Sylvester Stallone will reportedly star in the long in-development Rambo 5 with an eye on directing the film as well. Already a superstar thanks to the success of Rocky and the film’s many sequels, Stallone created yet another big screen icon 1982 with First Blood, the story of a Vietnam War veteran named John Rambo, who kicked into survival mode when he became the target of a tyrannical law enforcement official when he turned up in a small town.
With a modest budget of $15 million, First Blood became a solid box office hit, grossing $47.2 million domestically. It was a big enough return to give Stallone the opportunity to make Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1985, which scored a blockbuster $150 million stateside. Not surprisingly, Rambo III followed suit in 1988, but since it earned a disappointing $53.7 domestically, Stallone all but retired the character the actor-filmmaker brought the action character back one more time for Rambo in 2008. Like the previous installment, however, Rambo earned an underwhelming tally of just $42.7 million at the domestic box office, and the character went dormant once again. Even though he’s been working on a script for years (and has even considered making a Rambo TV series), it still comes as a somewhat unexpected development that Stallone is finally bringing Rambo out of retirement one more time.
According to Screen International, Stallone is slated to star and possibly direct Rambo 5, even though the film has not been confirmed by the actor-filmmaker’s representatives. The publication says Stallone is working on the script, which surrounding the kidnapping of the daughter of one of Rambo’s friends. Deadline adds, “Rambo, who has been working on a ranch, crosses the U.S.-Mexican border and quickly finds himself up against the full might of one of Mexico’s most violent cartels.”
While the return of Rambo will come as great news to Stallone fans, it will be interesting to see whether the Rambo character will have enough appeal to draw in audiences over 35 years after the debut of the original film. Obviously, Stallone struggled to recapture the popularity of Rambo – after his peak in First Blood Part II – with the third and fourth Rambo films, so Rambo 5 is no doubt a huge risk.
Stallone has defied the odds before, however, as he brought Rocky Balboa back to the big screen in a respectful way with the character’s supporting role as the aging trainer to Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), in Creed in 2015, which paved the way for Creed 2 to release this coming November. With any luck, Stallone will be taking the same tact with John Rambo in Rambo 5 by portraying the character in the proper stage of his life rather than making his actions and abilities seem unrealistic. Or, it could be that he’s doing the film to effectively pass the torch on to somebody else, which is obviously the purpose of the Creed films.