Last Man Standing (1996)

reviewed by
Tim Voon


                         LAST MAN STANDING 1996
                      A film review by Timothy Voon
                       Copyright 1997 Timothy Voon
                  3 :-( :-( :-( for senseless shooting

Cast: Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, Bruce Dern, William Sanderson, David Patrick Kelly, Ned Eisenberg, Alexandra Powers, Karina Lombard, Michael Imperioli Director: Walter Hill Screenplay: Walter Hill based on the story by Ryuzo Kikushima and Akira Kurosawa

Two rival mobster gangs vie for dominance in a small town along the Mexican Border. Come Bruce Willis, a free lance, fast gunslinger for hire to the highest bidder. He plays each gang to his best advantage, swapping from side to side until he develops a handy conscience towards the end of the movie; that's if helping two dames and killing everyone else, can be considered developing a conscience?

Boys will be boys. However, when the measure of each boy's manhood depends on the size of his toy gun, the "last man standing" will also be the most childish. Bruce baby, the biggest boy with the quickest toy gun gets to shoot the most bullets. The other boys get their far share of gunfire, but all must resign to being shot by this boy, before the movie ends. The gunfight scenes reminiscent of "Desperado" (without the excessive ketchup/blood), can be described as "boy walks into saloon and guns everyone and everything down". This makes good target practice, but is nonetheless senseless. In which case it becomes meaningless for the victims to raise their weapons in resistance; and in fairness the lines "Please shoot me I'm over here!" should be added to the script for every man downed.

Bruce Willis plays a wry, stone faced gunner who attempts to stare every victim down before he executes them. This cool, expressionless glazed stare is amusing to begin with; but becomes monotonous and confusing, when used without discretion on the mob, the dame and the dame's boss. It's the same look he gives to the mob before a gunfight, and to the dame before bedtime. The only time we are mercifully spared the stare, is when Brucy's face is beaten and bloodied; even then he develops an annoying squint. It's a no win situation, so perhaps we should just follow the precedence of "Darkman", and hide the man behind the hood.

Director Walter Hill has decided to use a yellow filter screen, to give the movie the same feel as a wild west frontier "Outlaw/Wanted" poster. As my young cousin commented "This movie looks too yellow!" My reply, bless his heart, was "It's not yellow, it's just jaundiced."

Timothy Voon
e-mail: stirling@netlink.com.au

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