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Friday, September 2, 2011

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 92 - Last Man Standing (1996)

Akira Kurosawa is arguably the greatest filmmaker who ever lived.  Walter Hill is no Kurosawa.  He directed a lot of Schlock in the 90s and is one of the most predictably mediocre filmmakers who ever lived.  So what do you get when a weak director picks up a remake of Kurosawa's Yojimbo?  Well, you get a prohibition-era-themed shooting gallery caught on film.

What plot there is follows a lone gun who enters a town where two groups are fighting and plays the gangs against eachother.  John Smith (even the name is dreadfully mediocre), played by Bruce Willis, arrives in this almost-abandoned town and finds that it is occupied almost entirely by thugs from two warring gangs.  Willis exploits this by getting paid by both gangs to fight between them.  Even the plot takes away with it only the simplest understanding of what Yojimbo was actually about, and even that simple understanding seems a little skewed, but that’s probably just because this movie sucks, and Kurosawa never made a bad film.

In this insanely dumb movie, nameless and faceless bad  guys pop up, get shot, then fall down.  This cycle repeats over and over and is peppered with some really stupid dialogue.  One such example has a bad guy approaching star Bruce Willis, ready for a gun fight. "I guess you'll just have to kill me."  Willis removes his jacket and in a strange sort of schoolyard tone replies with "It'll hurt if I do."

Last Man Standing has so little appeal that it falls beneath mediocre into the realm of terrible.  In the previous year, we saw Bruce Willis in Die Hard With a Vengeance.  The year after, we got the cult film The Fifth Element.  These were two entertaining films that show Bruce Willis was not yet beyond his action movie years.  Therefore, I have no idea what happened with Last Man Standing, and I’m not really sure if there was hope for this one at conception.

This is a face palm movie.  It is so silly and so badly directed that you can actually smell the shame as it radiates from the screen.  It has some “bad laughs”, but it’s not quite bad enough to be so-bad-it’s-good.  Most of the film hangs there and the action is just weak and uninteresting.  I think the film tried tried to make some sort of connection to The Untouchables, another movie Hill tried to rip off here, but he failed on that count as almost as much as he did while trying to steal from Kurosawa.  An idiotic shooter that basically boils down to violence for violence’s sake, Last Man Standing was a true disaster that would have tainted the legacy of one of the greatest films ever made, if anyone remembered it existed.  

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