Last Man Standing 8/10
Last Man Standing (R) 1996
Reviewer’s Tilt (9)
Special DVD Features worth a look-None
I can just see the producer “Write me a screenplay where Bruce Willis is a gangster, and there are about fifty other gangsters, and there is only one man standing at the end . . . oh yeah and did I mention, throw in some gratuitous violence” This cannot be far off the mark. If you are looking for a deep story, sets that match the time period, plausible gunplay or true romance, you have come to the wrong place. The story takes place in Jericho, Texas during prohibition. Besides the undertaker, the barkeep, the sheriff and a girl, the only other people in town are two rival gangs comprising about two dozen baddies each. Apparently, all decent folk jus up’n left. The gangs stand at a shaky truce until decidedly indecent John Smith (Bruce Willis) rolls into town. Smith decides to play the gangs against one another and roll out of town with all their money. Things go a little off kilter, however, when Smith fails to consider basic human compassion in his calculations. What follows is a dark, dusty tale of a tainted hero, doing what heroes do best.
Although the film claims to be loosely based upon Akira Kurosawa's 1961 Yojimbo (which also served as the basis for Sergio Leone's 1964 A Fistful of Dollars) Last Man Standing has neither the story, nor the acting of either of its predecessors. What it does have is cajones, big ones. Willis kills more guys in this movie than in all three Die Hards combined. Christopher Walken turns in his trademark psychopathic gangster role, Michael Imperioli impresses as the son of a Chicago mafia boss sent to keep an eye on things and Bruce Dern plays a great local sheriff paid to keep his eyes closed and his gun in his holster. The remainder of the acting is mediocre at best. If you are looking for a real story and great cinema, this is not your movie. If you are looking for a mindless shoot-em-up, however, it does not get much better
Format: Color, Widescreen anamorphic, Closed captioned.
Sound: (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo),
Extras: Making-of featurette, production notes, trailer(s)