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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Adrian Grunberg
Cast:
Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta
Writing Credits:
Sylvester Stallone, Matthew Cirulnick

Synopsis:
Rambo must confront his past and unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission.

MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 12/17/2019

Bonus:
• “Drawing Last Blood” Production Diary
• “From First Note to Last Blood” Featurette
• Trailer & Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


Rambo: Last Blood [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 19, 2019)

Back in 1988, Rambo III turned into a commercial disappointment. While it didn’t flop, it failed to capitalize on the high expectations that followed the enormous success of 1985’s Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Because Rambo III didn’t turn into a real hit, that seemed like the end of the franchise, but Sylvester Stallone decided to revive his sullen Vietnam veteran role for 2008’s Rambo. That one did less than spectacular numbers as well, so it looked like the series really, truly came to a close.

Once again, Stallone chose otherwise, and that led to 2019’s Rambo: Last Blood. Still in search of a peaceful life, John Rambo (Stallone) now lives on a ranch in Arizona.

Rambo resides with longtime friend Maria Beltran (Adriana Barraza) and her teenage granddaughter Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal). Rambo develops a warm, fatherly bond with Gabrielle.

When Gabrielle heads to Mexico to meet her long-lost father, she ends up abducted by a cartel and sold into sexual slavery. Rambo heads across the border to rescue Gabrielle as well as punish her abductors.

Across the five Rambo movies to date, John himself remains the only constant. His former commander Colonel Trautman played a fairly substantial role in the first three, but Richard Crenna died before the 2008 film, so any potential continuation of that relationship went by the wayside.

Given the nature of the Rambo character, this makes sense. We see him as a conflicted loner, not someone with tight friend/family bonds, so the lack of continuity with others seems logical.

However, this also means that new roles feel like they come out of nowhere, and that really feels true for Last Blood. We find ourselves with a major character in Gabrielle but nothing to connect her to the prior four flicks.

Again, I can see how this reflects a potential reality, but in execution, the relationship feels trite and convenient. We don’t sense that Rambo’s sedate lifestyle with Gabrielle and Maria exists in an organic way.

Instead, the characters appear to exist solely to motivate action. We find ourselves with little reason to attach to Gabrielle beyond stock movie clichés, mainly because we realize she appears on screen for no reason other than to become Rambo’s Cause Du Jour.

Last Blood devotes a surprising amount of screen time to Gabrielle’s backstory, as about the first one-fourth of the movie follows her tale. This turns into enough cinematic real estate to bore the viewer but not enough to truly flesh out the role.

We get all of this for only one reason: to send Rambo on yet another violent quest for justice. I do appreciate the fact that all five Rambo flicks take place in different settings and don’t simple remake each other, but Last Blood doesn’t do much to capitalize on the character’s strengths.

Honestly, there’s not much to make this feel like a Rambo film beyond the usual graphic violence. The domesticated Rambo on display here doesn’t seem all that connected to the haunted loner of the past, and much of the plot comes across like a generic rehash of the Taken series.

For a movie with such a simple narrative – and a brief 89-minute running time - Last Blood really tends to plod. It takes surprisingly long to get where it needs to go in terms of development, and even when it finally reaches that destination, it feels limp.

Last Blood comes with some unnecessarily cruel story points, and it doesn’t deliver the goods when it reaches it climax. This occurs partly – or perhaps mainly – because the movie doesn’t invest enough into its villains.

Sure, we want to see the baddies punished, as the film makes them out to be thoroughly reprehensible. However, this desire doesn’t go beyond the generic, as we don’t attach enough visceral emotion to the antagonists to really root for their comeuppance.

Tack on a climax that clearly borrows from Home Alone and Last Blood sputters. If this becomes the final adventure of John Rambo, then the character goes out on a dull note.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Rambo: Last Blood appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I thought the transfer replicated the source well.

Sharpness worked fine. A few shots seemed slightly soft, but not to a problematic degree, and the majority of the film appeared accurate and well-defined. I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also caused no concerns.

Last Blood went with a mix of amber, yellow and teal. That was fine for the movie’s visual design, so I found the hues to seem appropriate.

Blacks were dense and deep, and shadows fared well. Low-light shots delivered appropriate delineation and clarity. All in all, this became a satisfying presentation.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, I also felt pleased with the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Last Blood. A solid soundfield, it just barely lacked the ambition to reach “A”-level.

Not surprisingly, the mix came to life best during the violent sequences. Bullets, explosions and the like zipped around us and made sure that we felt as though we were part of the action.

Even during more passive sequences, the film offered a good soundscape. Music showed nice stereo presence, while environmental elements popped up in logical, natural locations. Although the mix only soared on occasion, it still formed a solid sense of atmosphere.

From start to finish, the flick boasted excellent audio quality. Speech was crisp and concise, with good intelligibility and no edginess.

Music sounded bright and dynamic, and effects were very strong. They demonstrated fine clarity and accuracy, and the mix also featured positive bass response. This was a consistently engaging track.

As we head to extras, we find Drawing Last Blood, a five-part production diary that runs a total of 50 minutes, 20 seconds. It mixes footage from the set with narration from writer/actor Sylbester Stallone, director Adrian Grunberg, producers Les Weldon and Kevin King Templeton, production designer Franco-Giacomo Carbone, 2nd unit director Vern Nobles, and actors Yvette Monreal and Paz Vega.

In these comments, we get a mix of production domains like cast/performances, sets and locations, stunts, and related areas. This doesn’t quite substitute for a full-length commentary, but the participants give us a good examination of the film’s creation, and the use of behind the scenes footage adds value.

From First Note to Last Blood runs 17 minutes, 22 seconds and offers comments from composer Brian Tyler. As expected, he discusses his score, and Tyler makes this a reasonably engaging piece.

The disc opens with ads for John Wick Chapter 3 - Parabellum, Angel Has Fallen, Escape Plan: The Extractors, Semper Fi and 3 From Hell. We also get the trailer for Last Blood.

Easily the lowest-grossing film in the series, I suspect Rambo: Last Blood will finally put the franchise to rest. I can’t bemoan this possibility, as Last Blood offers a thin, predictable kill-fest with little merit. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with a few informative bonus features. Last Blood lacks much to make it an effective action flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
25:
04:
0 3:
02:
11:
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