multiple storylines, the fifth Rambo movie has resulted in the style and tradition of successful films such as Logan with Hugh Jackman and Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood. Stallone, who co-wrote all the previous films in the series, wrote the final plot of the fifth film with the participation of Dan Gordon, and also worked on the script with Matthew Sirulnik. The production process was organized and supervised by key producers Avi Lerner, Kevin King Templeton, Les Weldon, Yariv Lerner, as well as Lionsgate, Millennium Media, Balboa Productions and Templeton Media in collaboration with Campbell Grobman Films and Dadi Film (HK) Limited. Adrian Grunberg, known for his work on the action movie “Happy Holidays” with Mel Gibson in the title role, was hired by the producers to carry out the director’s duties.
The main filming period took place at Nu Boyana Film Studios (Bulgaria) and the Canary Island of Tenerife (Spain) from October 2 to December 4, 2018, and on May 26, 2019 at the same studio, with the participation of Stallone, additional filming began, which ended in the summer of the same year. The film was released in theaters in Russia on September 19, 2019 with the support of Megogo Distribution, and in the United States it was released on September 20 by Lionsgate. The film was released on digital platforms and physical media (DVD and Blu-ray) in December of the same year.
Despite the predominantly negative reviews from critics who considered the film politically incorrect and overly violent, “Rambo: Last Blood” was positively received by the majority of viewers, and commercially was able to more than double the production budget ($ 50 million), earning 95 million worldwide film distribution and 25.4 million in US video distribution, excluding worldwide DVD and Blu-ray sales, worldwide digital distribution, and worldwide television broadcast rights revenues. In July 2020, after the film was released in theaters in Japan and most of the planned marketplaces, Stallone announced the real possibility of Rambo returning to the screens, the idea for which he first announced in September 2019.
Ten years after returning home to Bowie, Arizona, war veteran John Rambo is trying to lead a calm and meaningful life, training horses at his late father’s ranch, but he cannot completely protect himself from human death and a difficult past even at home. … So, Rambo still feels guilt for the deaths of his military comrades, which intensifies after he fails to save two people during his voluntary participation in an operation to search and rescue people who were faced with a flash flood in the midst of a night storm. Moreover, the events experienced in life do not cease to haunt Rambo in the form of memories caused by post-traumatic stress disorder that has developed since the war, due to which he is forced to regularly take medications. The only source of peace and motivation for life for Rambo is the foster family living with him – his close friend Maria, who looked after the ranch even before the death of Rambo’s father, as well as her granddaughter Gabriela, whom Rambo has been taking care of since childhood instead of the girl’s father who left her with deceased mother.
One day Gabriela unexpectedly informs Rambo that with the help of her friend Giselle, she managed to find out the whereabouts of her father Manuel in Mexico, and now, without losing hope of reconciliation, she intends to see him to find out what made him leave her together with Mother. Rambo and Maria do not share Gabriela’s intentions and forbid her to go to her father, saying that having committed such a betrayal, he, in their opinion, will no longer be able to change. Contrary to their wishes, Gabriela secretly goes to Mexico by car and, arriving in the country, stops at Giselle, who, in turn, takes her to her father’s apartment. To Gabriela’s deep disappointment, her father reacts extremely rudely to her appearance and admits that he never loved them with their mother.
Seeing Gabriela’s condition, Giselle takes her to unwind at a local nightclub. There Gabriela, not noticing that drugs were planted in her drink, becomes a victim of kidnapping from a criminal cartel engaged in sexual slavery and human trafficking. Upon learning of Gabriela’s disappearance in Mexico, Rambo immediately goes there and interrogates both Gabriela’s father and Giselle. She is forced to take Rambo to the very club from which Gabriela was kidnapped, and points to El Flaco – the man who last spoke to Gabriela.
After extracting information from El Flaco about Gabriela’s whereabouts, Rambo goes after her, but on the way he is ambushed by people from the cartel, who brutally beat him. Finally, the cartel leaders – brothers Hugo and Victor Martinez – leave Rambo a kind of “mark” with a knife on his cheek, after which they take away his driver’s license, finding out the address of the ranch, as well as a photo of Gabriela, promising Rambo to treat the girl in the same way in revenge for his actions.
