Saturday, January 11, 2020

Movie Reviews: Rambo: Last Blood

Rambo: Last Blood
directed by Adrian Grunberg
Some VERY IMPORTANT SERIOUS critics get upset when films that they think ought to be watched and enjoyed by everyone are only or primarily enjoyed by a particular demographic. They rant and rave about this. They are less interested in film's entertainment value than in film's didactic purpose.

I doubt that any of us are always immune to such sentiments. But, I don't think it's ultimately that big of a deal. Although we all have more in common than not, regardless of our race, sexuality, gender, age, nationality, etc. it's also true that those listed characteristics all influence our real life experiences and our fantasies.

And that's ok. I'm not in the target audience for Victorian/Edwardian period comedies or dramas about whether some woman should marry John Puff-n-Stuff, the short, drab but responsible barrister or instead run away with the tall, dashing and reckless cad Harry Darkeyes Handsome, who allegedly has women and children in every port. Some princess film that has the titular character beating and berating the audience (and all male characters) upside the head with how strong and independent and special she is, probably won't be my preference.

Just as some films are aimed at the female audience, other films are directed at the male audience. Rambo: Last Blood is one such film. Doubtless there were some women who enjoyed this movie but I would imagine that most people who watched this film had XY chromosomes. The problem is not that a particular film is aimed at men or women. The problem or rather question is whether the film is good or not. And this wasn't really a good movie. The issue isn't that it's gruesomely violent or that it depicts Mexico as a vile depraved place where everyone is out to sell young women into the sex trade. 

The problem with this movie is that it makes little if any concession to the character's age or even sillier, law enforcement on either side of the border. 

Some movie series like John Wick can get away with that for a while. But the original Rambo film was smart(er) in that it at least acknowledged that police exist, notice acts of violence or people who appear out of place, and will call MULTITUDES of other police to hunt you down if you become a problem for them. 

Other films have shown that an older tough guy will eventually need to rely more on brains and younger more physically adept assistants than in his declining physical capacities. This film is too lazy to do any of that.

Rambo (Stallone) is retired. As well he should be, Stallone is 73. He looks good for his age but it's straining believability that his character can still be the deadly bada$$ that he is. Rambo lives on his family's horse ranch with an old friend Maria (Adriana Barazza) and Maria's granddaughter Gabriela (Yvette Monreal). Rambo considers Gabriela to be family.

For plot reasons, Gabriela misses her estranged father. And since in movies like this young women always think they know better than older people, Gabriela ignores the very strong suggestions, really orders, from Rambo and her grandmother to forget about her deadbeat Dad. When a supposed friend tells Gabriela that she's found Gabriela's father, Gabriela secretly goes to Mexico. Well that was a bad idea for a young naive attractive woman like Gabriela. Rambo goes looking for her. And when people harm Rambo or people he cares about he lets the Beast come out to play. And who is like unto the Beast? Who is able to make war with him?

Wash rinse repeat. 
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