|Index||7 reviews in total|
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.
I saw this movie when it first came out, and it made a BIG impression
on me -- because it was so BAD. I remember the ride home listening to
my parents in the front seat absolutely trash this thing. There were
holes in the plot big enough for a herd of elephants to trample
through. My father (normally one of the sweetest men you'll ever meet)
worked himself up to the point where he was criticizing the costumes.
As I remember (and it has been 35 years), a platoon is shown heading off into the jungle on a secret mission, and they are all in camouflage, "Except for that idiot," my father exclaims through bursts of laughter, "you know, the guy wearing RED on a secret mission!" And even though I was kind of young, I do remember how wooden the acting was, especially Alex Cord, who had to be one of the worst actors ever.
Bottom line: Good for a few laughs, but there is a reason this one is obscure.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Stanley Baker and Alex Cord are at each other's throats in "Dr. Who"
director Gordon Flemying's "The Last Grenade," a gritty but
anti-climatic actioneer about honor among mercenaries. Mind you, this
film has the distinction of living up to its title. You may like it
more than I or you may like it less than I, but you'll have to agree
that "The Last Grenade" lives up to its title. The problem here is that
the narrative wanders off course for an improbable as well as
unconvincing romantic affair. Freshman scenarist Michael Ware could
have given our hero a romantic interest with more connection to the
plot. Honor Blackman is the lady in question. Baker plays Major Harry
Grigsby as somebody afflicted with tuberculosis. He makes a sympathetic
as well as believable character, but he suffers the most damnable ill
luck. Basically, he is the kind of hero who takes a beating right up to
the end before he surprises the villain with fatal consequences.
Meantime, Flemying has assembled an distinguished cast, orchestrated
the action against colorful scenery, and derived the benefits of Alan
Hume's first-rate cinematography. Unfortunately, as mercenary movies
go, "The Last Grenade" isn't half as good as either "Dark of the Sun"
or "The Wild Geese." "The Last Grenade" cannot even compare with the
Stallone & Statham "Expendables" epics. Indeed, despite strong
performances, this 94-minute melodrama qualifies as second-rate fare.
The film never recovers from a spectacular opening aerial massacre.
Flemying stages several fights, but the arena and the size of those
scenes shrinks rather than enlarges. The two leads cultivate a blood
feud between themselves that infuses "The Last Grenade" with its
primary source of energy. We want to see our hero finally outwit the
villain. Indeed, he does but at an extreme cost.
At 42, Major Harry Grigsby (Stanley Baker of "The Guns of Navarone") has survived the best and the worst. Grigsby is waiting his friend, Kip Thompson (Alex Cord of "Stagecoach"), to fly his army of mercenaries out of the Congo. Ostensibly, Harry believes Kip will save the day when he swoops in on a helicopter to pick up his men. Imagine Grigsby's horror when Kip opens fire with a machine gun on Grigsby's men. Grigsby realizes he has been sold out by the greedy Thompson. Kip wipes out all but a handful of Grigsby's men. Suffering as he does from tuberculosis, Grigsby manages to get back to London when he recuperates. Nevertheless, rage smolders within him about Kip's treachery. Later, Grigsby learns from a government bureaucrat that the Red Chinese have Kip on their payroll. Whitehall is willing to foot the bill to send Grigsby to Hong Kong, but the elusive Kip kills one of his men in cold blood and captures Grigsby. Resourceful to a fault, Grigsby manages to escape. Grigsby's escape is cool. You don't see what he does in every adventure movie. Nevertheless, the Major feels like the deck is stacked against him. While Grigsby recovers in the hospital from his injuries,. Katherine Whitely (Honor Blackman), the wife of Grigsby's Hong Kong liaison, invites herself to visit him. This is a romance of convenience as you'll soon come to learn. Nothing about it seems credible given the circumstances. She comes to see him enough that she decides to divorce her husband, General Charles Whiteley (Richard Attenborough of "The Great Escape"), to live with Harry. You know that a romance between a mercenary and a woman with a relentless villain lurking in the background is not going to end well.
Ultimately, "The Last Grenade" isn't a fun movie, but it is well-made.
Lame mercenary movie which depends on its name stars . There are
thrills , a love story , revenge , chases , emotion and explosions
galore . This is a story of vendetta played by familiar faces against
the background of the adventures of a bunch of mercenaries led by Major
Grigsby . As two soldiers of fortune , Harry Grigsby (Stanley Baker of
Zulu) and Kip Thompson (Alex Cord of Mafia) , used to be the best of
friends when they battle side by side in Africa . Their mission meets
an unexpected turn when Harry is betrayed by their backers . As
Thompson double-crosses Grigsby and this one seeks vengeance . While he
is London healing from illness , Harry falls in love for gorgeous wife
(Honor Blackman of Goldfinger) of a British General (Richard
Attenborough of The great escape). Then Harry and his group (Andrew
Keir , John Thaw , Julian Glover , Rafer Johnson) are assigned a new
mission that they happily accept : to kill Thompson , now in Hong Kong
causing disputes with neighboring China by creating frontier tensions .
