Friday, Sept. 20! That’s the date when the final Rambo film (“Rambo: Last Blood”) and the first “Downton Abbey” film hit theaters!

In 1969, Sylvester Stallone had a don’t-blink-your-eyes-or-you-will-miss-him scene in the Robert Redford film “Downhill Racer.”

Seven years later, he was still basically an unknown actor until Nov. 21, 1976. That’s when his film, “Rocky,” hit theaters. This expected sleeper became the highest-grossing film of 1976. It earned 10 Oscar nominations and won three of those, including Best Picture, beating out the acclaimed film “Taxi Driver.”

With that success, Stallone was able to go forward with a new underdog hero: John Rambo. We first meet Rambo, a Vietnam War veteran, in the 1982 film “Rambo: First Blood.”

“Rambo: First Blood Part II” followed in 1985 with Rambo rescuing American POWs still imprisoned in North Vietnam after the 1973 Peace Accord. In real life, a minimum of 1,300 American MIA/POW soldiers in North Vietnam were still unaccounted for in 1985. “Rambo II” struck a heart-rendering cord with many Americans, which advanced the popularity of the “Rambo” films. Two more “Rambo” films followed with the last in 2008. That is, until now.

In “Last Blood,” Rambo finds himself attempting to retrieve a friend’s daughter who has been kidnapped by a notorious Mexican cartel and taken across the U.S./Mexico border. Even without seeing “Last Blood,” I pity that cartel! You don’t mess with Rambo!

On the cultured side of life, “Downton Abbey” has returned as a feature film where we find that the King and Queen of England visit the Crawleys. Think romance, conspiracies, secrecies and definitely scandals. Pure “Downton Abbey!”

Jo Laney-Branine is a Louisburg resident who has written reviews for multiple newspapers.

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