A series of uniquely retro videos have emerged online, recapping the grueling, 36-year journey of John Rambo ahead of his final adventure in Rambo: Last Blood. The character, which would go on to become one of Sylvester Stallone's most iconic and enduring, first debuted in 1982's First Blood. 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. Although the film experienced yet another poor response from critics, it rode a wave of nostalgia to 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.
Ahead of the new film, many hardcore fans will no doubt be more than happy to revisit the past films in order to refresh their memory of the character's various adventures. For casual fans and those lacking time, however, Regal Movies took to their official Twitter account to offer some fantastically unique recaps. Each video separately tackles one of the previous films and boasts its own retro style. The first comes in the form of an 80s animated series. The second picks up in the wake of the first, exploring Rambo's stint in prison and subsequent return to Vietnam - all delivered in the style of a toy commercial. The Rambo III recap meanwhile comes hilariously in the form of a classic, 8-bit game. The recapped journey doesn't end there, however, with even "Reading Rambo" getting a nod, hilariously depicting the character's violent ways as a children's book. Each of the videos can be seen below:
First Blood – The Complete Recap pic.twitter.com/GmKgRDdRMd— Regal @ #TIFF19 (@RegalMovies) September 12, 2019
Rambo: First Blood Part II pic.twitter.com/AxS2LmmKlm— Regal @ #TIFF19 (@RegalMovies) September 12, 2019
The film will also star Spanglish actress Paz Vega. She will play a journalist who joins Rambo in his crusade against a drug cartel after her younger half-sister is kidnapped. Sergio Peris-Mencheta, meanwhile, will play the concluding installment's principal villain. It remains to be seen if any past characters from the Rambo canon ultimately return. Adrian Grunberg, however, served as the film's director - working from a script written by Stallone and Matthew Cirulnick.
It remains to be seen just how well this final mission fares with fans and critics, but Stallone has already ensured that it more than earns its hard R rating. Equally, early projections have the film emerging as the most financially successful of the entire franchise. As such, the seeming return to more personal stakes appears to have paid off. The film will likely prove not quite as tongue-in-cheek as the above recaps. Still, they will no doubt an extremely amusing tool in keeping the character in the public consciousness ahead of Rambo: Last Blood's release.
- Rambo 5: Last Blood (2019) release date: Sep 20, 2019