|I tried keeping an open mind.|
After hearing and reading a bunch of mixed reactions about the movie, I just decided to set some time aside last night to see it in theaters myself.
It's not good.
*spoilers, I guess*
The main issue for me was that the first 30/40 (maybe even 50??) minutes of the movie was a HUGE waste of time. The movie tries so hard to set-up John's life on the ranch with a woman and her granddaughter, and trying so hard to push across that he has this "bond" with them. It feels forced and really, really stretched out. Then it spends a ridiculous amount of screentime to the granddaughter as she goes to Mexico and eventually gets kidnapped. Then, for some reason, it proceeds to show Rambo as an idiot: he just tries to get her back without any real thought or plan, and ends up getting caught and the ever-loving crap kicked out of him by an armed group.
Does the movie finally pick up here? No, it spends more time lingering as we watch Rambo lay unconscious, recovering from his concussion. A MONTAGE OF RAMBO LYING ON A COUCH. I'm not even making that up. This is truly what I expect in a Rambo movie... I can somewhat understand if the movie is trying to show Rambo as an old, fickle man who's a shadow of what he used to be, but that's not even the case; when Rambo finally goes full-Rambo in this film, he's PRETTY HARDCORE ABOUT IT. Gruesome kills per second to the point where I thought I was watching a horror movie. So I just chalk up the majority of the movie to horrible pacing and writing.
You can erase or heavily shorten the first 30/40 minutes of the movie and no actual value would be lost. You know what the absolute worst part is? It's a really short movie. So all that "worldbuilding" for the first 30/40 minutes was an even bigger waste when you realize the runtime. I would highly recommend passing on this in theater and a very, VERY cautious buy on home release. Get it cheap at least or, if possible, see if there's a clip on YouTube on the 10/15-ish minute slaughterfest finale; it's the highlight of the movie, and even then, it doesn't save the movie as a whole, sadly.
I guess if I had to rank the movies, it would go:
1. First Blood
3. First Blood Part 2
4. Rambo III
5. Last Blood
I considered putting Rambo III in last, but Rambo crashing into a helicopter with a tank is just precious. I was legitimately upset that scene wasn't in the end credit montage for Last Blood.
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