Just FYI: Rambo is back to make America great again

I hadn’t realized until today that a new Rambo movie was in production but I should have guessed. Nearly every Republican presidency of the last four decades has welcomed one or more entries in the franchise, and the lone exception — Bush 41 — is barely an exception. “Rambo III” premiered six months before Election Day 1988, when the then-sitting VP was elected to his own four-year term. Reagan, the last Republican to win running on a campaign of restoring American strength, saw not one, not two, but three Rambo movies during his term. It was a cinch that President MAGA would inspire one despite Stallone’s advanced age.

Speaking of which, a strange but true fact: In neither of the two Rambo movies released since 9/11, including the new one opening soon, does America’s ultimate fictional soldier battle jihadis. The closest he’s come to facing the mujahedeen on the battlefield was in “Rambo III,” when he … fought alongside them against the Soviets in Afghanistan. (The film was even dedicated to them originally!) “Rambo,” released in 2008, had him fighting bad guys in Myanmar for God knows what reason. This new one has him waging war on—

Well, guess. We’re in the Trump era. Who’s the top villain whose ass needs kicking? No, don’t say “China”: That’s the correct answer, but Hollywood depends heavily on the Chinese box office. No one’s leaving big money on the table by making an action movie that’s destined to be banned in a country of a billion people due to its choice of antagonist. Don’t say “Russia” either. These movies are aimed mainly at right-wing audiences, after all, and the right’s relationship with Russia at this point is … complicated. I mean the other top villain.

Right. He’s fighting Mexican cartels. I’m guessing the final scene is Rambo pitching in to help build the wall.

Eh, it’ll be good to see him shoot an arrow again. Frankly, Stallone should do as many fan-service sequels as he’s capable of in the few productive years he has left. Exit question: “Over the Top 2” or “Lock Up 2”? I have a slight preference for the latter but am open to persuasion.

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