As Harry and his team breaking into Red China someone has to end the
This warlike film packs adventures, large-scale blow-up , routine plot , and lots of action for the most part , but packs also too much dialogue . It's an average mix of action-packed , adventure , romance , thriller and wartime genre . Middling screenplay by Kenneth Ware based on the novel titled "The Ordeal of Major Grigsby" by John Sherlock . Other chief excitements about the movie, will be in the intervention of famous British secondaries who realize professionally competent interpretations , some of them with no more than a line or two to say such as Andrew Keir of ¨Quatermass and pit¨ , John Thaw of ¨The Sweeney¨ and ¨Julian Glover of ¨Game of thrones¨ . Cinematography by Alan Hume is quite nicely , capturing the atmosphere of everywhere , as it was filmed on location in Hong Kong, China , Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England and Spain ; however being necessary a right remastering. Atmospheric as well as evocative musical score by John Dankworth . The motion picture was regularly directed by Gordon Flemyng , father of actor, Jason Flemyng .Gordon directed several episodes of famous series such as ¨The Saint¨ , ¨The Bill¨, ¨Taggart¨ , ¨Avengers¨ and occasionally for cinema such as ¨Doctor Who and the Daleks¨ , ¨Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.¨ , ¨Just for fun¨, ¨Catherine the great¨ and ¨The Split¨ .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sometimes the past is best left undisturbed. This picture was a
favourite of mine and used to play often on 70's television, usually in
a late-night slot. I had thought of it as a tense, gritty movie full of
exciting action and superb performances. Then it mysteriously
disappeared from our screens, so when the opportunity arose recently to
view it once again, I jumped at the chance.
Based on the novel 'The Ordeal Of Major Grigsby' by John Sherlock, 'The Last Grenade' begins in the Congo. A mercenary unit, headed by Major Harry Grigsby ( Stanley Baker ), is waiting to be picked up by a helicopter by one of their number, Kip Thompson ( Alex Cord ). Instead he has changed sides and wipes them out en masse - laughing like a maniac as he does so - before blowing up their camp for good measure. Only Grigsby survives, swearing revenge.
Some time later, he is back in England and recovering from tuberculosis in a sanitarium when the British Government ( naturally bothered by an American mercenary's activities in a foreign land ) asks him to kill Thompson who has been making a nuisance of himself in China by making cross border raids. You would think they would prefer to use someone in better health, but that's politicians for you.
Taking along other mercenaries - including Julian Glover and John Thaw ( criminally wasted in such a small role ), he sets about hunting for his hated adversary. They eventually meet, but instead of killing Grigsby where he stands, Thompson puts him in solitary confinement, from which he is able to escape easily. This lapse in logic is not isolated; as the film progresses, other opportunities crop up for Thompson to remove Grigsby, but for reasons unexplained, he chooses not to do so. We know of course why - the story would have ended there and then.
Harry then begins an affair with Katherine ( Honor Blackman ), the good-looking wife of General Whiteley ( Richard Attenborough - also wasted in this movie ), and considers calling off the search for Thompson ( forgetting of course that he has been paid to do the job by British tax-payers ) and settle down to a life of domestic bliss.
Thompson has other ideas and kills Katherine ( he was really after her husband, but never mind ). So now Harry is full of fury once more, and storms off into the rainy forests to look for Kip. You think a big fight is coming, but no, it does not and suddenly the credits are rolling up the screen.
Watching this the other night I wondered how on earth the writers - one of whom was James Mitchell, creator of 'Callan' - thought that they could get away with such blatantly obvious plot holes, some of which are big enough for Thompson to fly his helicopter through. Even my wife ( a confirmed soap opera addict ) spotted them, which tells you all you need to know.
Baker makes a convincing mercenary - all moustache and muscles, upper lip trembling in anticipation of the final kill - more so than the cast of 'The Wild Geese' combined. Harry using a corpse as a trap for Thompson is in character, but his decision to stop hunting for Thompson to move in with Katherine is not. As the giggling psycho, Alex Cord's performance surely must have been a big influence on Christopher Walken when he played 'Max Zorin' in the Bond movie 'A View To A Kill' fifteen years later. Ray Brooks is around too, but got better dialogue when he did 'Mr.Benn'.
On the plus side, there is impressive location filming in Spain ( doubling for the Congo ) and China. The opening massacre gets the film off to a thundering start. But from then on, it is all downhill, as the plot wanders around in circles. We do not even get to see Grigsby and Thompson engage in hand-to-hand combat. Gordon Flemyng, the director, was also responsible for the two 'Dr.Who' movies of the '60's starring Peter Cushing, and you will find more excitement in those than this.
If you enjoyed 'The Last Grenade' in 1970, then to preserve your happy memories do not watch it now. Believe me, 'The Wild Geese' is 'Apocalypse Now' by comparison.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A truly awful adaptation of the book, "The Ordeal of Major Grigsby."
The amazing thing about this film is the huge amount of talent in the
cast that simply cannot save the hopeless muddle of implausible story
and bad film-making.
The story revolves around two mercenary soldiers, played by veteran Stanley Baker and relative newcomer Alex Cord. In the first scene, set in Africa, Cord changes sides and wipes out Baker's mercenary unit. Baker is later hired by the British Government (yeah, they did this a lot) to go over the border from Hong Kong to deal with a Chinese guerrilla outfit headed by, of course, Alex Cord. On his first excursion into "Injun Territory", Baker is ambushed and captured by Cord, and his entire unit is again massacred. From there things just get worse. Baker escapes so he can have a fling with Honor Blackman, who is married to Richard Attenborough, the local military commander. This part of the movie drags on seemingly forever, but eventually Baker gets back into the bush for the inevitable final showdown with Cord. Rarely is the end of a film so welcome. I haven't seen this movie anywhere for about 30 years. Wonder why.
Having appeared in films such as 'The Great Escape', 'Guns at Batasi', 'Flight of the Phoenix' and 'Dr. Dolittle', as well as making his directorial debut in 'Oh! What a Lovely War', Dickie Attenborough continued to act in films like this one in between directing his own. This was made just before he directed 'Young Winston'.
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|