There is going to be yet another Rambo movie, Last Blood. The movie, which hits cinemas on September 20, stars the seventy-three year-old Sylvester Stallone.
The first Rambo movie, First Blood, came out 37 years ago, in 1982. Ronald Reagan was still in his first term as POTUS then. There was no commercial Internet, and no cell phones in the modern sense. Both the fax machine and cable television were new, cutting-edge technologies.
And to further put this in perspective: I was just starting high school in 1982. Today I’m in my fifties. Stallone, born in 1946, is a few months younger than my father, who was also born that year.
Sylvester Stallone, who starred in Rocky in 1976 (my fourth-grade year) is still an action hero. It is perfectly fair to point out that he is not what he used to be. But how many of us, who hold memories of the 1970s and 1980s, are what we used to be?
It is also perfectly fair to ask: Does an action film starring a septuagenarian make sense, from both an artistic and a commercial sense?
The leading man of an action movie, after all, is traditionally between 25 and 35 years old. Maybe a youngish 40—but certainly not older than 45. Stallone is three decades older than that traditional upper limit.
In the case of Stallone, I think it does make sense. Rambo movies were never high-end artistic fare, and they always stretched the viewer’s suspension of disbelief, even when Stallone was in his prime. Stallone, moreover, now has four generations of fans.
This all suggests that plenty of moviegoers will get out to see Last Blood a week from this Friday. Who knows? Despite the title, this might not even be the last Rambo movie.