After a massive earthquake destroys Los Angeles, a new order is formed. But disagreement among the ranks leads to more war and disruption, and The Last Patrol must bring order if there's to be any hope for the future.
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Sidney J. Furie
An earthquake measuring 9.5 on the Richter Scale splits California into an island with a perpetual dustcloud hanging over it. The survivors of the terrible ordeal have started to come together in the shape of Nick Preston (Dolph Lundgren) an air force captain, and other fractions of the military, including Sarah McBride and Lucky Simcoe, and have situated themselves in a warfare junkyard, holding weaponry from forgotten conflicts. They are searching for food, fuel and fellow survivors, and a possible path into the next world, while also dodging a violent plague that causes the skin to boil. Written by
Question. How do you tell when a movie is really bad?
1: The hero is an ex-Green Beret rebelling against the system.
2: It has the hackneyed plotline that the world has ended and only a few exceptional people can save the day. This genre was old when 'Mad Max' rumbled on to the screens, but its still being churned out with ever-decreasing budgets. After all, any wannabe director just needs a camera; a few friends decked out in army surplus, some beat up vehicles and a free weekend in the desert. Add suitably ruined industrial plants and bad acting to taste and you are on the way to video immortality.
The big budget productions feature kickboxing cyborgs.
The Last Patrol has no kickboxing cyborgs.
3: Voiceovers to explain the plot. Studios tack these on after the movie is edited when they realise what a complete hash they have on their hands.. A good movie doesn't need someone bored out of their mind reading lines into a microphone.
Unless they're Humphry Bogart - and he's dead.
4: It has a urine-drinking scene. There is an episode of BlackAdder where they attempt to sail round the world. Things become so desperate they have to drink their own urine. The same thing happens about halfway through The Last Patrol - I was tempted to join in the onscreen misery.
5: When the 'making of' feature and publicity materials don't feature the lead actor. Something happened during the production and they no longer want to be associated with it as it may hurt future work. In retrospect that was a very wise move Mr. Lundgren, possibly a little late, but a good idea none the less.
At this point I should make it clear I like bad movies. there is nothing like a good cheap movie to round off a Friday night. The Last Patrol even starts of promisingly. A massive earthquake (illustrated by spectacular special effects lifted straight out of 'Dante's Peak' hits California. An isolated military base in the high desert is cut off from civilisation. Somehow Dolph Lundgren (playing the part of an ex Green Beret who rebelled against the yadda. yadda.) must keep things together and rebuild civilisation.
At this point the movie takes its inspiration from the plot and everything falls apart.
The scriptwriter had a bad attack of writers' block, reached into the cliché cupboard and grabbed *everything*.
So, the commander is suitably heroic and square jawed. He's suitably macho to handle the action, but in touch with his feminine side when he needs to talk to children. The troops are rebellious, (but never mutinous); there is a bubble-headed useless blonde stripper to get in the way and a power-mad maniac out to take over the world. Would you even believe that there is a gratuitous excuse for a shower scene? Oh you would. you are way ahead of me.
All these characters (and I use the term loosely) are thrown into what passes for a plot featuring shifts in the Earth's axis, genetic mutations, plagues, private prisons and someone in communion with God. (No really!)
If it was a couple of minutes long, The Last Patrol might make an interesting trailer - after all they aren't meant to explain anything. A good trailer makes lots of noise, raises questions about the plot and draws in the audience. At 100 minutes, The Last Patrol is one hell of a long trailer - unless (and this is a scary thought) this is the teaser for an entire series of post apocalyptic fun.
Usually reviews are meant to concentrate on scripting and acting - I can't be that cruel to the cast. They had bad lines and they did a lousy job.
Special effects? Well if you've seen Dante's Peak you've already seen the best of them. The rest is the usual cheap prosthetics left over from the Halloween clearance sale and things exploding for no very good reason.
The producers didn't even choose a very nice piece of desert. In most of these movies you can amuse yourself by looking out for that strange rock where Captain Kirk once fought the lizard man. Not here.
Somehow this mess cost $8.2 million. I'm not sure where the money could have gone. Perhaps they each had a couple of drinks from the hotel minibar?
So is there anything positive to say about The Last Patrol? Ummm. there is a very sweet child who actually doesn't get on your nerves and a golden retriever with a natural talent that shines through and puts everyone else to shame.
Anything else? No not really, I just hope everyone got a good tan in the desert.
Any recommendations? To Mr Lundgren; get a new agent. To the kid; it's not too late to change your name, your secret is safe with me - no one else will ever know that you were in this film. To the rest of the cast; overacting is not the same as acting really hard. To the dog; pick your roles more carefully in future, no one likes failure in Hollywood and you do want to work again.
Needs kickboxing cyborgs.
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