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Overall Rating
2.56

Awesome: 4%
Worth A Look: 20%
Just Average28%
Pretty Crappy: 24%
Sucks: 24%

4 reviews, 26 user ratings


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Last Man Standing
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Drop-dead boring Walter Hill attempt."
2 stars

'Last Man Standing' is not the ideal movie to see when you have a cold. You stare at the dust, and the light shining through the dust, and then the men in hats walking through the dusty light, and you wonder if this is a style or a Robitussin hallucination. The film is also big on dissolves, which usually denote the passage of time; here they're used constantly, often within the same scene. Between the dust and the dissolves, this movie makes you feel drowsy and stuffed-up even without a cold.

Writer-director Walter Hill (48 HRS., Wild Bill), a veteran stylist and macho mythologist, borrows a story that has served two masters of epic action: Akira Kurosawa (Yojimbo) and Sergio Leone (A Fistful of Dollars). Hill's grainy images and snail's pace suggest he's aiming for an instant classic to be shelved alongside those two greats. What he ends up with looks (and moves) a lot like Heaven's Gate, with frequent quotes from a contemporary action master, John Woo.

Bruce Willis clicks into monosyllabic mode as John Smith, a mysterious hired gun who drives into the dead-end border town of Jericho looking for a place to lie low. Instead, he lands in the middle of a shaky truce between two rival gangs -- the Italian Strozzis and the Irish Doyles, who each want Smith to help run their bootleg booze and rub out the opposing gang. Smith's plan is to play both sides against the middle until he is, as advertised, the last man standing.

This story worked well with Toshiro Mifune and Clint Eastwood, and yet it does not work with Bruce Willis, who has shown greater range than either of those effective but limited stars. Why? Perhaps because Hill has directed Willis to submerge his personality in tribute to the laconic icons Mifune and Eastwood. But a laconic Bruce Willis is less iconic than bionic.

Hill tries to spice up the movie with such dependable eccentrics as Bruce Dern (as a sheriff), David Patrick Kelly (as the Doyle gang's leader), William Sanderson (as a bartender), and Christopher Walken (as a spooky gunman). But Hill drowns them in trite tough-guy dialogue, and Willis himself labors under needless hard-boiled narration that obscures the film's one striking element: the score by Ry Cooder, whose work has graced some of Hill's best movies (Southern Comfort, especially).

And if you're looking for decent female characters, keep looking. That's to be expected from Hill, who here deals us two stereotypes from the usual sexist deck: the innocent who must be saved (Karina Lombard) and the whore who must be punished (Alexandra Powers). Judging from what happens to the whore, I'd say Hill has taken a page (and an ear) from Quentin Tarantino, who will probably gush that this is "a great movie." It isn't. Oh, how it wants to be. But this is an airless and humorless dud -- a folly that only a gifted director could have made.

The film chokes to death on Walter Hill's dusty artistry. Didn't he know that 'Last Man Standing' was already made a few years ago, faster and funnier and much cheaper, by Robert Rodriguez? It's called 'El Mariachi,' Walter. Rent it and weep.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=636&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/20/07 15:39:59
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User Comments

4/25/14 PAUL SHORTT ENERGETIC BUT BORING 2 stars
4/05/14 raouljohn Drama At It's Best. What A Hoot! 5 stars
2/23/14 Marta Silberberg This film is so bad 1 stars
7/20/12 Sean Harrison An underrated gem. 4 stars
12/21/11 green O not much in to action movies 4 stars
5/01/11 action movie fan decent drama and very good shootouts help this movie along 3 stars
2/06/07 AJ Muller Bruce is knocked-out cool and Walken's psycho; add Hill's action scenes, we got a winner. 4 stars
9/05/06 Sepi53 flop 1 stars
3/23/06 Sugarfoot I say this with great authority, the most boring movie Walter Hill has ever made. 1 stars
1/31/05 Gary One of the worst films I have ever seen! Laughable! 1 stars
9/26/04 Archanist_101 The action scenes were great... Pity the story wasnt the same! 3 stars
8/16/04 john bale Bruce the killing machine does a Clint Eastwood, albeit not as well. 3 stars
5/26/04 R.W. Welch Mundane mob flick mostly misfires. Quite unconvincing. 2 stars
1/26/04 Eric Pretty much A Fistful Of Dollars remake.Willis and Walken made it worth watching 3 stars
12/27/03 Monster W. Kung Terrible! Hollywood has no shame. 1 stars
11/27/03 John pointless movie that just drags on - rent YOJIMBO or FISTFUL OF DOLLARS instead 2 stars
6/22/03 AD not as bad as people said some good shootouts 3 stars
6/08/03 John Smith This movie is cool, Willis is a badass, and so is Chris Walken. 5 stars
3/19/03 Jack Sommersby You want to like it, but it's simply to uninvolving and derivative. 2 stars
7/11/02 KMG BOOOOORING! 2 stars
11/27/01 sdfr stylish and posturing Peckinpah / Kurosawa hybrid should entertain fans of the genre 3 stars
8/13/01 Mr. Hat Mr. Pink, I would agree with you if you would leave you comment at the 1st 2 words. 1 stars
6/15/99 Dylan A little under-rated maybe. It certainly has its flaws-but it has its good moments too. 3 stars
5/06/99 Lucas Jackson It is a remake,there is no Eastwood,but there is still blood,guts,bullets and violence 4 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Flawed? Absolutely! But not THAT bad. 3 stars
8/25/98 Pete Bah to remakes!! If studios wanna piss away money, at least do it on something new. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  20-Sep-1996 (R)

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