Film Round-Up: Rambo: Last Blood, Dark Phoenix and Blinding of the Light

Right, let’s get on with it.

Rambo: Last Blood

Rambo goes on one final mission after his sort-of adopted daughter gets kidnapped by a Mexican drug and prostitution cartel. This is a proper throwback, both in a good and bad way. You do get lots of cool, bloody and incredibly violent action scenes. Even though Stallone is now eligible for a free bus pass, he can still make for a decent action hero and the bits where Rambo gets to be Rambo, are god damn awesome as you’d expect them to be. But while that’s the fun part of these old style action movies, you unfortunately get the bad parts as well. And that is some questionable decisions which do appear to be racist and sexist. The teenage daughter only exists to be kidnapped, raped and then killed. The only other female characters are a journalist who does nothing but take care of Rambo and spout exposition and the daughter’s aunt, who does nothing but cry. Also every Mexican is a scumbag and/or drug gangster if you believe this movie. Yeah, that doesn’t fly in 2019. So while there are some fun action moments in this, it’s mindset is stuck in the 70s and I cannot get past this.

Dark Phoenix

Jean Grey gets hit by space flares which triggers her full powers, turning her into the Dark Phoenix. Movies can’t get this iconic comic book storyline right and some how this ends up being a worse case than the last time they tried in X-Men: The Last Stand. That’s not because the movie does anything particularly wrong in terms of its plot, yes the alien villains are pretty superfluous but that’s not the worst thing in the world. The huge problem and the reason the movie is god awful is because it’s obvious no one wants to be there. Every actor, other than Michael Fassbender in fairness, is going through the motions, trying to get this contractually obliged movie as soon as possible. Even the direction is half-assed with even the most jam-packed action scenes raising the pulse as much as an ASMR video. I don’t think I’ve seen any movie with such a lack of energy and enthusiasm from everyone involved. Don’t reward everyone’s laziness, avoid and make sure this is the end of the current franchise.

Blinded by the Light

Javed, a teenage Muslim boy living in 1980s Luton, discovers Bruce Springsteen’s music and becomes a superfan as he connects to it in a way he’s never connected to anything before. If Dark Phoenix had a complete lack of passion going into it, Blinded by the Light had all of the passion going into it. You can feel that everyone involved loves the script and are doing their best to make sure you love it too. And it does work because while this is a movie about a boy’s love for Springsteen, it also communicates the idea of how important music can be so even if you are a super fan of One Direction, White Snake or Debbie Gibson, I think you’ll be able to sympathise with Javed’s plight. This is also a great windows into 1980s UK, past the flares and synths which usually dominates this sort of movie. I do think the movie can get into cringe territory with its forced musical sequences but for the most part, this is a delightful movie which everyone who enjoys music will love.

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Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.

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A Guy Who Talks About Movies

Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.