Tag Archives: bruce willis

MORE DEAD MOBSTERS THAN I HAVE STICKS TO SHAKE AT (LAST MAN STANDING – 1996)

DENIZENS OF THE INTERNET, I AM NOT DEAD!  Contrary to popular opinions circulating through the tubes, I was not killed nor taken political prisoner by the head intelligence agency of Chile.  I repeat, I was "not" taken political prisoner by the central intelligence agency of Chile.  Okay, so maybe I was.  It wasn’t that bad.  Turns out they have Netflix.  (I don’t think they’re subscribed to Qwikster though.)  And so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last week or so.

What does that mean?  Well, that I was unable to see Moneyball last Friday.  However, barring any unforeseen complications (like foreign governments or my employers), I’ll likely see that and/or 50/50 this weekend.

So, with the very generous Chilean government’s Netflix account, I’ve been catching a bunch of B-movies or one that are about a decade or older.  Last Man Standing is a bit of both.  Well, it really is both of those things.  Still, I managed to watch it from beginning to end. 

Basically, this is your everyday mobster-western-detective-(color)noir-action film.  Nothing really new here.  Bruce Willis rolls into the dusty town of Jordan and proceeds to turn two rival gangs, the Americans and the Italians, against each other.  In the process, All but five characters die (two of which leave town) and we’re left with a bloodied Willis essentially leaving after having finished his business.  All together, the film is the cinematic version of pulp fiction (cheap books, not the movie).  Still, there are a few things to point out:

THE GOOD

Christopher Walken.  Let me start by saying that he is probably the greatest actor of all time.  Regardless of what role he plays, be it comedic or horrifying, my suspense of disbelief is negligible, allowing me to enjoy the spectacle as if it’s true.  In this particular role, Walken plays a sociopathic ginger, unseen in the first half of the film for which we only know what’s been said of him.  According to virtually every citizen of Jordan, he’s a monster.  In the second half of the film, we actually get to view this beast and recognize that a quiet exterior is broken by insanity which, in itself, is interspersed with moments of bright rationality.  Altogether, he is by far the most interesting character, entertaining even to his death.

THE BAD

The film starts out dry (it’s funny because it’s a western… yes, I’m ashamed of myself) with Willis driving through the desert and then getting into town where his car is broken by some thugs.  It’s pretty boring until he decides to return the favor and kills one of the American mobsters.  Then it’s ninety minutes of killing, shooting, and burning.  While it certainly eliminates the original dryness and provides for the action-seeking demographic, it grows stale rather quickly.

THE UGLY

Narration.  I get it.  It’s a staple of detective-noir films because it let’s the detective show off his wit and use of not-so-clever similes.  Still, there’s a limit to everything and this film certainly exceeds it.  It’s not an issue of poorly written monologues (I’d destroy a genre if I wanted to write about that).  The issue was that, much like our creative writing teachers told us, you want to show the audience instead of telling them.  While we certainly get a show in this film (enough fire and blood to fulfill any hunger for violence I had that night), the constant narration of the events that just transpired or the monotonous revelations of supposed emotions that pass behind the unchanging exterior.  (I secretly added that Willis’s acting was miserable, whether by writing or execution, he has no emotion.)

FINAL THOUGHTS

There’s not much to this film despite the genres it crosses.  It’s an interesting cast playing underdeveloped characters in a story that could have been far more entertaining had it not been executed so monotonously. 

Still, if you’re bored one evening and feel like watching a western town, whose sole existence is to house and fund the operations of two mobs, be torn to shreds by bullets uncountable, or if you’d like to see a sociopathic ginger Christopher Walken, this film might not be a terrible way to spend an hour and forty minutes.

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