What Rambo V: The Savage Hunt Was About
Stallone has openly wrestled with the idea of a fifth Rambo movie and has gone back and forth on it over the years. He was satisfied that Rambo’s final scene – where the character returns home after decades of self-imposed exile – was a fitting ending and worried another entry would cheapen it. He even briefly quit the project in 2016, when a more soulful, character-driven pitch he conceived with author David Morrell was rejected by producers. Interestingly, however, his initial pitch would have put the series in a new genre entirely.
In 2009, it was revealed James Byron Huggins' 1999 novel Hunter would form the basis of Rambo V: The Savage Hunt. The book centers on Nathaniel Hunter, the world’s best tracker. When a mysterious beast starts ripping through facilities in the Arctic circle, Hunter is tasked with leading a team of elite soldiers to track and kill it. That plan doesn’t go so well, as their first encounter with the creature reveals it to be impossibly fast and bulletproof. They soon have to make to an extraction point while stalked by a savage, but a surprisingly intelligent beast. Hunter also begins to suspect it might be man-made.
Hunter is a trashy but fun read, full of gory action scenes, larger than life characters, high-tech weaponry and some dubious science. Horror and sci-fi are two genres Stallone has tended to avoid throughout his career, but he had a creative hand in developing the book alongside the author. It seems the part of the story that really appealed to him is the Jekyll & Hyde quality, with a civilized man coming face to face with his inner, rage-filled id. That’s probably why he felt Rambo would be a good fit; inside of dropping the character into yet another war zone, Rambo finds himself confronting his inner beast.
Why Rambo V: The Savage Hunt Didn’t Happen
A plot synopsis appeared for Rambo V: The Savage Hunt, with the plot being virtually identical to Hunter, but with the addition of a new sidekick character named Beau Brady. It appears the concept never made it to actual script form, however, and Stallone quickly dropped the idea following fan reaction to Rambo battling a monster. He’s never dropped the idea of making Hunter, though, and after plans to make a 3D adventure out of it came to nothing back in 2012, it was recently confirmed his production company will tackle the adaptation in the near future.
Would Rambo V: The Savage Hunt have worked? On the face of it, it’s hard to track how a franchise that began will a traumatized veteran declaring war on a small town could evolve into Rambo punching a literal monster. That said, it's hard to track how it began that way and evolved into him driving a tank into a helicopter in Rambo III either. With the right approach, it could have been kind of fascinating to see the series completely switch gears into a full-on creature feature, but one with a psychological angle. It's probably for the best it didn't happen, but fans will get to see Hunter on the big screen regardless, and decide for themselves if Rambo vs Predator could have possibly worked.
- Rambo 5: Last Blood (2019) release date: Sep 20, 2019