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Film / Rambo: Last Blood

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"I want them to know that death is coming, and there is nothing they can do to stop it."
Maria: You cannot blame yourself because you going to save some people. You are not in the war anymore. Only in your head.
Rambo: It’s hard to turn off.

Rambo: Last Blood is the fifth film in the Rambo franchise, directed by Adrian Grunberg (director of Get the Gringo and second unit director on Narcos). Sylvester Stallone returns in his iconic role and shares writer credits with Matthew Cirulnick (Absentia).

The story follows John Rambo as he battles a Mexican sex trafficking ring that's kidnapped a friend's granddaughter.

The film was released on September 20, 2019 in the US and a day earlier in some countries.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer.

Rambo: Last Blood contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
  • Agonizing Stomach Wound: For all of Rambo's careful preparation, even he's not prepared when, trying to collapse a tunnel on some gunmen, one of them turns around, notices him, and manages to get off a lucky shot that hits him in the gut.
  • And Show It to You: When Rambo told Hugo Martinez he was going to rip his heart out of his chest with his bare hands, it was Not Hyperbole.
  • And the Adventure Continues: During the credits, Rambo gets up from his chair, saddles up on his horse, and rides into the sunset.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Final Battle involves Hugo and his men staging an assault on Rambo's ranch after Rambo kills Victor and intentionally lures them to his house. All of them fall victim to Rambo and his booby traps.
  • Ax-Crazy: Both Martinez brothers. While Hugo is known for his violent personality, Victor in particular loves to drug his victims and even carve a V on their cheeks.
  • Batman Gambit: Because the Martinez gang had his driver's license, Rambo knew they had his home address. So he intentionally provoked Hugo Martinez by brutally killing his brother, knowing that Hugo would rally his entire gang for an all-out assault on Rambo's farm. Which is exactly what Rambo was hoping for.
  • Big Bad: Hugo Martinez, the head of the human traffickers gang that kidnaps Gabriela for prostitution.
  • Bittersweet Ending: More bitter than sweet, if not an outright Downer Ending. Rambo gets his revenge and completely destroys a ruthless gang of Human Traffickers, including their leaders Hugo and Victor, but Gabriela is still dead, his home is destroyed, and Rambo's peaceful life has come to a permanent end even if the man himself is still alive. Not to mention, he only stopped the Martinez brothers' organization, which is just a small one out of many working under Don Miguel's massive sex trafficking ring that continues to operate with nobody to stop them, meaning that there are still a lot more girls out there who shared Gabriela's fate.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The movie is shown to be just as violent and bloody as the previous one, with the Final Battle having Rambo give us some of the most gruesome kills in the entire series, eventually culminating in Rambo cutting Martinez’s heart out.
  • Broken Pedestal: When Gabriela finally finds her father, she demands to know why he walked out of her life. In response, he tells her that she and her mother had meant nothing to him anymore.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Hugo Martinez lets Rambo live despite having him completely incapacitated and at his mercy because he wants Rambo to spend the rest of his life knowing that Martinez will take extra care of tormenting Gabriela, despite his brother Victor advocating for just killing him.
  • Booby Trap: The trailer shows that Rambo has set up deadly traps in his house such as a crossbow that shoots a bolt in the head of anyone who opens the door and another with a rake that falls from the ceiling to impale the victim similar to how Deputy Balford was dispatched with the tree branch trap in the first film.
  • Break the Cutie: Almost everything involving Gabriela. She heads to Mexico without telling anybody, only to be abducted and forced into a horrendous new life she has no hope from escaping from. When Rambo fails to rescue her, Hugo tells him that he'll make an example of her and certainly delivers on that end. When John does manage to pull her out, she's already been abused, beaten, drugged up, and raped to the point where she reacts to Rambo's presence with pure terror. And sadly, she doesn't last the ride back home.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Rambo has spent the last ten years digging a network of tunnels underneath his ranch, and practically lives in them. During the climax of the film he lures Martinez and his men into the booby-trapped tunnels and slaughters them before collapsing the tunnels.
