Last Man Standing (1996)

Directed by Walter Hill
Written by Walter Hill, based on Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa

Bruce Willis, Bruce Dern, Christopher Walken, William Sanderson, David Patrick Kelly, Ned Eisenberg, Karina Lombard, Alexandra Powers, Michael Imperioli, Ken Jenkins, RD Call, Ted Markland, Leslie Mann, Patrick Kilpatrick.

Gunslinger for hire John Smith (Willis), heads to the town of Jericho, on the border of Mexico and Texas during Prohibition era – and finds a war raging between two local mafias. There is the Irish, led by Doyle (Kelly) and his right hand man the frightening Hickey (Walken), and the Italian led by Strozzi (Eisenberg) and his cousin Giorgio (Imperioli). Soon Smith is playing both sides against each other – and trying to assist the town-folk, and the women claimed by both sides.

Fairly ordinary 90s action flick, that is more violent than it really needs to be. The action sequences are frequent and comically over the top at times, but credit where credit is due, they are very well choreographed and filmed well.

The mixture of genre in both neo noir and western in a little off putting, and slightly confusing. There is strong contrast between the cliché lighting in a noir esque type film, to the brightness of the outside world

Willis tries his hand at the 20’s archetype with the frequent narration – but it doesn’t really work with the mise-en-scene of the almost ghost town that is reminiscent of an 1880s set western. Willis is okay, but far from career best performances.

Some of the acting is either over the top characteristic in the performances, or simply laughable at how wooden they are. Walken’s Hickey who is frequently talked as being terrifying for before his introduction at the 35m mark does not come across as such. He is more cartoonish with a fake scar and a raspy voice, and even has a broken Irish accent at times.

The score by Ry Cooper, is dark and brooding, which matches the tone of the film at times, especially in the latter part of the film, but feels underused and un noticed at times.

Not the best film to come out of the 90’s, and by far one of the least impressive films I’ve seen from an impressive cast.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: