Sylvester Stallone’s “Rambo: Last Blood” opens this weekend with a dismaying 39% score from Rotten Tomatoes. This is a considerable decline, critically, from the last entry into the megahit franchise, so it will naturally have casual fans wondering if Stallone strayed from the brutally violent course that has made John Rambo such a cultural icon.
Now, we haven’t seen the movie, so we can’t say for sure. Maybe it really is bad. Maybe it’s just “bad” in the way that action movies sometimes are when you’re a critic looking to show everyone how above-it-all and erudite you are in your discretion.
But reading through some of the reviews, we get the feeling that something else is going on here entirely. These critics aren’t reviewing the movie so much as they are reviewing the politics of the movie.
“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,” warns Variety.
Yes, Rambo is facing off against the Mexican drug cartel in this installment, and since the movie is apparently not framed as a veiled critique of the Trump administration’s policies on illegal immigration, it’s a dud. You can’t suggest that there are any bad people in Mexico without a fearful backlash from the Warriors of Wokeness.
“Suddenly, the infamous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border seems inadequate — less in containing the cartels than in protecting them from Rambo’s brand of vigilante justice,” Variety continues.
Like, that’s clever and all, but could you be a little bit more obvious about what actually bothers you about the movie? If you put all of your politics aside for a moment, admitted that yes, there are monstrous people working in the Mexican drug cartels, and got over your obsession with hating Trump, would it still be a terrible film?
We never find out. And Variety isn’t alone.
“The filmmakers have made Mexico seem like an infinite wasteland of crime and death, and most of the Latinx characters on screen are criminals or broad stereotypes. I understand that Rambo films have rarely been bastions of cultural togetherness, but in 2019, these broad stereotypes are offensive and dated and downright irresponsible,” writes the reviewer for IGN.
Never trust a reviewer who actually uses the term “Latinx.”
“In many ways it makes sense if, after nearly four decades, the Rambo saga comes to an end with a final film that also makes a statement about modern politics and society. The problem is that Rambo: Last Blood might be making the wrong statement,” reads a review from Blue Harvest films.
In other words, a statement they don’t agree with politically.
As we said, we haven’t seen the movie. Maybe it really does stink up the joint. But you won’t know for sure until you judge it for yourself, because the abysmal reviews are coming from people who have temporarily abandoned their roles as film critics to act as immigration activists.