Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo: Last Blood opened last Friday, and was met with a hostile reception from critics (26 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), including our own Tori Preston, who suggested that the film “is so high on its own mythology, it doesn’t see how badly it has betrayed its own legacy.” That very concern seems to be what is at issue for the creator of the Rambo character, author David Morrell, who introduced Rambo in his 1972 novel, First Blood.
As it turns out, Morrell agrees with the critics.
In an interview with Newsweek, Morrell — who was cut out of the screenwriting process early on after he lobbied for a “soulful” Rambo — explained why he agreed with the large majority of critics. “I felt degraded and dehumanized after I left the theater. Instead of being soulful, this new movie lacks one. I felt I was less a human being for having seen it, and today that’s an unfortunate message.”
“That film is typical of ultra-violent 1970s exploitation ‘grindhouse’ films, the technique of which Rambo: Last Blood resembles. The sets here look cheap. The direction is awkward,” Morrell said, going on to enumerate deficiencies like characters as thin as “post-it note caricatures.”
“Rambo could be called John Smith, and the film wouldn’t change,” Morrell told Newsweek. “It assumes the audience is familiar with Rambo’s background, whereas anyone under 40 will wonder what on Earth is going on with those tunnels.”
Unsurprisingly, the Rambo character as depicted in Last Blood has also gained a conservative following because, as FilmDrunk’s Vince Mancini notes, “73-year-old Sylvester Stallone has completed his transition from comely leading man to grievance politics human gargoyle.” It should be no surprise, then, that Twitter users took issue with the characterization of the film by Morrell, because yes, the guy who created Rambo should definitely “keep his mouth shut” about a Rambo movie:
In life, as Will Smith says, If you don’t have something positive to say, keep your mouth shut. The movie is fantastic. As a parent of a 12 yr old girl, @TheSlyStallone hit this masterpiece out of the part. What’s embarrassing is your tweet.— Sandro Mauro (@sandro10812314) September 20, 2019
I want to see it even more! I hate this PC world we live in!— my name is…Val (@ValenSinn) September 20, 2019
Your book wasnt THAT good in the first place. Trust me. It would have been a 5 cents seller if it wasnt for the movie— Edwin Zeelen (@EdwinZeelen) September 21, 2019