Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Rambo Last Blood
Directed by Adrian Grunberg
Written by Dan Gordon, Matthew Cirulnick, Sylvester Stallone
Rambo has long been an action hero staple in theaters, and each outing has seen the character of John Rambo take on one form of injustice or another. This film seemed to have tried hard to give the look and feel of the successful Logan (2017), but with sub-par acting and some of the worst dialogue ever written this film is just painful to watch.
Here comes the spoilers.
John Rambo is living the sunset of his life out on a horse ranch his deceased father owned. John runs it with a woman and her grand-daughter. Without much buildup we are given a few scenes to show minimal endearment between Rambo and his sort of adopted daughter. She turns 18 and is soon to leave for college, but reveals to Rambo and her grandmother her desire to meet her recently found father in Mexico so she can ask him why he wasn’t a part of her life. Against the protests and warnings she goes anyways. All just to setup a situation where she is kidnapped and forced into prostitution. Rambo goes across the border to track her down, and crosses paths with the cartel brothers who runs things in that area. They beat and mark Rambo and when they discover the girl Rambo came looking for they decide to really crank up her suffering. Luckily Rambo who was left for dead is rescued by a woman who turns out to be an investigative reporter. The fact she is a reporter has no real other purpose in the film, but more on that later. She helps him recover but several days have past. Rambo locates her brothel and he goes on a rampage to find her and leaves with her in his truck back home. Along the way home she eventually succumbs to her torture and drugs injected into her and dies seemingly from an overdose. Rambo goes back and kills some more people, but goes home to prepare one final stand against the rest of the cartel gang. Too simple and rushed.
Very little character development in this film. Yet this is something that can be fixed. Sylvester Stallone is notorious for his montages in film. We get one montage of him preparing for the final battle, but the one needed was the one showing the ten years of him raising this girl and the bond that existed between them. Show us the girl drawing the horse on the tunnel wall. Show us him discovering hope in his life. Show this so when it dies in his arms it matters more. Show vulnerability. That is what was missing from this film. Show the reporter’s vulnerability of being a person who writes the news but now is too scared to publish news because fear of retaliation from the cartel. Yet have her now write anonymous news stories about the old man taking on the cartel brothers by himself. Draw out these scenes a bit more with more targeted attacks in Mexico to draw out the brothers and disrupt their various illegal operations. Rambo frees the women in the brothel, then destroys a drug factory, then rescues a group of people from execution. These are all things that could have elevated the action and given the reporter’s character something to write about and expose the cartels and give her a way to fight against them with words that inspire the people of Mexico to also stand up and fight as they can. That is what a Rambo movie should be. Fighting against the wrong and injustice in the world. Sadly the writer’s missed the mark here.
With just one, maybe two montages, and you tremendously improve the film and give two characters at least some depth and real purpose beyond just simple revenge.
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