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Two soldiers of fortune, Harry Grigsby and Kip Thompson, used to be the best of friends when they fought side by side in the Congo. But now Kip has changed sides and Grigsby does not forgive him for what he regards as a betrayal, all the more as Thompson now turns his guns against Grigsby's troops and, accordingly, against his former friend. While he is London recovering from tuberculosis, Rigby is assigned a new mission that he gladly accepts: to eliminate Thompson, now in Hong Kong causing tensions with neighboring China by creating border incidents... Written by
The problem with The Last Grenade isn't so much that it's bad, but that it disregards audience expectations. It isn't unreasonable, after all, to expect a movie about mercenaries to contain a fair amount of action. The Last Grenade, however, devotes at least as much attention to a none-too-convincing romantic subplot as to the central rivalry between the characters played by Baker and Cord.
Cord's slightly mad villain is more charismatic than the decidedly unheroic hero, but receives too little screen time to keep the tension going. Even his demise is somewhat of a letdown, with the viewer unaccountably robbed of any explosive, bullet-riddled showdown between the rival groups of mercenaries, so that instead we're given an almost mannered climax that's more of a joke than a catharsis, dramatic music cue notwithstanding.
In less British hands - say, Don Siegel's or Sam Peckinpah's - or maybe John Boorman's or David Lean's, this might have been an unqualified winner; as is, however, it's only a minor, watchable, but ultimately disappointing and mostly actionless actioner.
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