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The Rambo franchise has been kicking around since 1982. It was the pinnacle of the action movie in the 80s, but what makes an action movie has largely changed since then. We've seen a lost more eastern influence on our action heroes in franchises like The Matrix and John Wick. So is there even a place for John Rambo anymore?
A lot of modern action movies tend to focus on more choreographed and stylized violence, but Rambo: Last Blood is...not that. Director Adrian Grunberg says that Rambo's style of violence is much more grounded. While much of it is still "over-the-top," it's still needs to be based in reality...
Action is particular to the project itself. John Wick is a much more stylized version, as is The Matrix, where the story and the style of filmmaking itself draws you to particular style of action. I think Rambo gives a sense of reality, even some of the over-the-top stuff in it. It has to look somewhat believable.
With the exception of the first movie, First Blood, the Rambo franchise has never been afraid to go over-the-top. Having said that, while Rambo may be one the greatest living warriors alive, the world he lives in is still our world. Unlike something like The Matrix, where the entire world isn't required to abide by reality, Rambo does, at least within certain perimeters.
It also produces highly stylized fight sequences, that have as much in common with dance as they do fights. This means long takes and wide lenses so the audience can see every movement.
Adrian Grunberg tells THR that the violence here, because it doesn't have that sort of style, is designed to be seen much more up close, which makes for a very different style of filming.
This is a character that is a human being; he has no superpowers. And the idea of doing a lot of handheld camera work allows you to be a part of this ‘conversation.’ You’re a part of the scene in a close way, as opposed to looking at it more from the outside.
It has to be said, you certainly do feel like you're a part of the scene in Rambo: Last Blood. The violence is up close and personal in a way that even previous Rambo sequels have not been. It's not about blowing up buildings with a helicopter. It's about chopping off limbs with large knives. Also, blood, lots and lots of blood.
Rambo: Last Blood opened in third place at the domestic box office this past weekend, just behind Ad Astra, and both far behind Downton Abby.