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Rambo: Last Blood - What We Know So Far

Sylvester Stallone is bringing back one of the most famous action icons of all time this fall when Rambo: Last Blood hits theaters. Stallone may be over 70 years old, but he still has plenty left in the tank to take on the demanding role.

The Rambo franchise began back in 1982 with a little film called First Blood. Since then, the franchise has spawned four sequels — plus a bizarre and terrible cartoon called Rambo: The Force of Freedom — and has gone on to become one of Stallone's signature roles. Rambo: Last Blood is the the first film in over a decade from the franchise, as we last saw the character in 2008's Rambo.

Yes, it's bizarre, but the fourth Rambo film is called Rambo. The series has an odd naming pattern.

Rambo: Last Blood's director, writer, and release date

We have quite a bit of information on who is bringing us Rambo: Last Blood and when we'll get to see it. The Rambo series is definitely one of Stallone's babies, but there are still a lot of other people helping to bring the latest story to life.

Adrian Grunberg is in the director's chair for Last Blood. It's only his second feature film at the helm, following the 2012 Mel Gibson vehicle Get the Gringo. However, Grunberg has served as an assistant director or second unit director on several films since the '90s, including Apocalypto, Jarhead, Man on Fire, and The Legend of Zorro.

Last Blood's screenplay is credited to Matthew Cirulnick. Like Grunberg,the writer doesn't have a ton of credits to his name — his most high-profile gig to date is as creator of the Amazon series Absentia. Unsurprisingly, Stallone also had a hand in writing the film. David Morrell receives the standard "based on characters created by" credit for his 1972 novel First Blood, though the author has clarified that he's had no involvement with the Rambo films since the first three.

You can see Rambo: Last Blood in theaters on September 19, 2019. Unsurprisingly, it's rated R.

What's the plot of Rambo: Last Blood?

Rambo has evolved quite a bit over the decades. What started as a somewhat quiet, psychological exploration of the effects of war has turned into a massive spectacle of revenge and blood-soaked slaughter as the films have progressed. Now, it sounds like Last Blood will continue to ratchet up the body count when John Rambo takes on a violent Mexican cartel.

Screen Daily first released the plot details of the film. It will feature John Rambo as a ranch hand in Arizona struggling with PTSD and keeping busy by taking odd jobs. He learns that the daughter of a long-time friend has been kidnapped while partying in Mexico, and he crosses the border to rescue her.

He teams with a journalist who is investigating a series of kidnappings, and the two uncover a sex trafficking ring run by a drug cartel. Screen Daily didn't spoil anything further, but it's safe to assume that the conflict is solved with bullets, explosions, and a hell of a big knife.

Watch the first trailer for Rambo: Last Blood

If you want to see what John Rambo is up against in Last Blood, the first trailer is here to give you a look. "They drew first blood," the trailer announces. "He will draw last." 

It looks like Last Blood will feature a slightly different tone than the series has featured in the last few entries. For starters, it seems like they are dealing with the fact that Stallone is in his 70s in a smart way — John Rambo looks to be going back to his roots a bit with his tactics. The trailer shows off a series of traps that the wily soldier has set up to fight off his enemies, utilizing the same guerrilla tactics he used back in his heyday. There looks to be a lot of explosions and big spectacle as well, but the tripwire crossbow is a particularly nice touch.

It also looks to be leaning into the Western motif, with "Old Town Road" playing throughout, characters dressed the part, and beautiful desert scenery. Makes sense why Stallone has posted images like this.

Are any Rambo cast members are returning for Last Blood?

Interestingly, Rambo: Last Blood looks to have little to do with previous entries in the series. Screen Rant accurately writes that the film resembles Logan; sort of a "what happens when a badass character starts to slow down?" idea. As such, there aren't many returning characters from previous Rambo films. It makes sense: 2008's Rambo was set in Burma, halfway across the world from the American southwest and Mexico settings of Last Blood.

