Sylvester Stallone has posted a new Rambo: Last Blood promo, casting lighthearted shade on criticisms regarding the franchise's penchant for violence. John Rambo first debuted in 1982's First Blood and would go on to become one of Stallone's most iconic and enduring characters. Adapted from a 1972 novel, the film proved to be a surprisingly resonant (albeit action-packed) affair, following a PTSD-suffering Vietnam vet tormented by an abusive small-town sheriff and his deputies. Proving a success, the franchise would move into outright blockbuster territory with 1985’s Rambo: First Blood Part II and 1988’s Rambo III. Although they lacked the original film's more emotional themes, and the third installment failed to land at the box office, both sequels would help to solidify Stallone's status as an action icon.
Stallone would not reprise the role again until 2008's John Rambo. Although the fourth installment experienced yet another poor response from critics, it rode a wave of nostalgia to earn enough of a box office return to be considered a success. A fifth installment was planned - which Rambo creator David Morrell even called an "awards contender" - but it was ultimately scrapped. Following that, Stallone was all set to officially retire the character. In 2018, however, it was announced that the veteran actor would go to war one last time. A recent international trailer finally laid out what would serve as the installment's central plot.
The video was shared by Stallone on his personal Instagram. It doesn't feature anything new in terms of footage - merely offering quick flashes of the former soldier back in explosive, blood-soaked action. It's the choice of voiceover and the use of old clips of British moviegoers discussing the franchise, however, that make this promo particularly unique. While one audience member describes the saga as "extremely violent" and another labels it "rather disturbing", another merely offered that he "thought he was just Americans doing what they usually do in these films". With tongue firmly in cheek, the voiceover admits that "it's not everyone's cup of tea" before cutting to the aforementioned action and urging fans to grab their seats and judge for themselves. Check out the full promo in the space below:
The reviews for Rambo: Last Blood have proven largely negative, even when compared to the level of vitriol levied as Rambo III. The harshest of them was even offered by the franchise's original writer. Regardless, the film is expected to enjoy a moderately healthy return at the box office, with some even projecting a franchise-best opening. As such, despite the definitive nature of the title, there is already talk of a potential Rambo 6. Stallone, however, appears more set on a Rambo prequel. Actors returning to their more iconic characters has proven a trend in recent years, with Stallone himself recently reprising the role of Rocky Balboa for Creed and Creed II. Fellow 80s action star Arnold Schwarzenegger will reprise his role as the T-800 (aka Carl) in Terminator: Dark Fate.
Though Rambo: Last Blood appears to be a straight-up serious adventure, the new promo is just the latest in a line of meta, self-referential marketing for the film. A brilliant set of Rambo franchise recap videos were released a little over a week ago. In terms of the latest one, as evidenced by the waves of concern surrounding the upcoming Joker film, debates regarding the violent content of films (and video games) will inevitably continue to rage. Whatever side of the fence fans ultimately finds themselves on, there is clearly a market for such action-packed outings on the big screen. As such, Stallone has thrown down the gauntlet for fans to test for themselves whether they are a part of that target audience.
Rambo: Last Blood is in theaters now.
Source: Sylvester Stallone/Instagram