Rambo has come a long way since 1982's First Blood. Sylvester Stallone's first film in the franchise was a pretty sad story about a Vietnam vet grappling with PTSD; the entire plot revolves around Rambo struggling to move past his old trauma as society refuses to see him as anything less than a war machine.
But then came Rambo II, and Rambo III, and that nuanced veteran disappeared. In his place was a crazed cartoon killer, lumpy with muscles like a real-life Small Soldiers figurine, gleefully laying waste to entire villages in a sea of blood and guns and overwhelming testosterone. Each successive sequel was worse than the last, culminating in the gratuitous machismo nightmare that was 2008's Rambo. Now, over a decade later, Stallone is bringing Rambo back for one last movie, appropriately titled Rambo: Lost Blood.
On Thursday, Lionsgate dropped the teaser trailer for the film and, uh, it looks like the guy is finally returning to his depressing roots.
Boy, is Rambo mopey! "I've lived in a world of death," he morosely moans in voiceover. "I've watched people I've loved die. Some fast with a bullet, some not enough left to bury." Damn!
He is also, inexplicably, a cowboy now, living out his twilight years on an isolated farm where he spends his days riding horses and staring at his reflection in dirty mirrors. Oh, and listening to depressing remixes of "Old Town Road," apparently.
But worry not, dear Rambo fans, this isn't going to just be a movie about an aging man reckoning with his past mistakes and trying to come to terms with the violence within him. No Rambo sequel is allowed to be that subtle or emotionally resonant anymore. It doesn't take long before Rambo is back in the killing game. This time, to apparently take down an entire drug cartel on his own because, sure, why not?
Well, there are plenty of reasons why not, the main one being: You are old and sad now, Rambo. If your last four decades delivering dubious justice with a hail of bullets hasn't changed things for the better, maybe it's time to take a different tack.
Could it be that all this violence just begets more violence? Might your last years be better spent doing service for your community? Is there a town within a few hours' drive of your desolate ranch where you could volunteer part-time to work with veterans and make sure they, too, don't fall into the your same violent patterns? Or maybe—no, yeah, no. Just keep mercilessly murdering some bad guys with a machete and a compound bow until the world is a better place, all set to the soothing sounds of "Old Town Road."
Rambo: Last Blood hits theaters on September 20. Let's hope that when it's all over, the guy can finally get the years of therapy he needs.