Before Rambo: Last Blood, a brief recap of Sylvester Stallone's iconic action franchise
The Rambo franchise timeline spans 37 years, going from 1982 with First Blood and ending in September 2019 with Last Blood.
The Rambo film franchise timeline spans 37 years, going from 1982 with First Blood, and ending in September 2019 with Rambo: Last Blood. It has evolved into an iconic action franchise over the years, certifying Sylvester Stallone as a bonafide action star, and introducing the audience to one of the best action anti-heroes of all time, John Rambo.
Stallone may be 73 but our hero still handily beats up the bad guys in Rambo: Last Blood - his fifth outing as his returns with the angst-ridden Vietnam War veteran, whom he first played in the film First Blood (1982).
In the beginning, viewers are introduced to Rambo as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, who is constantly struggling to keep his demons at bay, as terrifying flashbacks from the battlefield seem to have took a toll on him mentally and emotionally. Over the course of the following films, Rambo is stoic yet a ruthless soldier trying to heal from his past, and move on but is consistently drawn back into helping those in need.
As the release date of Rambo: Last Blood draws near, Firstpost takes a look back the franchise, and shares a brief recap of how things turned around for Rambo all these years.
First Blood (1982)
In First Blood, we see a scruffy Rambo traveling to Hope, Washington with the intention of reuniting with a Green Beret friend of his from the Vietnam War. To his disappointment, he learns from a family member that the friend died of cancer. Rambo continues to drift and wander, only to be intercepted by Sheriff Teasle, who immediately takes a disliking to him. Rambo is arrested after refusing to leave town at Teasle's request, despite having done nothing illegal. He is booked under charges of vagrancy, resisting arrest, and possessing a concealed knife. When the other police officers physically assault him, it triggers his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his time at the Vietnam War. Rambo fights his way out of the police station, and makes it into the woods outside of Hope.
As Rambo finds shelter for the night in a cave, Teasle returns to town and sets up a manhunt operation. As the situation spirals out of hand, Rambo's mentor and commanding office, Colonel Sam Trautman arrives to diffuse the manhunt. Trautman confirms Rambo is trained in guerrilla warfare and survival tactics, and will fight back better than Teasle and his men. The state police try to make contact with Rambo through a radio Rambo stole from a police officer killed during the manhunt earlier that day. Rambo ignores the calls until Trautman gets on the line to try and lure him out. Rambo explains why he is reacting the way he is reacting, telling Trautman, "They drew first blood."
Further the manhunt goes into overdrive. While the state police tries hard to search through the woods, Rambo escapes into the town through a military truck. He then blows up the town gas station as a means of distracting a majority of the Hope police force and townsfolk. However, Rambo goes on a revenge spree, and nearly kills Teasle, until Trautman intervenes and persuades him to stop the damage and surrender peacefully. Towards the end, we witness the most powerful scene, as Rambo breaks down over his grief and past trauma.
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
The second part opens to Trautman visiting Rambo in prison as he offers him a mission in Vietnam which could get him a Presidential pardon. Rambo accepts. The mission only requires some easy recon and to photograph a few Vietnamese prison camps, but he cannot help himself, spotting one of the POWs tied to the cross. Tortured, Rambo defies orders, and the mission goes into haywire. Murdock, the government suit overseeing the operation, learns about Rambo killing the Vietnamese soldiers and orders the US extraction team to leave Rambo and his team where they are. Rambo, and the one POW he earlier saved, further goes back to the US troops but they are ultimately captured by the Vietnamese soldiers.
The Vietnamese soldiers hand over Rambo and the POW over to the Soviets who torture them for information by the Soviet camp leader. Refusing to bow down to their demands, Rambo threatens them that he will somehow get them. Rambo, aided by Co (who has made it back into the camp to help free him), take out the Soviets, and head back to the US base in a plane they stole from the Soviet camp. They bring all US POWs with them, and return them safely to the US custody. In the end, Rambo wrecks up the US base in Thailand in retribution for the government’s abandonment of its own soldiers. This time, rather than jail, he gets accolades plus a pardon, and stays in Thailand to meditate with monks.
Rambo III (1988)
Three years after Vietnam mission, Rambo's retirement in Thailand does not last long. He is visited by Trautman, who tries to recruit him for a mission in Afghanistan. The US means to arm the Mujahideen in their fight against the Soviets. However, he refuses the offer and tells that he left that life long behind. So Trautman ventures alone, and eventually blows his cover only to get captured by the enemy. Rambo hightails it to the Afghan desert to save his commander, and in the process, help the Mujahideen fight their Soviet enemies. However, unlike his past adventure, this just sails past smoothly. Rambo meets Mousa, the arms dealer at a village, and learns how to infiltrate the Soviet camp. Rambo finds Trautma, saves him, and the two steal a helicopter and are just about take on the Soviets by themselves until the Mujahideen run in on horseback to lend a helping hand.
Around 20 years have passed and Rambo has manged to lead a quiet life in Thailand vary of any new missions. Set on the backdrop of Saffron revolution, Rambo is approached by missionaries, led by Michael Burnett, who want to go into Burma to provide aid to villagers affected by State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) soldiers' destruction. Initially reluctant to it, Rambo agrees after one of the missionaries, Sarah Miller, convinces him that they could make a difference. However, Burmese pirates stop Rambo’s boat, and threaten bodily harm if he does not hand over Sarah (Julie Benz), the sole woman in the missionary group. Rambo kills the pirates, to the revulsion of the missionaries. They send him away, leaving them vulnerable to abduction by SPDC's Major Tint (Maung Maung Khin). Holding the missionaries as hostages, he invades the village, and brutally kills the villagers.
Pastor Marsh, who is the head of the church which sent the missionary group, informs Rambo about the group's unexpected delay to return. Rambo heads up the river with the mercenary group before the team’s chief, Lewis (Graham McTavish), sends him away. They are helpless when they come across Tint as he and his soldiers prepare to torture hostages for fun, but it turns out that the vigilante Rambo followed them — he kills the soldiers with his bow and arrows. They stealthily rescue the surviving American missionaries and Burmese hostages, and flee under the cover of night. The next morning, Tint and his soldiers pursue them and manage to capture everyone except for Rambo, Sarah, and the mercenaries' sniper.
However, Rambo launches into a surprise attack, by hijacking Tint's jeep mounted with an M2 Browning machine gun, igniting a massive shootout in the jungle with machine guns. The gun really fires big bullets which brutally bisects half the men. What seems like a lost day, Rambo swoops in and saves everyone, killing the rest of the SPDC and Tint. Instead of returning to Thailand, Rambo makes his way to the US, and returns to his father's ranch in Arizona for the first time in many years.
What should we expect in Rambo: Last Blood?
As the trailer of Rambo: Last Bood suggests, the war veteran is living at the ranch, and picks up a decade after the events of Rambo. Last Blood will feature Rambo's niece (though we do not yet know if she is a blood relative or more of a chosen family relative) in peril after she is abducted by a Mexican cartel. In an effort to get her back at all costs, Rambo will revisit his old combat skills one last time, heading into Mexico to battle the cartel.
In a recent video series, Stallone takes on his role, and explains the inner workings of Rambo, “He wanders the world, this object of scorn, a reminder of a war no one wants to think about that he didn’t do on his own. In every film, Rambo never goes home. He goes out to the jungle or Afghanistan. In the new one, he does come home, but in a way, he never arrives. He’s there, but he’s not. That’s what the whole story is built around. As soon as he walks outside his door, he has no more control. The world controls you," Stallone explained.
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