Let’s talk about Sylvester Stallone‘s most popular character. Is it Vietnam War Veteran John Rambo or is it boxing champion Rocky Balboa? I think most of his fans would say Rocky and they’re not wrong. We all love Rocky for several reasons. You can make a whole list of those reasons but it all comes down to his inspiring Cinderella story. He went from rags to riches by getting that once in a lifetime opportunity and his only goal was to go the distance. Well, he did exactly that and the rest is beautiful Rocky history. Thankfully now, we have the Creed movies to continue the legacy of this inspiring underdog character. Despite his lack of a presence in the next Creed movie, I think we should accept Stallone has moved on from the character. Can he say the same for John Rambo? The answer is maybe.
Okay, so I have to talk about the last Rambo movie. Last Blood was supposedly the final installment in the Rambo franchise. We all remember 2019 for being a year for good movies but just like every year, we had to endure some bad ones. Sadly, Rambo: Last Blood was one of those bad movies and it was one that not too many people were asking for. Honestly, Stallone didn’t even look like the classic action hero. Yes, he is much older, but the gray, short-haired stepdad/rancher is just not the Rambo we remember. That would of been okay if the movie was awesome, but it honestly wasn’t. The final scene was the only real action scene where we got to see that explosive Rambo-like action. And, in case anyone forgot, it ended with the wounded war veteran riding off into the sunset on a horse.
Did he die? It certainly looked like it, but based on the narration, it was implied that this would not be Rambo’s last bout. How does everyone feel about that? Despite the ending, that should probably be Stallone’s last time playing his second most popular character. Let’s face it, he has put the time in and has given us five movies playing this incredible action hero. Okay, so maybe it didn’t end on a high note, but I think we’re okay with it.
Now Last Blood should be the last time Stallone plays John Rambo, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the end of the character. Last Blood, as anti-climactic as it was for an ending, should just serve as the character’s end. So, why not take us to the very beginning? I’m not just talking about First Blood, where we saw the psychologically damaged war veteran return home and take on an entire town. I’m thinking going way back. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what John Rambo was like in his early days as a soldier? What was this man like before his mind was damaged before seeing the horrors in Vietnam? In fact, what kind of soldier was he before he became a Green Beret?
All of this can be explored in a Rambo origins movie. In fact, something like that was supposed to happen at some point, but it never actually found any footing. That’s probably understandable, because it would have been risky to do a Rambo movie without Sylvester Stallone. We’ve seen iconic characters being played without their signature actors and it just felt out of place. The best example is when Disney and Lucasfilm decided to make a Solo origins movie without Harrison Ford playing Han Solo. Hats off to them for taking a risk but in the end, it didn’t play out the way they wanted it to.
That’s probably part of the reason why the Rambo origins movie was never made. But now, things can change and perhaps the project can get some of that momentum back. After rewatching the two latest Rambo movies on Netflix, I’m thinking of ways the character can come back. Another sequel should be off the table, but an origins movie should be considered. Like with any popular movie character, I’m always interested in seeing where they all began. A character like Rambo does have a story to tell before the events of First Blood and even before the flashbacks.
Have you ever wondered what his first interaction with Colonel Sam Trautman was like? I think it would be very intriguing to see how their relationship began and developed into a father and son dynamic. Given that Trautman is the only man capable of reigning in Rambo, it shows how strong of a mentor he was to him during their time serving in Vietnam. What really stands out in his skillset is his expertise in guerrilla warfare and using the wilderness as a weapon. He can craft a weapon or create a trap using the tools and environment around him. Just give him enough prep time and he can take out an entire army. Basically, he’s a more twisted version of Batman.
With all of these deadly skills Rambo learned serving under Trautman, I’m sure there was a lot of bumps in the road he dealt with along the way. This would focus much more on the development of the character himself and reveal how he was slowly morphed into a killing machine. I’m sure we could appreciate that much more than the mindless action we kept seeing after First Blood. Yeah, it was cool, but it didn’t really work on developing Rambo as a character. I believe a movie about his origins would serve the character some justice and would allow us to fully appreciate him as a fully flushed out character. And yes, give us some of that cool action, but don’t go overboard with it like the sequels did. Every great character has to begin somewhere.
What are your thoughts? Do you think a movie about the origins of John Rambo is a good idea? If you want more classic Rambo, just go play as him in Mortal Kombat 11 and have some bloody fun. That is the character we all remember.