Sylvester Stallone’s classic film characters have spanned decades, and over the years the actor-screenwriter has learned to stay true to their essence.
That’s what he did with the action hero in Rambo: Last Blood, the supposedly final chapter in the “Rambo” series, available digital and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD from Lionsgate.
“There’s always that temptation that bigger is better,” Stallone said in the special features. As with the evolution of Rocky Balboa, another of his iconic characters, it’s more effective “to downsize and get back to what made it good in the first place,” he said.
The fifth film in the “Rambo” franchise finds Stallone’s tortured warrior John Rambo in a brief moment of relative peace before he must unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission. Stallone called it a “kind of Shakespearean finale” steeped in drama and emotional upheaval.
“The culmination you know is going to be seismic; it’s going to be volcanic,” he said.
One of the major sets in the film is a series of tunnels that Rambo constructs underneath his bucolic farm, where he lives with his niece and her grandmother.
“He’s a horse trainer now, and he’s fairly successful, and he’s come to terms and is at peace with himself except for these momentary lapses [of PTSD],” said Stallone.
“More than the man cave, I think it’s this tunnel that is the path to and from his psyche, his memories,” said director Adrian Grünberg in the special features. “You see all his past paraphernalia, his knifes, his weapons, his photos, his music, all that past that he says in the movie he wants to keep a lid on, so I think literally the earth is a lid that separates this world down below.”
That lid on the famous Rambo drive for vengeance blows when his niece is kidnapped in Mexico.
“This is everyone’s worst nightmare … children being abducted,” Stallone said in the extras. “What can be worse?”
This trial draws a harrowing and deeper picture of Rambo.
“We’ve told the entire odyssey of a man’s arc,” Stallone said in the extras. “By the end of this film, he’s sacrificed everything.”
Will it truly be the last time audiences see this uniquely flawed action hero?
“It is an open ending,” Stallone said.
Rambo: Last Blood Best Buy-exclusive Steelbook
AN EXPLOSIVE CATALOG IN 4K
All four other installments in the saga of Rambo also are available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray:
First Blood (1982)
Stallone originates the role of war hero John Rambo. An ex-Green Beret haunted by memories of Vietnam, he was once the perfect killing machine. Now he’s searching for peace, but finds instead an overzealous, small-town sheriff who’s spoiling for a fight. All hell breaks loose when an unjustly imprisoned Rambo escapes and becomes the target of a massive manhunt. He must use all his cunning, combat skills and weapons training to stay alive and outwit his pursuers. The film co-stars Brian Dennehy and Richard Crenna.
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Stallone is back as John Rambo in a sequel to First Blood, with a screenplay by Stallone and James Cameron (Titanic). Rambo’s survival skills are tested on a top-secret mission that takes him back to the jungles of Vietnam in search of American POWs. When Rambo is double-crossed, he must defeat savage enemies equipped with deadly firepower, armed with just a bow, arrows and knife.
Rambo III (1988)
Stallone’s Rambo has finally begun to find inner peace inside a monastery — until his friend and mentor Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) shows up to ask for his help on a top-secret mission in Afghanistan. A war-weary Rambo declines, but when Trautman is captured, Rambo erupts into a one-man firestorm to rescue his former commanding officer and decimate the enemy.
After spending several years in northern Thailand operating a longboat on the Salween River, Stallone’s Rambo reluctantly agrees to carry a group of Christian missionaries into war-torn Burma. When the aid workers are captured by ruthless Nationalist Army soldiers, Rambo leads a group of battle-scarred, combat-hardened mercenaries on a mission to rescue the prisoners.
Extras on Last Blood include the “Drawing Last Blood: Multipart Production Diary” featurette, the “From First Note to Last Blood: Music for the Massacres” featurette and the theatrical trailer.