    • His bow-and-arrow target practice using playing cards, specifically the layout of the cards, comes into play later.
  • City with No Name: The Mexican seaport where most of the action takes place is never named in the movie. Since it's within a day's drive of Bowie, Arizona, it's presumably located somewhere on the Gulf of California.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Even something as simple as a common claw hammer becomes in instrument of death in the hands of Rambo.
  • Crapsack World: Mexico is depicted as this, worse than Type II Eagleland Town with a Dark Secret Hope, Washington in the first film. Poverty is rampant, civilians turn to drugs, alcohol and partying hard to get their mind off of it, and pretty soon, those two problems combined formed a black market of traffickers who are kidnapping/drugging young women for a prostitution ring to finance their drug addiction. The police seem fine with this if not ecstatic since they are paid with sex slaves and maybe even money in exchange for enabling the human traffickers.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Rambo has a network of tunnels under his farm, an arsenal of firearms, knives and machetes, a few hand grenades, C-4 explosives, and even a M-18 Claymore mine. This all allows him to become a One-Man Army.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Gabriela likes to think so and starts off the plot to locate her father to find out why he abandon her. Averted when she does find him, he flat out tells her that she and her mother meant nothing to him.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Which, for a Rambo movie, is saying a lot. Apart from EXTREMELY hardcore violence that makes previous movies seem tame, the film deals with the already heavy subject of sex slavery and trafficking in a pretty serious, gruesome way, showing a hellish montage of every horrifying and degrading thing that happens to Gabriela once she's enslaved...before she dies.. All of this, plus it's bittersweet ending where Rambo wins but loses everything in the process, makes this, without a doubt, the bleakest installment in the series.
    • Also, this film paints a VERY dark image on the nature of violence and evil. Rambo himself is (by his own admission) a heavily disturbed, dangerous, violent animal who can barely control himself; and, except for VERY few characters, everyone else is on a scale from "corrupt" to "bad" to "absolutely monstrous". Made more poignant when Rambo argues with Gabriela that some people are just evil and either can't or won't change... and she's soon verbally disowned by her dad, sold into slavery by her oldest friend, and abused to death by traffickers, in short order
  • The Determinator: Rambo, especially when he is looking for Gabriela in Mexico or when Hugo and his men enter Rambo's tunnels.
  • Dirty Cop: The Mexican police are way more corrupt than Teasle and Galt (or perhaps as bad as the latter) in the first film, as they are on the human traffickers' payroll in exchange for sex slaves or money.
  • Disney Death: Rambo is shown wounded and bleeding after killing Hugo and his men, after being shot twice. He has just enough strength to sit on a chair on the porch of his father's house, teasing the idea that he might pass out and die from his wounds despite his vow to keep fighting for those he loves. After the montage of previous movies are shown during the credits, he gets back up and takes a horse for another ride.
  • Domestic Abuser: Gabriela's father, Miguel. When she discovers his whereabouts, Rambo and Maria tell her about the time he was beating her mother and John had to pull him off. When Rambo encounters Miguel again during his search for Gabriela, he tells him that he wished he had killed him all those years ago.
  • The Dragon: Victor, Hugo's younger brother, serves as the second-in-command of the gang.
  • Drop The Hammer: When Rambo makes another attempt to rescue Gabriela, he's armed with an ordinary hammer. Which of course, in the hands of John Rambo, is something to be terrified of. Especially if he decides to go for a Groin Attack with it.
  • False Friend: Gizelle helps Gabriela track down Gabriela's father in Mexico. She only does it so that she can sell Gabriela to some Human Traffickers.
  • Final Battle: Hugo leading his men on the raid against Rambo's ranch, and Rambo picking them off one by one.
  • Finale Credits: The end credits show a montage of scenes from all five Rambo movies set to a Softer and Slower Cover of "Battle Adagio".
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Hugo is more cool-headed and reasonable than his brother Victor, who is a cruel and sadistic brute.
  • Forging Scene: Rambo has a forge in his tunnels, and uses it to forge blade as a hobby. He uses it to forge a letter opener as a gift for Gabriela.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Oh, Gabriela.
