Ending Explained is a recurring series in which we explore the finales, secrets, and themes of interesting movies and shows, both new and old.
Rambo: Last Blood might be John Rambo’s swansong, but we said the same thing after the last movie gave us what felt like a definitive finale. Should this really be the last chapter in his cinematic story, the movie is a perfectly fine way to wrap things up. Of course, the ending suggests that the tortured soldier will return for another battle down the line.
In the movie, Rambo heads to Mexico to retrieve his niece, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), from the clutches of cartel sex traffickers. Unfortunately, she’s been pumped full of drugs and dies when he’s bringing her home, which causes him to snap and wage a one-man war against their network. The baddies subsequently make their way to his Arizona ranch, where all hell breaks loose.
The closing moments of the movie shows our hero sitting on his porch chair after taking on the might of the cartel in the tunnels under his farm. He’s deeply wounded having been shot a couple of times during the battle, but he’s in a reflective mood, remembering those whom he’s loved and lost — from his Vietnam friends to Gabrielle — and promising to keep their memory alive.
During these moments, Rambo is in no rush to treat his wounds. He barely made it to his chair due to his injuries and blood loss. His words are also very elegiac, so surely it’s only a matter of time before he fades out having been given a warrior’s death, right? Well, maybe not.
The end credits of Last Bloodfeatures a montage of key scenes from all five movies. However, the montage ends with the wounded Rambo riding off into the mountains on his horse — a scene that wasn’t in the movie — which suggests that he’s survived the ordeal and is returning to his nomadic ways.
Earlier in the movie, after burying Gabrielle, he tells Maria (Adriana Barazza) that he is going to wander around again. With the cartel out of the way and nothing left to stick around for, he appears to be doing just that by the time the end credits roll. The scene is reminiscent of a cowboy riding off into the sunset, toward a future of uncertainty. That’s Rambo’s life in a nutshell.
At the same time, when we last see Rambo’s horses in the film, he’s set them free so they won’t get caught up in the bullet storm that’s on its way to the ranch. So either one of the horses came back to take him into the mountains, or the scene is symbolic of Rambo passing on into the afterlife. It’s an ambiguous ending, but it also gives Stallone and co. a get-out clause should they decide to return for a future movie.
If this is indeed the end of Rambo’s story, the post-credit scene is bound to cause some debate among fans for years to come. The character is a lone wolf warrior who’s survived against all the odds in the past. Concluding his journey this way is more interesting than a clear-cut resolution. That said, the theory would be worth considering if this movie really was the planned final installment of the series.
All in all, the montage moment confirms Rambo’s survival because Stallone has said that he’ll make another movie if this one makes bank at the box office. The actor has discussed a potential sequel where Rambo teaches his skillset to a protege, so it’s possible that we’ll see the Rambo franchise’s version of Creed in the near future.
At the end of the day, Rambo’s survival instincts won’t allow him to die. Nothing can stop this warrior. Until we see him being buried six feet under the ground once and for all, he’ll always have at least one more fight left in him.