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Rambo: Last Blood - 4K Blu-ray Review

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Rambo: Last Blood

Tenacious is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Sylvester Stallone. He was once one of the highest-paid and most successful actors in cinema’s history, and, like most, has had his fair share of career highlights and—lets be kind—lulls.

"Competent but dumb. Not a fitting last chapter. Sorry, Mr. Stallone."


About a decade ago, Sly came out of a particularly long downturn and righted a wrong by bookended the Rocky series perfectly. Then, not to rest on his laurels, he created a whole new nostalgia thick franchise in The Expendables movies and gave us an equally satisfying new Rambo film that trounced all but the original in quality.

2008’s Rambo took the poignancy of the first film, the one man army excesses of the cartoonish sequels, and gave us a rousing, extremely violent but extremely good story with an aging John Rambo. It’s final scene, showing perennial fringe-dweller Rambo finally returning home to his family farm in America perfectly depicted a sense of hope that he’d served his purpose and sought peace for his remaining days. It was another slam dunk for Stallone and one of his icons.

As reviews, such as my own, started to hit the mark upon its release, Stallone had already started thinking of another one. Not wanting to underestimate this man, I committed to wait and see. Well, it took over a decade with plans abandoned and restarts galore. Stallone himself had given up on the idea several times, but, in late 2018, cameras rolled on Last Blood.

Perhaps they shouldn’t have.

In this one, Rambo has domesticated on his family farm. With no blood relations remaining, he has taken under his wing an elderly woman and her granddaughter and formed, as best as Rambo could, a surrogate family. The young lady, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal) Rambo so vehemently wants to protect has a tragic past, with her late mother a victim of cancer and her absent father something of a deadbeat. On the cusp of going to college, Gabrielle decides she needs to see her father who is back in Mexico. Against Rambo’s advice, she crosses the border and falls victim to a sex trafficking cartel. Of course, Rambo will not let that stand, and goes down there to save her. But these cartel fiends are numerous and cruel and cost Rambo dearly. He is defeated definitively upon his arrival there… but he never goes down for long. He regroups and draws them to his family’s farm, where he’s prepared to unleash hell on the demonic ass wipes. Shit gets very bloody.

This script has none of the real world poignancy it’s trying for. Its first flaw is trying to shoehorn a decade of Rambo’s domestic life (who could never function in the civilized world) into a few token moments before descended into a cliché ridden hackneyed revenge plot. The characterizations of all the characters, including Rambo, are one note and lack any real world connection. There is certainly the topical subject of cartel power and the sex trade, but the villains are all one note and forgettable.Rambo: Last Blood

If you’re after the more cartoonish Rambo of the 80s sequels, you’ll be in flavor country. It’s impressive that a man in his 70s still can kick ass effectively, and he does… copiously. But I won’t cut Sly any slack with this one, because he named it LAST BLOOD. It’s obvious he was trying to connect back to the first film. Unfortunately, this one lacks any of its thoughtful restraint, and emotionally resonant violence. This is a very basic action revenge movie that never gets close to attaining its lofty goal. The poster should have gone full cliché and exclaimed: THIS TIME ITS PERSONAL.

Competent but dumb. Not a fitting last chapter. Sorry, Mr. Stallone.

1/5 stars

Rambo: Last Blood

4K

4K UHD Details:

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital

Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate
Available on Blu-ray
- December 17, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A' 4K UHD region-free playback

VIDEO:

We get an impressive native 4K scan (Dolby TrueVision/HDR10+) that renders every moment in rich, varied hues. From the darkest darks to the sun-kissed vistas my QLED display radiated with color. HDR is decent, and adds a little more pop in bloody scenes and the aforementioned landscapes. Details in the faces are remarkable in close ups. I noticed a few seldom (potential color timing?) artifacts in the backgrounds. Apart from that, you could ask for no better.

AUDIO:

Another spectacular Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix that’ll rock your speakers or make the neighbor’s think WW3 has begun, come the finale. Ambience and environmental sound is excellent in action scenes, but for the more subdued moments lacking. Dialogue is crisp, clean and natural. It’s a great mix.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There’s a near hour long making of attached that covers the entirety of production, then another shorter featurette and a trailer. Hey, that’s a better offering than a lot of the 4K discs coming out now. Shame it’s not for movie that’s worth learning too much more about.

4K UHD Rating:

  Movie 2/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall 4K UHD Experience

3.5/5 stars

Rambo: Last Blood

MPAA Rating: R for strong graphic violence, grisly images, drug use and language.
Runtime:
89 mins
Director
: Adrian Grunberg
Writer:
Matthew Cirulnick, Sylvester Stallone
Cast:
Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta
Genre
: Action
Tagline:
His war comes home.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I finally came home, to defend the only family I've ever known. But all she's got is me. She's coming home."
Theatrical Distributor:
Lionsgate
Official Site: https://rambo.movie/
Release Date:
September 20, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 17, 2019.
Synopsis: Rambo must confront his past and unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission.

Rambo: Last Blood

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