Rambo Creator Slams ‘Last Blood’ Movie

With franchise reboots, it’s almost a guarantee that not everyone will be pleased. Etched in the minds of fans as untouchable, certain movies and characters should be left alone, or, at the very least, done right. Rambo is back in theaters with its original star, Sylvester Stallone, but apparently, not even he is enough to sway naysayers.

David Morrell and Sylvester Stallone
David Morrell and Sylvester Stallone on set of ‘Rambo’ | Kevin Horan/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

‘Last Blood’ a mess to ‘Rambo’ creator

Nay says the author of Rambo, David Morell, who shared his thoughts on Twitter about the latest film. The origins of the Rambo character began with Morell, whose novel, First Blood, was published in 1972.

It serves as the basis of the debut film that saw Stallone bring the character to life on the big screen. He’s not a fan of the new Rambo.

Morrell told Newsweek that he initially was tapped to consult with Stallone for the film while it was being written. They spoke over the phone a few times, and Morrell was under the impression this version of Rambo would be “soulful” with its missing child storyline.

Instead he was left disappointed after seeing Rambo: Last Blood, telling the outlet:

“I felt degraded and dehumanized after I left the theater. Instead of being soulful, this new movie lacks one. I felt I was less a human being for having seen it, and today that’s an unfortunate message.”

Ouch. He went on to note similarities in style and lack of character development between this movie and a 1976 film called Trackdown.

“That film is typical of ultra-violent 1970s exploitation ‘grindhouse’ films, the technique of which ‘Rambo: Last Blood’ resembles. The sets here look cheap. The direction is awkward.”

Morrell added:

“Rambo could be called John Smith, and the film wouldn’t change. It assumes the audience is familiar with Rambo’s background, whereas anyone under 40 will wonder what on Earth is going on with those tunnels.”

Morrell has worked on ‘Rambo’ movies in the past

The author has written more than two dozen novels with First Blood marking his debut. Although his other works are not related to the nameless character who became Rambo on film, Morrell has worked extensively with the franchise that spawned five installments.

He spoke to Digital Spy last year about the character’s arc through the first four films, and how sometimes books don’t always translate well for cinema, but Rambo worked.

He said the sequels deviated greatly from the books but he’s grateful for how he was treated during the movie-making process.

“But that’s when the Rambo phenomenon really took off – at the start of Rambo 2 … So in and 3, he’s a different character from the [first] movie, and he’s a different character from my novel. And then in 4, he’s different again.

I feel I’ve been treated pretty well. I’ve got no reason to be embarrassed with ‘First Blood’.”

Why so many critics don’t like ‘Last Blood’

Morrell isn’t the only one with harsh words for the Rambo: Last Blood sequel. It currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 32%, with critics saying it’s “a piece of excrement,” “generic,” “depressing,” and “no fun.”

ScreenRant rated it a 1.5 on the site, writing “Last Blood is an exercise in excessively gory violence and dubious political action moviemaking that adds little of value to the Rambo property.”

David Fear of Rolling Stone also panned the movie for its shaky plot and stereotypes:

“As for the usual jingoistic chest-thumping, that’s saved for a climactic voiceover. But ‘Last Blood‘s basic takeaway — that heroes wear white hats and bad guys have brown skin — will be trumpeted throughout the whole bloody affair, from beginning to things-go-boom end. This is apparently what a Rambo movie circa 2019 now means. The man-vs.-cartel action you crave will be smothered in irresponsible fearmongering.”

Everyday audience members have more favorable reviews of the film, and online, you’ll see it’s been rated between 80% and 94%.  

Stallone, who is now 73, could be hanging up his Rambo bandana for good this time, but who knows? One thing is certain and that’s the fact that fans will ultimately make up their own minds on the luster of Rambo: Last Blood. Nostalgia has its benefits.