Rambo, beaten to a pulp, is found by a certain Carmen Delgado, who secretly watched him, and takes him to her home. There, she cares for Rambo until his full recovery and introduces herself as an independent journalist investigating the cases of the Martinez brothers who kidnapped and killed her sister. Having recovered from the beatings, Rambo raids the brothel in which Gabriela is being held, and, having dealt with the guards, finds the girl herself, raped and drugged. Carrying Gabriela in his arms to the car, Rambo takes her back home to the ranch, on the way, thanks for the fact that she has given him the meaning of life for many years. However, Gabriela dies right in the car, never making it home.
Rambo decides on a revenge plan. After Gabriela’s funeral, he sends Maria to her sister, and he equips the ranch and the dug dungeon with traps for the upcoming battle. He then returns to Mexico and, having learned from Carmen the whereabouts of Victor, attacks his house, where he kills the guards, and then decapitates Victor himself and pin a photograph of Gabriela to his corpse, thereby leaving a message for his brother Hugo. Having found his brother’s corpse, Hugo gathers a detachment of armed mercenaries and goes with him directly to the Rambo ranch, where each of the squad members, underestimating Rambo’s fighting skills, becomes a victim of his improvised traps. After the brutal massacre of the mercenaries, Rambo sets out for the remaining Hugo. First, he blows up a mined dungeon, from where Hugo manages to get out, and then, hiding, shoots him with arrows from a bow, finally tearing his heart out of his chest. Exhausted and wounded, Rambo returns to the front porch and sits in his late father’s chair, promising to continue to fight and keep the memories of his loved ones. During the credits, Rambo walks out of the house, saddles his horse and gallops towards sunset.
Concept and crew
The fifth film in the Rambo series has been in development since 2008, and during this time Sylvester Stallone even planned to take as the basis of the plot the science fiction novel by James Byron Huggins “The Hunter”, which would tell about the confrontation between John Rambo and the semi-human creature in the Arctic Circle. However, the sequel was finally announced under a different storyline only 10 years later – in May 2018. It was also reported that Stallone planned not only to return as a screenwriter and lead actor, but also to act as a director again after successfully working on the fourth tape. Ultimately, it was announced that a different director would perform the director’s functions, and Stallone, as in the first three films, would focus on the title role, the plot, written with the participation of Dan Gordon, and the script, developed in collaboration with Matthew Sirulnik, co-author of the crime series Amnesia ”, Who also participated in writing the scripts for the crime drama Pay in Full and the computer game True Crime: New York City. In August, Adrian Grunberg was appointed to the post of director, who by that time already had sufficient experience of working in military and crime films with actors of the first magnitude – before filming the action movie “Happy Holidays” with Mel Gibson in the title role, he has served as an Assistant Director for such films as Traffic with Benicio del Toro, Damages with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anger with Denzel Washington, and The Marines with Jake Gyllenhaal.
The main producers of the film are Avi Lerner, Kevin King Templeton, Les Weldon (who worked with Stallone on the fourth tape and the Expendables series), and Yariv Lerner (head of Nu Boyana Film Studios); executive producers – Louis Arriola, Boaz Davidson, Jeffrey Greenstein, Jonathan Junger, Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, Ariel Vromen, Jeff Gum, Robert Van Norden, Matthew O’Toole, Andrey Georgiev ,,, Allen Dam ,, Vladimir Fernandez, Clayton Fernandez , Eusebio Muñoz Jr., Balan Melarcode; co-executive producers are Samuel Hadida, Victor Hadida, Elijah Long, Damaine Radcliffe and Lonnie Ramati. The producers represented Lionsgate, Millennium Media, Templeton Media, Campbell Grobman Films, as well as Dadi Film (HK) Limited and Nyla Media Group, which acted as co-investors. Also involved in the production of the film was Sylvester Stallone’s own company – Balboa Productions, for which “Rambo: Last Blood” became the debut work.
