Why Rambo: Last Blood Is Rated R

Rambo wielding a knife and thinking murderous thoughts

It should come as no surprise that next month’s Rambo: Last Blood is rated R. After all, it’s a Rambo movie, and the traditional content of the franchise dictates that restricted designation. Moreover, is a movie called Last Blood even allowed to have anything other than an R rating? It seems like that should be a requirement to bear such a title. So we basically knew Rambo V would be rated R, but now we know why - and according to the MPAA, the reasons are as follows:

Rated R for strong graphic violence, grisly images, drug use and language.

Yup, sounds about right. The reasoning found on The Classification & Rating Administration’s (CARA) film ratings site for why Rambo: Last Blood has been assigned an R rating is both what we expected and what we wanted to hear. The Rambo franchise has never been for the faint of heart; Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo is an army of one, and this is a series known for brutal, bloody violence. That’s reflected here.

As we’ve seen from the trailers for Last Blood, Rambo aims to personify death to the drug dealing cartel serving as the antagonist in this movie, and as such he’s playing all the hits using different methods to kill people. He uses bows, guns, bombs, booby traps and of course a knife to dispatch his foes with extreme prejudice. This isn’t a guy overly (read: at all) concerned with the cleanliness of his kills; he’s covered in blood the majority of the trailer for goodness’ sake.

So the strong graphic violence reflected in the film’s rating makes total sense. So too does the fact that this film will feature “grisly images.” Sylvester Stallone was stoked when he found out that Last Blood had been given an R rating, and he made sure to stress that is is a hard R, and a film doesn’t really deserve that unofficial designation without having some seriously gruesome stuff in it.

We can also apparently expect to see some drug use in this film, which tracks with the story that will find Rambo traveling to Mexico after a friend’s daughter is kidnapped by aforementioned drug cartel. And as far as the language bit of why this film is R-rated is concerned, a man’s got to have a code and all, but generally when you’re killing scores of people with a knife, you’re not usually worried about bad language.

For perspective, all the Rambo movies have received an R rating and worn it like a badge of honor. The last film in the series, 2008’s Rambo, or if you prefer Penultimate Blood, received an R rating for “strong graphic bloody violence, sexual assaults, grisly images and language.” That’s pretty similar and while Last Blood doesn’t include the word ‘bloody’, I think it’s safe to say there will be plenty of the red stuff spilled in Rambo’s final battle.

Rambo: Last Blood opens on September 20. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the biggest movies headed to theaters the rest of this year.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.