A little past the middle of a recent screening of Rambo: Last Blood, after Rambo casually dropped a severed head from his pickup truck window, author David Morrell shook his head and laughed to himself — but not because he found it funny.
"In my novel, Rambo is a man bitter about what he learned about himself in war," says the Santa Fe writer of the iconic character he created in 1972's First Blood. "That's not dramatized at all in the new movie. Anyone 40 years or younger won't have the faintest idea what's troubling him."
The man on the screen, he says, isn't his Rambo, a disenfranchised, angry Vietnam War vet coming to terms with the killing he did for a nation he no longer understood — and which no longer understood him.
Fast forward through three sequels, and Rambo (73-year-old Sylvester Stallone) is training horses in Arizona when a Mexican crime cartel kidnaps his niece. Rambo crosses the border to get her back, and then members of the cartel come looking for him. Carnage ensues — and it's a brutal, ugly ride. Characters are raped, drugged, beat up, slashed, shot, and bombed to death. One character has his heart cut out onscreen while he's still breathing.
Though Rambo experiences a flashback or two that hint at trauma in Vietnam, Last Blood's Rambo is so removed from David Morrell's creation that he may just as well have been called John Smith, Morrell says.
"My feeling about the character is that he usually reflects something happening in the culture of the time. If this film is a representation of what's going on in our country, we're doomed."
In this Sept. 26, 2013 file photo, Joseph Hunter, second from left, a former U.S. Army sniper who became a private mercenary, is in the custody of Thai police commandos after being arrested in Bangkok, Thailand. (Associated Press/Sakchai Lalit)
A former Army sergeant who worked as a sniper instructor and carved out a post-military career as a mercenary under the moniker 'Rambo' was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the contract killing of a woman in the Philippines, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday.
As mainland China has risen in the last two decades, it has remained firmly behind the United States in one key area: action movies. No matter how hard they seem to try, if the action movie isn't set during the Qing dynasty, it ends up being a steaming pile of Mǎ shǐ.
The Wolf Warrior series is the latest Chinese attempt to unseat the dying Hollywood tradition of a big budget explosion fest, and it fails harder than the Belt and Road initiative.
You know what what America really needs right now? No, not new and bold war films based on the storied battles of the Forever War. Nah, what we need is another blood-soaked, bulgy-veined rampage starring the action genre’s most iconic PTSD-addled veteran: John Rambo.