Brendan Galvin, who collaborated with Stallone on the action movie Escape Plan, was assigned to the position of cameraman.
In August 2018, it became known that the selection of actors for the film was in full swing and some of them were already auditioning for key roles. At the same time, Sylvester Stallone began active physical training to return to the role of John Rambo. In September, it was revealed that Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Adrian Barras will play the role of Rambo’s close friend Maria, whose granddaughter, Gabriela, is missing. In October, it was announced that Yvette Montreal had been cast as Gabriela, with Paz Vega playing journalist Carmen Delgado, assisting Rambo in her search for Gabriela. In the same month, Oscar Jaenada, Joaquin Cosio, who was later replaced by Rick Zingale, and Sergio Peris-Menchet, confirmed to play the central antagonist, Hugo Martinez, the leader of the criminal cartel, joined the cast.
Sylvester Stallone personally offered to return to the fifth film for Martin Cove, who played the pilot of Erickson in the second tape, but in April 2019, in an interview with AfterBuzz TV, the actor said that he was forced to refuse due to filming in the series Cobra Kai. Also in October 2018, Russian bodybuilder and model Stefan Chapovsky, known for his resemblance to Stallone, announced on his VK page and in an interview with Generation Iron Russia about the possible appearance in the flashback scene as a young Rambo, if the material filmed with his participation is included into the final version of the film. In February 2019, it became known that Luis Mandylor played the role of the sheriff in the film.
In May 2018, it was announced that the filming period for the film would begin in September of the same year in Bulgaria, Sofia, at Nu Boyana Film Studios, which Sylvester Stallone and Avi Lerner had previously used to shoot The Expendables 2 and The Expendables 3 “. It was also reported that the Canary Islands in Spain, as well as partially London, Great Britain will be involved as filming locations. However, later it became known that on September 17, only preparatory filming would take place in Sofia, while the main filming period with Stallone’s participation would begin only at the end of the month, when the actor arrived on the set in Sofia, after which production would move to the Canary island of Tenerife. On October 2, Stallone posted on social networks the first two photos from the set in Bulgaria, announcing the start of the main filming period, which lasted until December 4 of the same year, after which the production moved to the final stage – the editing and toning period.
On May 26, 2019, Stallone returned to Bulgaria to Nu Boyana Film Studios to shoot additional scenes, which also took place with the participation of Sergio Peris-Mencheta and ended in the summer of the same year.
Editing and toning period
On August 8, 2019, executive producer Boaz Davidson announced on his Facebook page that the final production stage of the film – the editing and toning period – was finally completed, having published a photo with Sylvester Stallone from the Formosa Group studio in Hollywood, USA.
As in the previous film, the tape was composed by Brian Tyler, who had previously worked with Sylvester Stallone on the “The Expendables” series. The album was recorded in 2019 at the Slovak Radio Concert Hall in Bratislava, Slovakia. Tyler also used the title theme of the first tape, written by Jerry Goldsmith, composer of the first three films in the series, while working on the compositions for the film.
On September 20, 2019, the album with the background music from the film was released by Lakeshore Records as a digital edition for the iTunes Store, Google Play, Amazon and other digital platforms. On April 10, 2020, the vinyl edition of the album, created in collaboration with Lakeshore Records and Enjoy The Ride Records, went on sale. On CD, the album went on sale on June 19 of that year exclusively as a Japanese edition.
In addition to Brian Tyler’s background music and the title theme of the first film by Jerry Goldsmith, Rambo: Last Blood also featured compositions by other authors: The Doors’ Five to One, Icy Narco’s Link, Con Cada Paso “By Cazike,” Surf the Wave “by Tambour Battant in collaboration with Jahdan Blakkamoore, Delie Red X and D2 tha Future,” Lolita la Cumbiambera ”
by Andres Landero, “La Cruz de Cristo” by Obson Most Wanted, “Through My Eyes” by The Creation, “N.A.V.E.” by Cazzu, No Queda Nada by Norbert Denis Galouo, Jose Miguel Ortegon Tovar and Francisco Antonio Smith Angulo, Dale Gas and El Ray by Kenny Ray Moron and Gerald Stephen Flores, and Black Sky by Brian Tyler under the pseudonym Madsonick.
