Sylvester Stallone‘s Rambo: Last Blood doesn’t seem to have a fan in series creator David Morrell.
Morrell, 76, wrote his debut 1972 novel First Blood which spawned Stallone’s Rambo franchise. The author shared his thoughts on Last Blood on Twitter Friday, saying he wasn’t happy with the adaptation.
“I agree with these RAMBO: LAST BLOOD reviews,” Morrell tweeted. “The film is a mess. Embarrassed to have my name associated with it.”
In a follow-up interview with Newsweek, Morrell said, “I felt degraded and dehumanized after I left the theater.”
“Instead of being soulful, this new movie lacks one,” he continued. “I felt I was less a human being for having seen it, and today that’s an unfortunate message.”
Morrell added, “Rambo could be called John Smith and the film wouldn’t change. It assumes the audience is familiar with Rambo’s background, whereas anyone under 40 will wonder what on Earth is going on with those tunnels.”
On Twitter, acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates responded to his initial tweet, writing, “So sorry, David. it could have been a brilliant opportunity for you to write something nostalgic/ elegiac in opposition to T***p Dark Age while still honoring the idealism in naive patriotism. or, exploring how patriotism shades into nationalism & into racism.”
Morrell tweeted an explanation, describing “long” conversations between himself and Stallone to work on a “soulful” Rambo film.
“Hi, Joyce. In 2016, Sly and I had numerous long telephone conversation about what he wanted to be a “soulful” Rambo film,” Morrell tweeted. “Alas, the result lacks soul.”
Hi, Joyce. In 2016, Sly and I had numerous long telephone conversation about what he wanted to be a "soulful" Rambo film. Alas, the result lacks soul.— _DavidMorrell (@_DavidMorrell) September 20, 2019
I hated the film.— _DavidMorrell (@_DavidMorrell) September 20, 2019
The author also responded to a fan who told Morrell he’d bought three tickets for a movie showing of Last Blood. Morrell wrote, “I hated the film.”
Stallone spoke to Variety about bringing back Rambo, saying, “You can totally end the story with him going home, having that shot of him going down the driveway, which is completion.”
“But a character like that — does he ever really go home? I jotted down on a Post-It: ‘He came home, but he never arrived,’ and I went, there’s a movie here. The warrior can never find peace,” he continued. “He just can’t.”
Since opening, the film has earned $19 million at the U.S. box office.
Rambo: Last Blood is currently in theaters.