Stallone Says ‘Rambo’ Is Not An Action Movie

Nothing has stopped Sylvester Stallone from getting back into action. He still plays Rocky in the Creed movies. He released another Rambo movie this year. He’s working on Expendables 4. He certainly seems like a man of action. So it’s surprising to hear him say that not only is his Rambo franchise not comprised of action movies, but he doesn’t even like the genre. 

Sly Stallone in Rambo: Last Blood
Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: Last Blood | Yana Blajeva/Lionsgate

Stallone says just that in the bonus features on the Rambo: Last Blood Blu-ray. The movie is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD and digital. Also check the quote on the back of the box. It’s very reputable. Here are some of the bombs Stallone drops and that’s not even counting the explosions Rambo sets off! 

Why Stallone hates the term action films

It sounds a little odd for the star of Cobra, Cliffhanger, Demolition Man, Escape Plan and The Expendables to say he hates the term action films. It sort of defines most of his career. The Rocky movies are dramas but they still have fighting and training. And of all his movies, Stallone says the Rambo films aren’t action?

Stallone in Rambo: Last Blood
Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: Last Blood | Yana Blajeva/Lionsgate

“I detest the term action films because Rambo is not an action movie,” Stallone said. “I admit maybe the second one was but the fourth one was a drama. And this one is a full on drama that leads to this kind of Shakespearean finale.”

The genre Stallone is fighting for

Stallone has a point about Rambo. First Blood was a tragic story of a Vietnam veteran coming home to a hostile America. It was still action packed with Rambo’s escape and one man battle against the sheriff’s department. Stallone should include Rambo III as definitely a bombastic action movie along with II. It was the ‘80s after all. 

Rambo: Last Blood does deal more in the drama of Rambo trying to live a normal life, but springing into action when his niece (Yvette Monreal) needs help.  

Rambo: Last Blood Blu-ray | Lionsgate

“I don’t want this genre to die,” Stallone said. “Right now it’s on one leg and it shouldn’t be. In the ‘70s that’s all there was. Then unfortunately technology came in and characters that had no backstories. They’re just there in brightly colored outfits doing extraordinary things. What happens when they take their uniform off, go home and have to deal with the wife and kids? That’s what interests me.”

‘Rambo: Last Blood’ avoided one action movie trap

Most action sequels do try to top the previous movies. Rambo: Last Blood does have more graphic violence than even the previous Rambo. Stallone learned a lesson a long time ago that helped him avoid trying to top other Rambos.

“There was always that temptation that bigger is better,” Stallone said. “I found that out in Rocky Balboa that when you start to downsize and get back to what made it good in the first place.”

Rambo: Last Blood
Yvette Monreal and Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: Last Blood | Yana Blajeva/Lionsgate

So there is violence, but Last Blood goes deeper into what makes John Rambo who he is. 

“In this one Rambo speaks a lot more,” Stallone said. “He’s part of a family whereas he used to be isolated. So you get to really understand how he thinks, how he ticks. It’s quite different yet as emotional as the first one.”

Action or not, violence is a part of ‘Rambo’s world

Even as Stallone says Rambo isn’t an action film, he acknowledges its violent.

“I’ve always and I don’t apologize for it, there’s no more vicious animal on the planet than a human being,” Stallone said. “When that certain button is pushed, when your heart is ripped out of your body and you’re covered in grief, the vengeance that you will exact is something that is horrifying. You saw a little of that in the last Rambo but that was more of a war. This is something that’s as deep as it gets.”

Stallone knows that’s going to turn some viewers off. If they want sensitive Stallone, they can watch Rocky.

“I realize Rambo’s not for everyone,” Stallone said. “It’s very very intense. It’s like 100 proof whiskey. That’s a little strong. It’s meant to be. It’s not for children. It’s meant to really tell a deep dark brooding tale.”

Whatever the genre, Stallone won’t change

Whether Rambo is an action movie or not, it’s a Stallone movie. Stallone admitted he’s not going to change his ways at this point. 

Stallone in Rambo: Last Blood
Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: Last Blood | Yana Blajeva/Lionsgate

“Only do what you know,” Stallone said. “Don’t try to go into /someone else’s backyard and compete with the fellow who that’s his genre. He grew up on comic books. Just write about what you know and write about the human conditions heart energy and humor. If you can have those three components going I think you’ll have a very successful career.”

Stallone explains Rambo’s underground tunnels

One of the most striking things about Rambo: Last Blood is that Rambo has built a cave system under his ranch before the movie even begins. It is the setting of his final battle with a sex trafficking cartel, but fans wondered why he dug them in the first place.

“He’s built, for therapy reasons, these incredible labyrinth of tunnels that go underneath the property that go on for what seems like a mile,” Stallone said. “They make no sense to anyone but himself but by the end of the film you’ll see they do serve a purpose.”