A remix of the song “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus was used as the music for the teaser trailer.
In Russia, the title “Rambo: Last Blood” was approved for advertising and distribution of the film, and in the US – “Rambo: Last Blood”. Also in the media, the tape is mentioned under the names “Rambo 5”, “Rambo V”, “Rambo 5: Last Blood” and “Rambo V: Last Blood”.
In May 2018, the first promotional poster was presented to attract investors, distributors and sale of rental rights in the Cannes Film Market. On May 24, 2019, Sylvester Stallone attended the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, where an exclusive teaser trailer was screened, which was not presented to the general public. Shortly thereafter, on May 30, a modified version of the teaser trailer premiered online along with the debut teaser poster.
On June 7, Megogo Distribution, the theatrical distributor of the film in Russia, published on its YouTube channel a dubbed version of the teaser trailer, translated by Vladimir Antonik, who had already voiced John Rambo in the dubbed version of the previous film. At the end of July, unique theatrical posters for France were presented. In early August, a poster was published for film distribution in the United States, which was soon also approved for distribution in Russia. On August 20, the second trailer premiered online. On August 30, Megogo Distribution presented a dubbed version of the second trailer, and on that day, Zima Entertainment published an international trailer for the film on its YouTube channel.
At the end of February 2019, Lionsgate announced that Rambo: Last Blood will be released in the US on September 20 of the same year. In early March, Megogo Distribution, the Russian cinema distributor of the film, announced that it would be released in Russia the day before, on September 19. At the end of July, the Film Companies Association of America gave the film a “hard” distribution rating R.
In January 2020, the Gaga Corporation announced that it would be organizing theatrical distribution of the film in Japan on June 26 of the same year.
An 89-minute version was released for distribution in the US, UK and Canada. The international version, shown in cinemas in other countries, including Russia and Japan, was a full-fledged 101-minute version with 12 minutes of extra and extended scenes.
In the US film distribution, which is the main source of income from cinemas, the film has achieved great results. So, for the starting weekend, he earned $ 18,872,919, which allowed him to take the second line in the list of the best box-office starts of the Rambo series, losing the leading position only to the second tape – Rambo: First Blood 2 ($ 20,176,217). ). At the end of home distribution, “Rambo: Last Blood” came close to the production budget (50 million) and raised a total of $ 44,819,352, having managed to bypass the previous film at the box office in the United States ($ 42,754,105).
In the international box office, which took place in other, much less profitable countries for distribution, “Rambo: Last Blood” showed significantly lower results, grossing $ 50,161,071, and at global box office receipts became the least grossing film in the series, earning a total of $ 94,980,423.The top ten countries that earned the film the most internationally were Germany ($ 4,783,604), France ($ 4,650,429), the UK ($ 3,656,229), Japan ($ 3,490 $ 070), Brazil ($ 2,860,519), Mexico ($ 2,197,557), United Arab Emirates ($ 2,018,715), Spain ($ 1,805,129), Malaysia ($ 1,782,321) ) and Italy ($ 1,681,874).
Demonstrating successful results in the US film distribution, but modestly showing itself in the international film distribution, on December 17, 2019, the film was successfully released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment for worldwide video distribution (DVD and Blu-ray), in which, according to Home Media Magazine and other publications, has repeatedly topped the charts in the USA, Great Britain, France and other countries.
ND Play (New Disc) sells DVD and Blu-ray editions of the film in Russia.
Video rental fees
Total gross receipts from DVD and Blu-ray movie sales in the United States is $ 25,352,821.
On December 3, 2019, the digital release of the film took place in the iTunes Store, Google Play, Amazon, Microsoft Store and other online stores.
On May 5, 2020, a full-length, extended version of the film titled Rambo: Last Blood Extended Cut was released on Amazon Prime in the US, which includes 12 minutes of additional and extended scenes that were cut from the cinematic version in the US, UK and Canada, however, is shown during film distribution in other countries. Subsequently, the full version of the film was also released in the United States on Apple TV, Xfinity and Vudu.
