Many in the media are hammering the newly released “Rambo: Last Blood” for being too closely aligned with President Donald Trump’s view of the U.S. border with Mexico.
The liberal Daily Beast has perhaps the most sensationalized headline in this regard: “‘Rambo: Last Blood’ Is a Trumpian, Anti-Mexican Nightmare.”
“Yes, Sylvester Stallone’s Vietnam veteran John Rambo has gone full MAGA (just like the real Sly),” The Daily Beast’s Nick Schager writes.
At the outset of his piece, the columnist argues, “Right-wing American extremism has never been more extreme, so it’s hardly surprising that Sylvester Stallone has once again resurrected his embodiment of jingoistic USA militarism, ‘John Rambo, for Rambo: Last Blood.'”
Schager goes on to describe the film as a “xenophobic bloodbath for our current Trumpian era.”
In the movie, Rambo has returned to the United States and is living a quiet life on an Arizona ranch.
His tranquility, however, quickly ends when Rambo’s niece is snatched by a Mexican cartel while she is south of the border.
As one can imagine, this sends the former Army Green Beret on a one-man rescue mission (a la Liam Neeson’s 2008 great “Taken”) and his own personal war against the cartel. Of course, there will be blood.
Schager sees “Rambo: Last Blood” as a “thinly veiled political propaganda aimed at red-state moviegoers.”
The Daily Beast isn’t the only media outlet panning the film for promoting a pro-Trump border message.
Slate calls it “part MAGA fantasy” that “completes John Rambo’s transformation into a Trumpian hero.”
“‘Last Blood’ is clearly an attempt to cash in on Trump-era fears of immigrant invasion—as the Mexican traffickers gather themselves for their assault on Rambo’s home, there’s a pointed shot of the border fence—but its climactic American carnage is a joyless grind,” Slate’s Sam Adams writes.
In his official film review for Variety, Peter Debruge is a little more subtle in hitting the movie for its “Trumpian” themes.
“Mexico’s gonna want a wall to keep bad hombres like John Rambo out in this cartel-smashing sequel to a franchise that’s long since run its course,” the article’s subheading reads.
Debruge contends that “Last Blood” should be called, “Rambo: Bad Hombres Edition.”
Trump has characterized drug dealers, human traffickers and other criminals crossing into the U.S. as “bad hombres.”
Debruge writes that the film features “fresh south-of-the-border mayhem from ‘Get the Gringo’ director Adrian Grunberg — in which screenwriters Matthew Cirulnick and Stallone adopt the racist view of Mexicans as murderers, drug dealers and rapists, devoid of cultural context or exceptions, beyond the ‘independent journalist’ (Paz Vega) keeping tabs on their whereabouts.”
WBUR-FM’s Sean Burns, meanwhile, sees “Last Blood” as “chock full of trendy, Fox News fear-mongering about our neighbors to the South, complete with loving shots of border walls that land like elbows to the ribs.”
The filmmakers have reversed John Rambo’s “entire iconography and made the insurgent indistinguishable from his oppressors,” Burns laments.
“I guess they think they’ve made Rambo great again.”
Moviegoers do not seem to be dissuaded by these and other reviewers panning of the 5th installment of the Rambo franchise, which first hit the big screen during the Reagan presidency in 1982’s “First Blood.”
Deadline reported that “Last Blood” took in $1.5 million in special Thursday night previews, which bodes well for a strong opening weekend.
Rambo rides again and while many in the media may not like it, a lot of Americans are glad to see his return.
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