David Morrell, author of the First Blood novel that sparked the Rambo film series, has the harshest review for the critically-panned Rambo: Last Blood. The First Blood book was published in 1972, and a deal for its screen treatment (which became the hugely popular Rambo: First Blood) soon followed. The film producers and Morrell seemed to have enjoyed a profitable and amicable relationship ever since, but that's now changed.
Rambo: Last Blood, which is now in theaters, finds our vigilante hero living a peaceful life on a secluded ranch with his adopted niece, Gabrielle. However, John Rambo's idyllic existence is cut short when Gabrielle gets kidnapped by Mexican sex traffickers. So once again, Rambo must take up arms and embark on a bloody campaign of revenge and death. As is the case with many such films celebrating gratuitous violence, Last Blood has been skewered by the film critic community, garnering a 'rotten' score of 37% on Rotten Tomatoes thus far.
Rambo creator Morrell has chosen to stoke this fire, sharing an article that encapsulates the negative reviews. Check out his post in the space below:
The reviews take issue with a number of arguably offensive themes and plot devices from the movie. These include the depiction of Mexicans as criminals and thugs, the helplessness of the female victims to take vengeance into their own hands, the generic, lackluster screenplay, and, of course, the brutal, over-the-top (no pun intended) violence. But the strongest criticisms of all are those that point out the juxtaposition of the values at stake in the first Rambo movie, as opposed to those at work in this latest outing. While First Blood featured an anti-authoritarian hero standing up against the abuse of power by members of his own country's law enforcement divisions, Last Blood is more of a pro-authority, Trump-era brainwashing exercise meant to stoke fear and violence against aliens of the U.S.
These are all valid points, and Morrell certainly has a right to his opinions, but it should be noted that his own work, First Blood, suffered from some of the same criticisms that plague Rambo: Last Blood now. Most specifically, it was also seen by some as using gratuitous ultra-violence in place of quality storytelling. Of course, First Blood is now seen as a poignant and heartbreaking portrayal of veterans suffering from PTSD, so it will be interesting to see if Last Blood's reputation improves over time. The safe money would be on that not happening, but there's always a chance Last Blood could garner a cult following that supports it despite the harsh critiques.
Source: David Morrell/Twitter
- Rambo 5: Last Blood (2019) release date: Sep 20, 2019