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‘Rambo: Last Blood’ a ‘repellent piece of trash’ that, with luck, will be franchise’s final entry

Zero stars! An insanely implausible, aggressively stupid, horrific, tone-deaf nightmare — capped by one of the all-time nonsensical voiceover finales in the history of movies.

Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo in “Rambo: Last Blood.”
Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as John Rambo in “Rambo: Last Blood.”
Lionsgate

This is not a movie.

This is mutilation porn.

This is a gratuitously violent, shamelessly exploitative, gruesomely sadistic and utterly repellent piece of trash with no redeeming qualities other than its mercifully short running time of less than 90 minutes.

Even then: far too long.

Let’s put it this way. Because I was not given an advance opportunity to screen “Rambo: Last Blood,” I caught the first commercial showing Thursday night — and each of the half-dozen trailers I saw beforehand was more cohesive and intelligible than the entirety of the movie that followed.

A movie that reinforces racial stereotypes. A movie that plays a like a warped and twisted mash-up of “Taken” and “Home Alone,” and no, I’m not kidding.

Before we dig into the muck of the plot details: SPOILER ALERT. As always, I won’t give away too much — but when the work I’m dissecting is emitting such a foul stench, I feel compelled to give you a few more specifics than usual.

Some 37 years after Sylvester Stallone’s Vietnam veteran John Rambo ran into all kinds of trouble in “First Blood” and more than a decade after 2008’s “Rambo,” this fifth and (we hope) final chapter in the franchise finds our man finally enjoying a measure of peace on his long-estranged family’s ranch in Arizona.

Yes, Rambo is still coping with PTSD (and popping an alarming number of pills to get through the day), and yes, it’s a little alarming to see all the weapons he has stockpiled in the elaborate tunnel system he has built beneath the ranch.

But on the upside, he has spent the last 11 years in blissful isolation from his violent past, helping his old friend Maria (Adriana Barraza) raise her granddaughter Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), who has become like a daughter to Rambo and calls him “Uncle John,” and imagine what it would be like if you asked Gabrielle to the prom and Uncle John Rambo was waiting when you showed up with limo and corsage.

Just before Gabrielle is to head off to college, she tells her Uncle John she has learned the whereabouts of the father who abandoned her when she was a child, and she needs to go to Mexico to confront him and ask him why he left.

Uncle John tells Gabrielle her father is a terrible human being and has no heart and will never change. He says it would be a really bad idea for her to go to Mexico.

Gabrielle goes to Mexico anyway — and within 24 hours, she has been drugged, kidnapped and thrown into a dungeon as the latest victim in a wide-ranging sex trafficking ring led by the evil Martinez brothers, Hugo (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and Victor (Oscar Jaenada).

And just in case we haven’t received the message about how horrible these guys are, how about a scene in which a bad guy walks a dungeon-like corridor lined with victims and compares them to runaway dogs? And a scene in which a victim’s face is branded with the “mark” of her captor? And a speech from a killer explaining how these women are less than human in his eyes?

For God’s sake. We get it.

Rambo drives his pickup truck down to Mexico in search of Gabrielle. He finds an ally in Paz Vega’s Carmen Delgado, who tells Rambo she is an “independent journalist” who has been trying to nail the Martinez brothers for some three years, ever since her sister became one of their many victims. (Carmen’s investigative techniques leave a lot to be desired, but she DOES know one of those off-the-grid movie doctors who stitches up Rambo but says, “He really needs to go to a hospital.”)

Suffice to say Rambo’s first stab at saving Gabrielle doesn’t go well — but Rambo being Rambo, we’re just getting warmed up.

In the meantime, a couple of notes:

— At the beginning of our story, Gabrielle has a boyfriend and a bunch of close friends. She is a popular and well-liked girl. One surmises she’s active on social media. But after Gabrielle goes missing, the boyfriend and the friends all disappear and are never referenced again.

— “Rambo: Last Blood” is set in present day — but when someone close to John dies, he digs a grave and buries that person in a makeshift cemetery on his property, without notifying the authorities, as if it’s 1822.

Anyway. The war between Rambo and the Martinez brothers escalates and becomes ever more personal — and eventually makes its way from Mexico to that ranch in Arizona …

And that’s when “Last Blood” makes a last downward plunge from insanely implausible and aggressively stupid to horrific, tone-deaf nightmare, capped by one of the all-time nonsensical voice-over finales in the history of movies.

The door is left open for another chapter in the “Rambo” saga — but to quote the character of Mickey from another Stallone franchise…

Down, down, stay down.

Please stay down.