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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4%
Worth A Look: 20%
Pretty Bad: 24%
Total Crap: 24%

4 reviews, 26 user ratings

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Last Man Standing
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by Brian McKay

"I'm surprised they didn't call it 'Yo, Jimbo'"
3 stars

Take a far superior Samurai film, directed by Kurosawa and starring Toshiro Mifune. Then, remake it virtually scene by scene, only change the setting from feudal Japan to 1930's Texas. Replace the brash and brilliant Toshiro with a muttering, squinting Bruce Willis, then take away the katanas and give everyone .45's. Finally, add a higher body count, but remove most of the wit and clever dialogue, and you get "Last Man Standing"

Let me start off by saying that although it sure as hell isn't as good as "Yojimbo" (Japanese for "The Bodyguard"), and it is in no way classifiable as a "good" movie in most senses of the word, I still like it. Maybe it's because I like prohibition-era gangster stories, although the gangsters in this one are so goddamned stupid that most of them don't even make interesting targets.

At any rate, Willis plays "John Smith", a mystery man on the run from persons unknown who just happens to be passing through Jericho. The place is nearly empty, except for two warring gangster groups who have taken up residence on opposite ends of town. The only reason they are there is because Jericho is a smuggling point for bringing in illegal hooch from Mexico. The gangs (one Irish, the other Italian) share an uneasy truce, until Smith decides to play both ends against the middle. It starts when some of the Irish thugs smash up his car. When they refuse to pay for damages, he kills a few of them, instantly gaining a reputation in the tiny town as a stone cold killer. Naturally, rather than kill him, both gangs keep trying to outbid each other to hire him, thinking his gunfighting skills will give them the edge. Meanwhile, Smith's manipulations end up getting more men on both sides killed, and he finds himself in much deeper than he expected.

The supporting cast of thugs, though composed of several recognizable character actors, is mostly forgettable. The exception is Christopher Walken as "Hickey", an enforcer for the Irish with a wickedly scarred face. He also has some of the best lines, like when Smith says "I hear you're the best shooter they've got here," and he replies "Nah, just the best looking."

Without all the humor and clever dialouge to propel the story along, it becomes a plodding exercise in sitting through Smith's next stratagem to make some money off of the warring gangs until the next gunfight comes along to liven things up. The action scenes themselves are fun to watch as Willis two-fisting a pair of .45's, mows down everyone in sight. However, the battles are not terribly convincing since, as in most Hollywood gunfights, the bad guys can't hit a goddamn thing. If lots of shooting and a high body count is your thing, you'll probably enjoy it. However, you'd find a John Woo movie or a game of "Max Payne" much more exciting.

The acting is either too over the top, or too subdued. While the mob guys are always screaming like maniacs about something, Willis himself mumbles through his lines and narrative as if he'd just rolled out of bed. Sometimes the narrative is interesting or funny, but usually it just drags the story (such as it is) down. The female characters are as uninteresting as the thugs, since they are all either whores or damsels awaiting rescue (usually both).

This movie is a time-filler, something you can have on in the background while you're doing something else, and can glance at whenever the shooting starts. If you want to see the story done right, rent "Yojimbo". If you can't to muster up enough attention to read subtitles, or just want to hear the sounds of gunfire and bodies hitting the floor, then this is more your speed.

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originally posted: 11/27/01 05:13:44
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User Comments

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
7/21/12 Sean Harrison An underrated gem. 4 stars
12/21/11 green O not much in to action movies 4 stars
5/02/11 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
3/24/06 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
9/27/04 Archanist_101 The action scenes were great... Pity the story wasnt the same! 3 stars
8/17/04 john bale Bruce the killing machine does a Clint Eastwood, albeit not as well. 3 stars
5/27/04 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
12/28/03 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
6/23/03 AD not as bad as people said some good shootouts 3 stars
6/09/03 John Smith This movie is cool, Willis is a badass, and so is Chris Walken. 5 stars
3/20/03 Jack Sommersby You want to like it, but it's simply to uninvolving and derivative. 2 stars
7/12/02 KMG BOOOOORING! 2 stars
11/27/01 sdfr stylish and posturing Peckinpah / Kurosawa hybrid should entertain fans of the genre 3 stars
8/14/01 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
5/07/99 Lucas Jackson It is a remake,there is no Eastwood,but there is still blood,guts,bullets and violence 4 stars
11/27/98 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
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  20-Sep-1996 (R)



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