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David Morrell isn't bitter over a rights issue or anything like that. It looks like he was excited for Rambo V, and promoted the movie on Twitter before the opening. And then he saw it. After watching Sylvester Stallone's new movie, the author shared a news story rounding up bad reviews, with critics calling Last Blood things like a "MAGA fantasy" and an "orgy of death":
Yikes. The First Blood author also replied to some fans, including this man who said he just bought tickets to see the new movie:
He even compared Last Blood, unfavorably, to the infamous bomb Waterworld:
David Morrell even conversed with Joyce Carol Oates about the film, saying he and Sylvester Stallone had talked about making a "soulful" Rambo film:
Here's a collection of more replies from the author on the topic, since he is kind of the original expert on the character, if not the films:
• The film is degrading and resembles 1970s exploitation "grindhouse" films. Check the plot of 1976's TRACKDOWN, starring Robert Mitchum's son, James. Same plot.
• The film made the character a cipher and assumed that audiences knew Rambo's background, but anyone under 40 will wonder what's going on. Rambo could have been called John Smith.
• RAMBO III is a mess also. That's why I wrote a novelization for it, as a corrective. RAMBO IV is better than critics allowed. Despite too-long action sequences, there was a core with speeches like "Wars. Old men start them. Young men fight them. Nobody wins."
• It isn't even smart enough to exploit Trump's demonizing of "the other." This is a grindhouse exploitation movie from the 1970s. Look at TRACKDOWN (1976), with James Mitchum, Robert's son. Same plot. Same crummy technique.
• This film doesn't even rise to the level of camp. Needless explanatory dialogue and post-it-note villains. It's a grindhouse explication film typical of the 1970s. Check IMDB for 1976's TRACKDOWN.
• Politics aren't mentioned in my novel FIRST BLOOD. I think that's why the book is still in print all these years later. It didn't wear with age.
David Morrell has written dozens of books since First Blood and -- for the record -- he liked that 1982 film adaptation.
As of Saturday, September 21, 2019 -- the day after Rambo: Last Blood opened in theaters -- the film has a 31% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 81 critics. Fans seem much more into the film, giving it an 84% audience score from 757 users. Rambo: Last Blood has a CinemaScore of B (higher than Ad Astra's B-) from moviegoers polled on opening night. Over on IMDb, Last Blood has a score of 7.2/10 from 2,611 users so far.
It looks like many fans liked Rambo: Last Blood more than the critics (including CinemaBlend's own Dirk Libbey) and author David Morrell did. Sylvester Stallone -- who chose not to direct the movie -- has been retweeting positive comments and thanking fans for making Rambo V possible. There's no one way to view a movie, so if Sly made something that many fans enjoyed, that's probably enough for him. Unless he really comes back for more.
Have you seen Rambo: Last Blood yet? If so, how would you grade it? Vote in the poll below.