BARE BONES: RAMBO-LAST BLOOD (2019)

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RAMBO: LAST BLOOD (2019)

Completely unnecessary sequel finds Viet Nam veteran John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) now living on his late father’s ranch…or underneath it, as he prefers to lurk in a series of tunnels he’s built to one of the actual rooms. He lives with his father’s former live-in caretaker Maria (Adriana Barraza) and her hot granddaughter Gabriela (Yvette Monreal) and is on meds for post-traumatic stress disorder. When Gabriela travels to Mexico to find her father, she is kidnapped by a Mexican cartel for sex trafficking. This has Rambo putting down his meds and picking up his weapons to rescue Gabriela and take on vicious cartel lord Hugo Martinez (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and his army of thugs.

After the last film took the character full circle, there was no need to drag him back into action again, but, here we are. Flick is routinely directed by Adrian Grunberg from a bad script by Stallone and Matthew Cirulnick. Not sure what the intent here was, but the film paints a very unflattering portrayal of both Mexican’s and Mexico itself. Stallone’s script vilifies the country and most of it’s people, one assumes in the hopes that we’ll feel no sympathy when the super soldier brutally and bloodily dispatches an army of cartel members in the booby-trapped maze beneath his ranch. You’d think slimy cartel leaders and their thugs are villainous enough, but aside from Maria and Gabriela, no one from south of the border is portrayed as anything but a lowlife or creep. Even without the hateful tone of the flick, it’s simply a routine and dull movie with generic bad guys and horror flick level gore when Rambo goes all Jigsaw in elimination of his prey. Hopefully the film’s subtitle is true to it’s word and Rambo has finally retired his pointy objects. They should have quit while they were ahead.

-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: SPIDERHOLE (2009)

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SPIDERHOLE (2009)

Spiderhole is a British horror thriller about a group of four young squatters who break into an abandoned house to live in. Unfortunately for them, there is already an occupant and he doesn’t want them to leave…ever.

Spiderhole is technically well made, but it’s nothing new, nor is it done in a way to make it fresh. The four leads are dull and not particularly endearing or likable, so right there we have no emotional investment to care about their well being, which is a common mistake in horror films these days. When the film is not following them around the maze-like house, it’s being a routine torture show as the creepy plastic wearing occupant one by one captures them for some very nasty surgery. We never get to know much about this sick surgeon, not enough to give him the kind of presence or threat he needed to be effective. In fact we never really feel any dread or suspense despite the fact that he is always lurking about. Aside from our emotional detachment to the leads, the film never builds any atmosphere or a sense of danger with it’s by-the-numbers presentation of it’s story. Director and writer Daniel Simpson has a very point and shoot style that creates none of the mood this film needed to get past it’s tired plot. As a result, Spiderhole is an empty hole.

-MonsterZero NJ

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