    Gabriela: People just don't act bad for no reason.
  • Gorn: Despite the movie's lower body count, the climax features quite possibly the most violent and brutal kills in the entire franchise, with men's heads being blown off by sawed-off shotguns, maimed, or blown up into Ludicrous Gibs, to name a few.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Gabriela receives the same scar that Rambo had received at the hands of Victor, the shot cuts out with her screaming being heard instead.
  • Grand Finale: Rambo: Last Blood sees John Rambo go on his final and most blood-soaked mission. That title (Last Blood) is there for a reason.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Don Miguel, the head of a massive human trafficking operation that the Martinez brothers are trying to enter into business with. He casually mentions that he exported 17,000 sex slaves in the past year.
  • Groin Attack: During the attack on the brothel Gabriela is kept, Rambo hits one of the men in the crotch with his hammer.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Rambo has short hair in this installment.
  • Happy Ending Override: The last film ended on an optimistic note, with Rambo moving past his bitterness and cynicism to rejoin his family and society as a whole, intending to reconcile with his father. While he did find peace and happiness, his father is revealed to have died before they could reconcile, and his peace was only temporary as his new life is completely destroyed by the human traffickers and he's resigned himself to Walking the Earth as an outcast once more.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: When Gabriela insists on meeting her father to learn the reason why he abandoned her, John tells her that not everyone has good reasons behind their actions and the world is filled with heartless people who are nothing but absolute scumbags. She finds out the hard way that John was right and she should've listened.
  • The Heavy: Victor, not Hugo, is the reason most of the plot happens. He's also the more antagonistic towards Rambo and tries to kill him as opposed to Hugo's Bond Villain Stupidity. Aside from the last third of the film, where he's killed off to give the Big Bad a reason for his Revenge Before Reason.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Averted by the final battle. Let's go down the list:
    • For all of his training and ferocious fighting ability, Rambo is still just one, aging man against 30 or more gunmen. To mitigate this disadvantage, he rigs the tunnels under his farm with every conceivable booby trap: pits lined with spikes, murder holes he can duck into and out of quickly, leg traps, explosives, cartridge traps, and strips of nails. He rounds this off by stashing weapons into easily accessible hide spots. Finally, he rigs the field with a diesel-filled trench, his home with a rigged crossbow, and the barn with another canister of fuel.
    • When the gunmen arrive, he draws them towards the house, forces them into an on-foot bottleneck by blowing the lead vehicle, and kills four gunmen up top to draw the rest into the tunnels, a place that's a maze for them, but that he knows like the back of his hand.
    • Once the gunmen are in the tunnels, Rambo ratchets up the psychological warfare. He kills the lights, forcing the Martinez' hitters to resort to their flashlights in unfamiliar territory. He blasts The Doors' "Five to One" to shock and confuse. The sheer number of tunnels forces them to split up to do a thorough search, allowing Rambo to pick them off. Each kill is loud, brutal, and considerably over the top, such as him emptying an entire assault rifle magazine into two guys who are already impaled on rebar spikes, taking a guy's head off with a shotgun at point-blank range, lighting another two on fire with magnesium shotgun shells, and bringing down a section of tunnel on a group.
    • After picking off Hugo's entire team, leaving him alone, Rambo calls him out on the speakers, tells him where to go, then blows the tunnels, leaving him no choice but to fall right into the trap set up in the barn, where he finally kills Hugo.
    • Hugo and his men, for their part, are no slouches either. Their convoy splits into three groups when entering Rambo's ranch to attempt a pincer move and they cover each together as much as possible while underground, even sticking together to avoid Rambo getting at a single straggler. Not that this helps them much.
  • Honorary Uncle: Rambo has no blood relation to Gabriela, but since he helped raise her, she calls him uncle John.
  • Human Traffickers: The main antagonists of the movie are a pair of low level sex traffickers who are trying to get in business with a major outfit that exports thousands of sex slaves a year.
  • I Have No Daughter!: Miguel tells this to Gabriela in her face when she found him.
