There are few 1980s action film characters as enduringly iconic as Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo. The character, who first appeared in the 1972 novel First Blood by David Morrell, was a returning war veteran from Vietnam who was repeatedly harassed and ultimately arrested for vagrancy by a small town’s Sheriff’s Department, and his incarceration and repeated harassment ultimately led the veteran to flashback to his days as a POW, and begin a one-man war against the unprepared Sheriff and his deputies. Ten years after the publication of the novel, Stallone and screenwriters Michael Kozoll and William Sackheim created a script to adapt First Blood into a feature film, which was directed by Ted Kotcheff.
While, initially, the film was going to adapt the ending of the book in which Rambo — given the first name “John” in the film — is ultimately killed, the ilm instead ends with Rambo reluctantly and emotionally turning himself in. The film also made Rambo a far more sympathetic character than the book had portrayed him: in the novel, Rambo had been directly responsible for killing many of the officers that had pursued him, but Stallone’s script revisions saw him not directly causing the death of anyone in the Sheriff’s Department.
After two sequels that saw Rambo become a slightly more generic — but still interesting — action hero, 1988’s Rambo III would be the last we saw of the character for 20 years. Then, in 2008, a new film simply titled Rambo was released, which showed the Vietnam vet living a relatively peaceful life in Thailand, before being thrust back into violence by the crisis in Burma, and some well-meaning but naive missionaries.
Since the release of Rambo, Stallone has been talking off and on about returning to one of his most iconic roles at least one more time. After hearing of script updates at the very end of last year, it seems as though Stallone has arrived on a title for the fifth Rambo film. After confirming through his personal Twitter account that he’ll be shooting a biopic of gangster Gregory “The Grim Reaper” Scarpa, he also said that the biopic would be shot after he finished Rambo: Last Blood.
Doing Scarpa based on Gangster Greg Scarpa after LAST BLOOD RAMBO…
— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) December 28, 2014
As the major creative force behind the series, Stallone has talked intermittently over the last seven years about either leaving the Rambo character alone, or bringing him back for one final film. Obviously, he’s arrived at the latter conclusion, and the title certainly seems to bring things full circle for the character to have his final cinematic adventure with Stallone starring. Critically, the series hasn’t exactly been acclaimed since the first installment in 1982. On Rotten Tomatoes, First Blood has a rating of 87%, while First Blood Part II sits at 28%, Rambo III sits at 36%, and Rambo sits at 37%. Still, the films have a solid track record at the box office, with all four coming in with an unadjusted worldwide gross of just about $728 million.
There’s no word yet on when Rambo: Last Blood will be released, but you can bet that GeekNation will be keeping an eye on this project for any new information.
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