The Best Rambo Sequel Is About An 11-Year-Old Boy
Absolutely no one in the world is clamoring for Sylvester Stallone to reprise the role of Judge Dredd or the “Demolition Man” or … whoever the hell the guy from Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was. But Sly has revisited a couple of his other famous characters in the 21st century -- Rocky Balboa in the Creed movies and John Rambo in 2008’s Rambo and 2018’s Rambo: Last Blood.
While people love those Rocky spin-offs, the Stallone-piloted Rambo franchise has arguably gone off the rails and landed in a dumpster behind the combination hypodermic needle and used diaper factory. Apparently, Stallone apparently considers the maniacal, gore-soaked Rambo to be the “best action film” he’s ever done, but the recent Last Blood feels like a Fox News segment became sentient and tried to write a screenplay with only Friday the 13th movies for reference.
Sure, the Rambo franchise was already far from perfect, not just the movies, but the mere existence of the Saturday morning cartoon series – because, presumably thanks to cocaine and Reaganism, ‘80s Hollywood executives thought that the grizzled Vietnam vet from multiple ultra-violent movies was the perfect candidate to, say, save Christmas.
But the original Rambo film, First Blood, is a legitimately great, earnest film about trauma and prejudice – and a sensitive one, too. The climax of the story is basically Rambo getting a hug from his wartime father figure.
While the subsequent sequels have arguably strayed from the quality and emotional weight of the original over the years, back in 2007 (just a year before we got Stallone’s zombie movie without zombies), another Rambo-themed movie hit theaters, all about … a bunch of British schoolchildren?
Garth Jennings’ Son of Rambow tells the story of a couple of kids (one of which is played by lil' Will Poulter) who are inspired to make their own wildly-dangerous, amateur Rambo movie with a camcorder after stumbling across a bootleg VHS tape of First Blood. Yes, this may be the only family comedy in which the inciting incident involves a small child watching an R-rated movie.
Even Stallone loved Son of Rambow, claiming that, while at first he “assumed it was going to be a very broad and stylized joke-a-minute comedy at Rambo’s expense,” he ultimately found it both “brilliant” and “heart-warming.” And it’s not like anyone’s making a movie about the power of creativity through the lens of some goddamn Chuck Norris movie.
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Top Image: Paramount