Obviously, the one common thread here is John Rambo himself, Sylvester Stallone. Like Logan, it appears that Stallone's character is still struggling with his past — the things he's experienced as well as the things he's done — and this looks to be a chance for him to silence some of his inner torments. The story surrounding the war veteran has evolved throughout the film series, so it will be interesting to see what Last Blood adds to the backstory of John Rambo. And, with that title, maybe the end of the film will have some similarities to the ending of Logan, too.

Sergio Peris-Mancheta will play Rambo: Last Blood's villain

Almost all of the cast of Rambo: Last Blood is new to the franchise, but one in particular we need to point out is Sergio Peris-Mancheta, who will play Hugo Martinez in the film. According to Movieweb, Martinez is the leader of the cartel that Rambo crosses paths with, and it looks like he will make the hero go through hell and back to win the day.

The Madrid-born Peris-Mancheta is more well-known to Spanish audiences than American ones, as he has appeared in several Spanish movies and television shows. However, some American viewers might recognize him from a few roles. He had a small role in 2010's Love Ranch, played Angel in Resident Evil: Afterlife, and appeared alongside several huge names in Dan Fogleman's Life Itself. He also appears on the FX series Snowfall.

That said, Peris-Mancheta could take his career to a whole new level if he turns in a strong performance in a huge franchise like Rambo. We'll see if he can hold his own against Stallone.

Plenty of fresh blood in the Rambo: Last Blood cast

There are plenty of other strong actors who will appear alongside Sly Stallone in Rambo: Last BloodPaz Vega will play Carmen Delgado, the journalist who teams with Rambo to track down the kidnapping victims. Vega has appeared in several film and television roles, including The OA, Spanglish, and Sex and Lucia.

Some of the other big names that stand out include Oscar Jaenada (The Losers, The Shallows, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) and Louis Mandylor (My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Jaenada will co-star in Last Blood as Victor Martinez, and Mandylor will play a sheriff (or possibly a character named "Sheriff," but most likely an actual sheriff). Finally, one other cast member we're really excited about is Adriana Barraza (Babel, Drag Me To Hell, Thor, The Strain, Amores Perros)When she pops up as Maria in Last Blood, you'll probably recognize her from something you've seen.

The ominous full-circle title of Rambo: Last Blood

If you've come late to the Rambo game, you may not understand the significance of the title Last Blood. It works in a few different ways, but the most obvious is what ties it back to the original film (and the novel upon which it's based).

The first film did not even have "Rambo" in the title — the source material and original movie are both titled First Blood. The second film added the character's name to the beginning, bringing us Rambo: First Blood Part II. As such, it seems like this latest release is trying to tie itself more to the original two films than the over-the-top style that the third (Rambo III) and fourth film (Rambo) feature. The man himself looks more methodical in the trailer for Last Blood, setting traps and using psychological warfare against his foes as he did back in First Blood.

It also could signal that this is Stallone's last go as John Rambo. On the other hand, it seemed unlikely that a fifth film would even happen, and Stallone has said he'd be glad to reprise the role if Last Blood is successful.

Stallone's Instagram has plenty of behind the scenes info on Last Blood

Sylvester Stallone is more than happy to share behind the scenes images of many of his films over on his Instagram page, but the personal nature of both Rocky and Rambo seems to be his central focus there. You'll have to scroll through some of his posts, but he has put up plenty of cool footage and images for his fans and followers.

For example, here's Stallone talking about how excited he is to impale some baddies with a board full of nails. Here's Stallone comparing the filmmaking process to the first film while doing cool stuff like sharpening a pitchfork.

Probably the best behind-the-scenes footage we could find of Rambo: Last Blood comes from this post, where Stallone breaks down the blocking and filming of a scene from the film. Say what you will about Stallone, but the man has put together some of the most iconic characters and action movies we've ever seen throughout his career, and watching him work is still impressive.