Rambo: Last Blood marks the third occasion the Howell family has had a chance to take in the 4DX experience. And Last Blood is a strange mix of subtle and bash you over the head in terms of entertainment. I’ll tackle the 4DX first as I feel it necessary to separate that experience from the movie itself particularly with this film. Rambo’s use of 4DX was in stark contrast to that of Hobbs & Shaw (H&S) in that H&S really went over the top with the use of movement and the force feedback built in to the chair. Rambo however used slower sweeping movements in conjunction with long lens shots to simulate that feeling of flight. Fight scenes were more reserved with the force feedback than H&S and honestly the experience was the better for it.
Only once do I even remember the rear of the seat popping me in the back and with the scene on screen it was perfectly timed and really drew me in as opposed to pulling me out of the film. Another difference was that the use of air blasts and water blasts were better timed and used a bit more sparingly. To be fair though the majority of the film takes place in the desert so water blasts would have been a bit of over kill. The air blasts were timed perfectly and again drew me into the experience instead of pulling me out of it. After the film I my family echoed my statements in regard to the experience so I’d say 4DX wise Rambo:Last Blood was a rousing success.
The film itself takes a very different approach in that subtlety not only goes out the window, I’m pretty sure Stallone threw it out the window with some C4 strapped to it’s chest onto a pile of rebar spikes that were doused with gasoline. I want to be clear, some will read that and think it’s negative, some will be giddy with anticipation. Neither of them are wrong. What I mean by that is your mileage will vary depending on your tastes in regards to violence. I thought the previous installment pushed the envelope at the time, well Stallone must have thought pushing the envelope was not enough so in Last Blood he just runs over it with a Sherman tank. And honestly, I loved every minute of it.
Without spoiling any story beats I’d like to say that Last Blood earns every bit of the carnage that it unleashes. And it’s those story beats where I feel like Last Blood will draw most of it’s criticism. But to me as much as some of the actions perpetrated by the villains are hard to watch, they are things that happen in real life. And Last Blood does not back away from them, it does stop just short of going to far in my opinion, but again, your mileage may vary. There will be some that criticize it, but I am willing to bet the same people would have criticized the film had it NOT went there.
One plot point I will touch on is John J. Rambo dealing with, apparently, the effects of long term PTSD which honestly was refreshing to see. Historically Rambo has touched on it at various times and in this film it’s obvious that it hasn’t gone away. He makes reference to “trying to keep a lid on it daily,” which….UM YEAH, RAMBO.
I’ve read others online compare the third act battle as a grown up war version of Home Alone, and frankly, they’re not wrong. However as I said earlier, your mileage will vary with it. I thought it was brutal and earned and I enjoyed it to a certain extent, but I understand some may find it a bit much. It borders on the ridiculous and some say the climax IS ridiculous but we’re talking
about John J Rambo’s last stand, are we not? What I will say is Stallone does not shy away from things that would easily be skimmed over in lesser films and I believe the film is the better for it. Rambo along with Rocky are the two characters and by extension, franchises that Stallone seems to have a supreme understanding of even if he veers off the path a bit during the run of both. I’ve always been a sucker for sentimental Stallone both in moments during film and in his writing, and Last Blood has bits of it in both. I recommend
both the film & the 4DX experience, but maybe leave the kiddo’s at home.