For years now, Sylvester Stallone has been trying to make a fifth Rambo movie which was set to be the final swan-song of the iconic action hero John Rambo. Looks like Sly won’t be getting that goodbye after all, as THR reports that Nu Image/Millennium Films have taken a .50 cal machine gun to his plans and are instead developing a brand new reboot of the franchise without its muscular leading man.
Details are still very limited at this point, but we know that the movie will be titled Rambo: New Blood, and true to its title will feature a new young actor in the role. According to the report, the studio is “looking at Rambo as a character akin to James Bond,” meaning that different actors can continuously be recast in the lead role to keep refreshing the series. Seeing as how Stallone has played the character for 24 years across four movies, I don’t quite think it’s the same thing as old 007’s actor switcheroo every few years.
The only other details we have is that Brooks McLaren will be penning the script while Ariel Vromen will direct. McLaren is an up-and-coming screenwriter whose biggest claims to fame is having his post-apocalyptic survival thriller How It Ends end up on the 2010 Black List (a list of the best unproduced screenplays voted on by industry peers) and that he has penned upcoming Ben Affleck action thriller Line of Sight. Vromen has had a more well-known career having helmed 2011 crime drama The Iceman with Michael Shannon and this year’s sci-fi actioner Criminal with Kevin Costner and Ryan Reynolds; two movies that respectively range from “not bad at all” to “totally bad in many places”. So yes, my hopes for this are not high.
The original 1982 Rambo: First Blood was based of David Morrell’s 1972 novel about a troubled Vietnam vet who travels to a small town to visit one of his old war buddies, only to run into trouble with a overly zealous local police force. The movie, directed by Ted Kotcheff, was more drama than action at times, as it examined the horrific psychological legacy of Vietnam that many of these soldiers had to live with. The James Cameron scripted 1985 sequel, Rambo: First Blood Part II, though, went full 80’s action movie, eschewing the sombre introspections of its predecessor to instead rack up the body count as well the box office dollars. 1988’s Rambo III once again saw Stallone in full on, gung-ho action hero mode as he took on the Russians this time, proving that you can bring a bow and arrow to an advanced attack chopper fight.
It would be 20 years before Stallone would don the iconic red bandana again in 2008’s Rambo. This time Stallone himself would also take the director’s chair giving us a movie that managed to combine the drama of the original, with the intense action of the sequels (this time dialled up to 11 as Rambo became more visceral and violent than ever before). The movie was a box office success (though many critics were not fans of its excessive violence) prompting Stallone to start throwing out ideas for a final Rambo movie. Some of those ideas were utterly ridiculous (Rambo fighting a genetically engineered monster anyone?), but it would still have been good to see some closure in the life of this iconic American hero.
Now that that’s not happening, its uncertain just what story angle McLaren and Vromen will take with the reboot. The Vietnam war and its legacy played such a huge part of shaping this character, that I’m guessing this new Rambo will probably also be drawing on a more modern war to inform it. Either way, my knee-jerk reaction to this news is to dislike it out of principal. However, I have learnt over the last few years that I shouldn’t dismiss new takes on classic characters until I’ve actually seen them. Sometimes the new version can actually be better than the old. I really don’t think so in this case, but hey, I’m an open-minded kind of guy.
What do you guys think about this Rambo reboot? And who do you think could even replace Stallone? If anybody answers Kellan Lutz I will find a way to kick your shins through the internet.
Last Updated: October 31, 2016