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Antonio Margheriti's L'Ultimo cacciatore aka The Last Hunter (1980) stars the late, great David Warbeck and Tisa "Zombie Flesh Eaters" Farrow as a group of soldiers who have a mission during Vietnam war to go and destroy some radio station of the enemy. Farrow is a photographer and Warbeck is a military captain and once they get on the way, they soon find themselves in the middle of fire power, deadly traps and killing as there are blood thirsty enemies everywhere. In other words, a typical violent exploitationer from the golden days of Spaghetti gore.
This was definitely worth watching and getting the newly released UK release which is gorgeous widescreen and uncut, unlike many previous releases. The film concentrates on strong violence as there are horrible traps, bloody shootings, stabbings, limb snappings and over all gory mayhem, which is also pretty brutal and nihilistic, most notably the "boat scene" near the end in which the terror gets even more forms. This was the style of those days since producers wanted to make gory and violent films in all genres in order to cash in by the success of such box office classics as Romero's Dawn of the Dead and more importantly for the Italian themselves, Fulci's Zombie 2 aka Zombie Flesh Eaters. Director Margheriti has said that he wanted to do these two war related films of his (the other being Apocalypse Domani aka Cannibal Apocalypse, a horrific cannibal terror film set in a big city) more anti war themed and pacifistic, but the producers wanted to add large doses of violence and gore so that's why most of the time's films are so brutally violent.
The Last Hunter was written by Dardano Sachetti, who worked with Fulci a lot. Director Margheriti is known for his imaginative camera style and often weird camera angles, which are perhaps too plenty in The Last Hunter as they become little irritating and underlining and don't mean anything when used this often. The first 30 minutes of the film is incredibly intense and the viewer definitely won't watch the clock during that, since the film is so exciting and fast moving at the beginning. The film slows down a little towards the end, but for most of the time it is pure action. The effects are very great, most notably the huge explosions which are plenty and fierce is this film, so the budget was definitely at least moderate. The gore effects have always been The thing for these Italian exploitation makers, and The Last Hunter isn't an exception. The gore effects are convincing and full of the usual "eye gouging close up" details which are also very usual in Fulci's zombie films like The Beyond and Zombie Flesh Eaters.
The Last Hunter is totally pointless in any other level than delivering mayhem and violence so this is pretty classic exploitation film which still has great amount of cinematic skill and that's a great thing. I think I appreciate Apocalyse Domani little higher, but The Last Hunter is definitely noteworthy film for lovers of ultra violent and prolific Italian cinema of the 70's and 80's. 6/10
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