Home has always been an abstract concept for John Rambo, which is what the last scene of 2008’s otherwise expendable “Rambo” sequel finally gave the iconic Sylvester Stallone character: a moment when this unsettled Vietnam War survivor, looking very much the worse for wear, lumbers up to a mailbox bearing the character’s surname. At last, somewhere in Arizona, this dutybound embodiment of American military might have found his way back to the family ranch.
Such closure was in nearly every way antithetical to the spirit of “First Blood” — that is, the PTSD-fueled franchise’s inaugural movie and the eponymous David Morrell novel that inspired it, both of which traded on the notion that a good man who’d gotten a taste of killing had serious difficulty turning off that deadly skill set upon his return. As a result, a sum total of zero viewers saw that ending as a sign that Rambo would take this long-overdue homecoming as a chance to park his keister and raise chickens, or whatever. The only surprise, really, is that it’s taken more than a decade for Stallone to make another Rambo movie (as it happens, the actor-producer was busy rebooting a far better series, via “Rocky Balboa” and “Creed”). And the only unanswered question has been what group of unlucky so-and-sos would be the next to face his wrath.
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