The Downton Abbey movie looks like it might kick Rambo: Last Blood's ass at the box office, and critics -- including Rambo's own creator -- have called Sylvester Stallone's movie out from the sidelines. So Rambo V's marketing team decided to package the film's antagonists together for a new ad. Taking a patriotic angle, the ad seems to mock the movie's haters as tea-drinking Downton-loving anti-American wimps who "can't handle Rambo" and his "disturbing" violence.
Check out the ad Sylvester Stallone shared on Saturday, the day after First Blood author David Morrell said he hated the new Rambo movie and was embarrassed to even be associated with it:
Sly Stallone is famous for playing fighters who beat the odds -- his brand is the scrappy underdog who never quits -- so this whole controversy is really playing to his strengths.
The ad gets cheeky with the Downton Abbey "cup of tea" pun, but the message is not exactly subtle -- loving Rambo: Last Blood is a sign you are a strong red-blooded American. "Can't handle Rambo?" is like a masculinity challenge. Will you pass or fail? It's the job of an ad to sell things, and this will probably speak directly to the choir already singing Rambo V's praises in defense of critical attacks.
Rambo: Last Blood has a low Metascore of 29 from 26 critics on Metacritic, but that site's users have given it an average of 8.4/10. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, 89 critics so far have given Rambo V a rating of 29%, with 1,677 RT users giving it an 86% audience score. Not all critics hated it and not all fans loved it, but Last Blood is now the new poster child for the fan/critic divide.
Defending Rambo: Last Blood has become its own movement, and there's definitely a political edge. Rambo's creator shared a headline calling Last Blood a "MAGA fantasy." Sylvester Stallone's new ad brings in British men as a stand-in for Downton Abbey and to represent a certain type of guy, probably the type who would be mocked as a "snowflake."
I'm very fond of Downton types myself, but to each his or her own. I also love me some Sly Stallone. I also love honest criticism and think we need more of it, especially if you don't agree with it. Being free to argue with each other over movies = the true American way.
Based on Rambo: Last Blood's opening day box office, it was expected to make around $20 million in its opening weekend, behind Downton Abbey and close to both Brad Pitt's Ad Astra and the still-slaying It: Chapter 2. Stay tuned for our weekend box office roundup for the full report. And keep up with everything heading to the big screen this year with our 2019 movie release date schedule.