Tag Archives: dead

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.

Advertisements

BACK FROM THE DEAD

Well, I seem to be dying more than I should…

If I remember correctly, it’s been something like two and a half weeks since my Transformers post.  While poor for my posting schedule, it was a non-issue as no major movies were released until three days ago and the books I read weren’t bestsellers of any sort.  So, what have I been doing with this incredible amount of free time?

First major event was the Bataan Death March.  (Immediately upon writing this, it seems necessary to disclose that I’m not trying to offend any cultures.  It’s a saying in my family that, whenever somebody recreationally hurts themself in an activity, they’re reenacting the Bataan Death March.) 

A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to go on a backpacking trip and persuaded Ed that he did as well.  So, we planned to go on the Wednesday that I last posted.  However, Ed was ill and we didn’t get back from the movie until about three in the morning.  Backpacking on three or four hours of sleep would have been murder, so we postponed it a day.  Thursday morning, I picked up Ed at seven twenty that morning.  We stopped at Winchell’s for coffee and donuts, and then drove to Will Rogers State Park.  We began the Backbone Trail with heavy packs and high spirits.  Sadly, the high spirits would not last.  Within a few miles, Ed was stumbling on the steep inclines.  His legs would cramp and we’d pause for a few minutes until the heat forced us to press on.  Despite the pauses, I have to applaud Ed’s persistence.  On multiple occasions, I offered to turn around and end the hike, but Ed never opted to return. 

About six hours after we began our hike, we made it to Musch Camp, where we’d be spending the night.  After unrolling the bed rolls, we just napped for a few hours before actually setting up camp.  We’d have probably spent the night on the ground had it not been for the annoying insects.  So, we set up the tents, ate spam sandwiches, and went to bed around eight.  Sadly, I grew paranoid and stayed up for another three hours listening to a myriad of frightening sounds. 

I woke around eight, washed up, and drank some water.  I asked Ed how he was feeling and whether he thought he’d be able to do the ten-mile hike back.  He told me that he probably couldn’t, so I told him to sit tight and I’d bring the car.  I grabbed a bottle of water (big mistake) and a Power Bar, and began the hike back.  In twenty minutes, I passed the group of women that had walked through our camp ten minutes before I left.  Within an hour, I’d covered about three miles, For day two, it was great time, but I was beginning to feel the wear I’d done to my body the day earlier.  By the end of the second hour, I was more than halfway through the hike, but I was drinking too quickly for the single bottle to sustain me and I was beginning to limp.  Three hours after I started, the limp was pronounced, my sunburns were setting in painfully, and I was nearly out of water. 

Thankfully, after three hours and ten minutes, I hobbled through the Will Rogers parking lot to a drinking fountain and hung my head in the stream for what seemed like ages.  Eventually though, I pulled away, filled my bottle, and hobbled to the car.  I put in drive and rolled down the hill to the Pacific Coast Highway.  After about a half hour, I turned off the highway and began driving up a winding canyon road.  This road shrunk into nearly one lane before I entered the Trippet Ranch parking lot.  But I parked my car there, hobbled out, and hiked the mile to Musch camp.  I met up with Ed, we grabbed our bags, and hiked back to the car.  When we got there, I tossed him the car keys, and he drove us back home.  We parted at his house, after a brief lunch at Subway’s, and I drove back to my house alone. 

I got out of the car and limped inside to find my dad.  We assessed my injuries and I got a stern talking to regarding skin cancer.  In the end, my ears had blistered and hardened from the burns, the back of my neck had literally charred from the burns, and my feet were bleeding from torn blisters.  Despite this, I felt victorious.  After a shower, I fell back on my couch and consciousness left me.

The second major event, which I’ll only briefly describe, was a family trip to Cancun, Mexico.  I left the night of Frday, July 8, and arrived the next morning.  For the first two days, we just relaxed around the pool or on the beach and ate at local restaurants.  Monday and Tuesday were spent earning our SCUBA dive certifications after four dives and a bit of skills work.  On Wednesday, we rested and celebrated my father’s birthday.  Thursday, we visited to ruins at Tulum, and played at a park called Xel Ha.  That night, we received our PADI SCUBA certification papers and temporary cards.  (Sometime soon, I’ll mail in the paperwork and receive a lifetime certification card with my picture on it.)  On Friday, we went souvenir shopping at the local bazaar (open market), where I purchased a cast Mayan calendar and, to keep up with my tradition, a litre of Xtabentun.  Saturday morning, we left Cancun and, after about twenty hours of travelling, returned home.

I plan on posting a late review of the latest Harry Potter film, later on this evening.  As a huge fan of the books a decade ago, I know that I’ll have qualms with the film.  To be fair, I’ll probably write the review in two parts, one being an objective assessment of the film, and the other as a fan of the novels.

%d bloggers like this: