The ‘Rambo’ franchise has an iconic place in the Hollywood action firmament. There’s been talk of it coming back in other forms. But will we see it again any time soon? Yes, if Millennium Films have their way…
The last time we saw Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo was in the final moments of 2008’s Rambo movie. He was walking down the road to his family farm and perhaps his greatest challenge: reconnecting with his family and possibly hanging up his guns for good. The fourth film got a mixed response from audiences and critics – it was a violent take on the subject matter and yet the final scene promised hope and a possible new beginning.
There was talk of further adventures for John Rambo, including Walking Tall-esque styled adventures as he cleans up the town he left behind. There were other ideas, outlandish versions which would have pitted Rambo against Universal Soldier styled enhanced soldiers, and an idea of Rambo having to rescue a kidnapped girl from human traffickers. But it seemed like Stallone’s heart wasn’t in it with regards to any of the concepts. Stallone even spoke of a possible Last Blood which would have an Unforgiven feel, and close the door on the character but that also fell by the wayside.
Stallone, of course, had come a long way since First Blood saved his faltering career, before that film’s release the general opinion was that Sly connected with audiences as Rocky and nobody else. But while Ted Kotcheff directed,Stallone worked on the script changing several elements of the original novel (by David Morrel) including toning down the violence and number of deaths caused by Rambo and – more importantly – the original finale which ended with Rambo’s death. The film was a huge success in America, Europe and internationally and its success helped confirm Stallone’s position as a superstar. It was followed up by the George Cosmatos-directed Rambo: First Blood Part 2 in 1985 with a screenplay by Stallone and a young James Cameron which was an even bigger hit around the world, and even spawned a spin off cartoon.
Three years later Rambo returned but times were changing and the Russians pulling out of Afghanistan just before the film’s release didn’t help the release of Rambo 3. It’s a film with an OTT premise and one that was overlooked at the time but which features some epic sequences. It’s not as mindless as people might recall.
But it took 20 years for a fourth installment of Rambo to hit the screen, as an older but still as ferocious John Rambo was forced to take action one last time, before finally heading home.
In 2013, producer Avi Lerner whose Millennium Films had purchased the rights to the character spoke of his plans for a Rambo TV series that would have seen Stallone reprise the role, but that was later changed to Rambo: New Blood a proposed TV series that would explore the complicated relationship between Rambo and his previously unmentioned son J.R. , a former Navy Seal. However in January 2016, Variety quoted Stallone as having hung up the bandanna for the last time and that he would be retiring from the role. “It’s like fighters that go back for one last round and get clobbered. Leave it to someone else,” said Stallone. “There’s nothing left. When they asked me to do another Rambo, I said, ‘If I can’t do better than I did last time, and I can’t, then why’?”
But now comes the news that Millennium Films will be bringing the character back with a new project, that sounds like a re-imaging Rambo: New Blood. It is to be directed by Ariel Vromen (Criminal) with a script by Brooks Mclaren and Nu Image talking of a new actor taking the role in what we believe will be a total reboot.
That’s not a lot to go on..?
Over Hallowe’en, Stallone then posted a series of intriguing tweets accompanied by images of the character of Rambo, saying: ‘Some Men will never ever be able to go home again.’ followed by ‘A man has to control his life, before control him … Nothing is over…‘
So what does this mean? As yet it’s all just speculation… perhaps Sylvester Stallone may be putting on his bandanna and reprising the role of Rambo, John J one last time? Perhaps Stallone will helm the reboot and introduce a new actor in the role, or perhaps we’ll see a movie where Rambo is a supporting role ala Rocky Balboa’s most recent appearance in Creed? Who knows, but the one thing we do know, is we probably haven’t seen the last of Rambo in some way, shape or form!