There’s been talk of a new Rambo movie since, well, Sylvester Stallone dusted off one of his most celebrated characters for 2008’s Rambo. A number of versions have kicked around over the years, and now it sounds like not only has one idea actually stuck, it’s the stupidest fucking one anyone could come up with.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nu Image and Millennium Films are working on a reboot called Rambo: New Blood (of course that’s the title). Brooks McLaren, who penned the post-apocalyptic Black List thriller How It Ends (he also has something called Line of Sight in the weeds) will handle the script, while Criminal helmer Ariel Vromen will take the reins.
That part is whatever. Criminal wasn’t great, but The Iceman was solid, and I could actually see Vromen helming a solid gritty John Rambo saga. Here’s where shit gets stupid, however. Sylvester Stallone will not return to play the iconic Vietnam vet. Instead, they’re going with a younger actor, and to quote THR, “the company is looking at Rambo as a character akin to James Bond.”
Yeah, that’s the most backward ass, asinine shit I’ve ever heard. John Rambo is John Rambo because he’s not James Bond. He’s the polar opposite of James Bond. Sure, Daniel Craig’s iteration of the British super spy has some lingering trauma residue hanging around—like Rambo, he’s seen some rough shit and it negatively affected him—but he’s still super suave, dresses in suits, and knows how to act in civil human society.
At this point, Rambo is primarily a rampaging beast. Last time we saw him he was living in a hut, making his own machetes, and cutting dozens of dudes in half with .50 caliber machine gun, for Christ’s sake. He can barely form coherent words. The two are very, very different characters, and any attempt to make Rambo more Bond-like is going to end poorly. Except for being white dudes who kill a lot of folks, there aren't many similarities.
This isn’t even a case where the new movie is going back to some lost thread from the source material or anything. Though there are key differences, David Morrell’s 1972 novel First Blood is, much like the 1982 adaptation, about a traumatized man coming home from war and running afoul of a small-town sheriff. He’s never been a spy or any sort of operator, he’s a soldier.
Granted, that narrative carries a great deal of weight in the current landscape as lots of traumatized young solders return home from combat. It’s a perfect time to comment on war in some capacity, but turning them into James Bond is not the way to do this.
There aren’t actually any plot details for Rambo: New Blood, and I hope this topples under the sheer weight of what a terrible idea it is.