Reviews & Ratings
The film received mostly positive reviews and ratings from viewers, but was negatively received by most critics. So, on the aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the overall user rating of the film with 8.1 thousand reviews is 82% (4.17 points out of 5), while the average critics rating is 27% (4.1 points out of 10) based on 166 reviews (45 – positive, 121 – negative). On another aggregator site, Metacritic, viewers overall rated the movie 7.6 out of 10 with 432 reviews, while the average critical rating based on 31 reviews is 26 out of 100. On the Internet Movie Database, an international free-to-edit the cinema database, the overall rating of viewers is 6.2 points out of 10 with 70.7 thousand votes. The viewer rating on the KinoPoisk portal, a Russian-language freely editable database of cinema, is 63% with 54 reviews, and the rating is 6.107 points out of 10 with over 22.7 thousand votes.
Critics who published negative reviews called the fifth film about John Rambo “an expired film” and a “grotesque political allegory”, reproaching him for political incorrectness, racism, and an abundance of excessive, in their opinion, cruelty:
- In the hypersensitive cultural environment of 2019, portraying deadly Mexican slave trade gangsters clashing with a white savior is not very welcome – Eric Cohn, IndieWire.
- “A film that aims to be Logan, but is more like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” – Tom Glasson, Concrete Playground.
- “As such, hardcore violence does not bother me, but it is unpleasant to me that it becomes almost comic in nature, despite the fact that the film tends to be more lyrical” – Don Kay, Den of Geek.
- Writer David Morrell, creator of John Rambo’s book image, agreed with the negative reviews, and also called the film “soulless” and “goofy”.
Vince Mancini, film critic for Uproxx, described the film more positively: “The Trump-era Rambo is essentially the human incarnation of the frontier wall protecting America from Mexican rapists and murderers. Absolute madness, everyone should watch.
The columnist of the KG-Portal website, Ivan Afanasyev, noted in his positive review: “<…> He is still formidable, brutal, and it is better not to get in his way. But at the same time, the aged Rambo became sentimental: he is imbued with almost paternal feelings for the kidnapped girl, he dreams of getting out of the endless circle of death and teaching horses. However, according to the canons of American fighters, if your last name is not Dufrein and you are not going to Zihuatanejo, then hell awaits you in Mexico. So John is at ease.
And the viewer too. If you are imbued with the idea that even cowboys are sometimes sad, watching the mighty Rambo step by step approaches the offenders of his new-found relative is very interesting. And by the way, against this background, sudden outbreaks of violence look especially sharp <…> “.
On July 20, 2020, Screen Rant ranked Rambo: Last Blood in the Top 10 Films of the Decade featuring 80s Action Stars, placing it at number six.
Awards and nominations
In May 2019, at the Cannes Film Festival, Sylvester Stallone did not rule out his return to the role of Rambo if the fifth tape was successfully released:
“If the fifth film works, then I will continue because I really like it.” In September, in an interview with JoBlo.com, Stallone voiced the idea for the sixth film, according to which Rambo, on the run and pursued by the police after the events of the fifth tape, will go to the US Indian Reservation, considering it the only possible refuge for himself. At the end of June 2020, to support the forthcoming film distribution of the fifth film in Japan, Stallone gave an interview to Nippon Television, in which he again mentioned this idea: “If I made another film, Rambo would return to the Indian Reservation where he grew up, because he has an Indian family. ” On July 2, after the successful release of the expanded version of the film on digital platforms in the United States, Stallone posted a message on Instagram, in which he stressed the real possibility of Rambo’s return.
In November 2020, Sylvester Stallone stated on his Instagram page that for now, the only opportunity for Rambo to return to the screens is a potential prequel that could be created to hit the streaming service. At the same time, Stallone did not specify whether he will in any way return to the role of John Rambo again and whether the project will contain elements of a continuation, the idea for which he mentioned earlier.