  • Idiot Ball: Rambo, on the hunt for Gabriela, finds the heavily-guarded headquarters of the sex-trafficking ring that's kidnapped her. Instead of scoping out the place as much as possible beforehand, and then use stealth to take down the guards one by one as he gradually works his way inside (which is exactly what he does when he goes after Victor Martinez later on), he approaches the house directly, is surrounded, gets the shit kicked out of him, and only lives because Hugo Martinez decides to let him off with a nice scar and a concussion.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: And how. Many of Hugo's men meet their demise this way through Rambo's traps or through Rambo himself. Special mention goes to Hugo at the end, who Rambo has pinned to the wall with four arrows so he can cut him open and rip his heart out.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Carmen Delgado, a journalist who lost her sister to the sex traffickers and is investigating them. She helps Rambo after he's beaten by them and tells him everything he needs to know about the Martinez brothers.
  • It's Personal: Once Gabriela dies, Rambo becomes determined to bring down Hugo and Victor as well as their organization at all costs.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Hugo makes a point of referring to women they enslave as "it", because they are not people to him but things, merchandise to be bought, sold, used and discarded.
  • It Was a Gift: Rambo realizes that Gizelle is more involved with Gabriela's disappearance than she lets on when he sees her wearing Gabriela's bracelet, which was a gift from her mother.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: After Rambo is led to El Flaco, the man who abducted Gabriela, he gets him to spill her whereabouts after tearing out his collarbone and snapping it in half with his bare hands, and that's after stabbing him numerous times.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Gizelle lures her friend Gabriela into Mexico to sell her into sexual slavery. By the end of the film she suffers no comeuppance.
    • Likewise, Miguel isn't punished for having abused his family and walking out on their lives, although when Rambo confronts him, he does lament that he wished he broke his neck ten years ago.
  • Kill It with Fire: Some of Hugo's boys are killed by explosive traps set by Rambo that set them ablaze, and two are shot with incendiary rounds that leave their corpses on fire.
  • Kill the Cutie: Gabriela doesn't make it to the end of the movie.
  • Killed Offscreen: Rambo decapitates Victor offscreen, and we don't see his headless corpse until later.
  • Lack of Empathy: Aside from the traffickers, Miguel doesn't show any remorse for abandoning Gabriela and her mother, and shows no concern for her whereabouts after Rambo tells him that she's gone missing.
  • Like a Daughter to Me: For the last 10 years Rambo has helped raise Gabriela, and she becomes practically a daughter to him.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: The second half begins with Rambo booby trapping his ranch and preparing for a final showdown with Hugo and his men.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The fate of some of Hugo's men, either through explosive traps or by getting their heads blown off.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song: The trailer used a somber cover of Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road".
  • Mook Horror Show: Rambo luring Martinez and his men into the tunnels and slaughtering them with his booby traps.
  • Moral Myopia: Hugo and Victor Martinez are the leaders of a human trafficking ring that has killed who knows how many innocent women unfortunate enough to have been captured by them. Gabriela was also one of the victims, which they brag about to Rambo before leaving him for dead on the streets. After Gabriela dies, Rambo brutally decapitates Victor, causing Hugo to fly into a rage that Rambo would dare kill his brother, never mind the fact they killed someone dear to him first.
  • Morality Pet: Gabriela serves as a huge one for Rambo, who he credits for helping him turn his life around. He tells her at some point that she saved him from himself by showing him that there was still good in people, something he had lost sight of over the years. Not that it stops him from viciously attacking or killing those involved in her abduction, and all bets are off after she dies.
  • New Old West: Rambo is the lone gunslinger taking on an outlaw gang (the sex traffickers).
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Rambo suffers a brutal one at the hands of Martinez’s men, in which Victor carves his signature scar on Rambo's cheek.
  • No Kill like Overkill: Several of the mooks Rambo dispatches after Gabriela's death receive plenty of extra stabbing, smashing, and/or shooting well beyond what it would have taken to kill them, just as an extra "Fuck you!" from Rambo for what they took from him.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: Rambo succeeds in rescuing Gabriela from one of the Martinez brothers' brothels...but she's been so abused and drugged up that she dies during the ride back home. Cue Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Off with His Head!: How Rambo kills Victor. He also does this to a goon with a machete during the fight in the tunnel.
  • Old Soldier: The Movie. According to Murdock in the second film, Rambo's birthdate is July 6, 1947, making him approximately 72 or 73 in this film.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Gabriela's father Miguel, shares a first name with Don Miguel, the Greater-Scope Villain that the Martinez brothers are trying to cozy up to.
  • Outrun the Fireball: During the Final Battle, Rambo blows up his tunnels and forces Hugo to make a run for it.
  • Papa Wolf: Rambo, now that he has a daughter figure in Gabriela. He actually makes a knife for her to take to college to scare any boys away, and after she's abducted, doesn't hold anything back against those involved.
  • Parental Abandonment: The movie's conflict begins with Gabriela tracking down her Disappeared Dad and heading to Mexico so she can find out why he abandoned her. He tells her that she and her mother meant absolutely nothing to him and wanted nothing to do with her once her mother died.
  • Police Are Useless: Brought up as the explanation for why only Rambo can rescue Gabriela; the American police can't cross the border and the Mexican police, as he puts it, "don't do shit!" cause they're on the human traffickers' payroll.
    • Downplayed with the American police in the alternate opening of the film, as they show respect towards Rambo. They also thanked him for volunteering in searching and saving the sole hiker from a flood, even comforting him over his failure to rescue the other two hikers, saying that he did what he could.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "This is what it feels like."
  • Re-Cut: There's an extended edition of the film that opens with Rambo volunteering to rescue a trio trapped by a flood/landslide, but only managing to save one young woman. The scene feels rather disconnected from the rest of the movie.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Victor is the more hot-tempered of the Martinez brothers, while Hugo is the more calm and collected of the two.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Rambo does this in The Stinger.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The second half of the film, after Gabriela dies.
  • The Savage South: The unnamed Mexican seaport where the Martinez brothers are based. It is shown as a hot, poverty ridden hellhole; where the police are in bed with the sex traffickers and women are enslaved and prostituted by the truckload.
  • Sequel Escalation: Inverted. The body count compared to previous Rambo films is smaller, which is surprising for a Bloodier and Gorier sequel.
  • Shout-Out: Victor and Hugo are the names of two other (much more lighthearted) criminal brothers with their own eponymous cartoon show.
  • Social Climber: Hugo is really keen on moving up in the criminal underworld by going into business with Don Miguel, which is why he considers his brother's thuggish behavior an embarrassment.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Doors' "Five to One" plays on the speakers as Rambo dispatches the Human Traffickers in the tunnel.
  • Spexico: The Mexico scenes were filmed in Spain and some of the Mexican characters are played by Spanish actors.
  • Spikes of Doom: One of Rambo's traps in the tunnel are two beds of spikes. Guess what happens to two of Hugo's men?
  • The Stinger: During the end credits, Rambo gets up from his seat and rides off on his horse into the sunset.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Hugo is highly mortified by the fact that Victor continues to talk and act like a thuggish pimp, because he considers it embarrassing, especially in front of Don Miguel.
  • Tag Line: From the trailer: "They drew first blood. He will draw last."
  • Too Dumb to Live: Martinez and his men see that Rambo has booby trapped his ranch with explosives, yet decide that it's a good idea to follow him into a network of tunnels. Every last one of them dies as a result.
  • Wall of Weapons: Rambo's barn contains an entire arsenal of both modern and vintage firearms.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Rambo gains entry to the brothel where Gabriela is being kept by posing as a man looking to have sex with a young girl. As soon as he is let inside, he starts brutally killing the gang members who run the place as well as a few of the customers taking advantage of the unwilling sex slaves.
  • Your Head Asplode: One of Hugo's men during the Final Battle is shot in the face with a shotgun, causing his entire head to explode.

"I've lived in a world of death. I tried to come home, but I never really arrived. A part of my mind and soul got lost along the way, but my heart was still here, where I was born, where I would defend to the end the only family I've ever known, the only home I've ever known. All the ones I've loved are now ghosts. But I will fight to keep their memory alive forever."