Last Man StandingSeptember 20, 1996
A drifting gunslinger-for-hire finds himself in the middle of an ongoing war between the Irish and Italian mafia in a Prohibition era ghost town.
Release Year: 1996
Rating: 6.2/10 (25,486 voted)
Stars: Bruce Willis, Bruce Dern, William Sanderson
John Smith is an amoral gunslinger in the days of Prohibition. On the lam from his latest (unspecified) exploits, he happens upon the town of Jericho, Texas. Actually, calling Jericho a town would be too generous–it has become more like a ghost town, since two warring gangs have 'driven off all the decent folk.' Smith sees this as an opportunity to play both sides off against each other, earning himself a nice piece of change as a hired gun. Despite his strictly avowed mercenary intentions, he finds himself risking his life for his, albeit skewed, sense of honor….
Writers: Ryûzô Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa
Sheriff Ed Galt
David Patrick Kelly
Capt. Tom Pickett
If you lived in this town, you'd be dead by now.
Release Date: 20 September 1996
Filming Locations: Cook Ranch, Galisteo, New Mexico, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $7,010,331
(22 September 1996)
Did You Know?
This movie, like
A Fistful of Dollars, is a retelling of the story in
Yojimbo, which is itself based on Dashiell Hammett's 1927 novel "Red Harvest".
When Jacko slams the double doors shut on the room where the captured and beaten John Smith is being held the locks are visible on the John Smith side of the doors. Later the locks are shown, properly, on the opposite side.
It's a funny thing. No matter how low you sink there's still a right and wrong. You always end up choosing. You go one way so you can try to live with yourself. You go the other, you'd still be walkin' around, but you're dead and you don't even know it.
Unfairly trashed actioner from a master director
Plot summary: In a prohibition era update of Yojimbo, Bruce Willis
shoots a load of gangsters.
First off I will never understand why Walter Hill does not have a
better reputation. He's probably best known for his commercial success
with the 48 Hrs films, and his other brilliant features get criminally
overlooked. He scored a cult hit with "The Warriors", he delivered one
of the best westerns ever with "The Long Riders", and put all other car
chase movies to shame with the ultra cool "The Driver." As anyone who
has seen these films should realise, Hill should be mentioned in the
same breath as Peckinpah, Woo and Rodriguez when it comes to slow-mo
"Last Man Standing" doesn't rival these earlier works, but it is a
tough, gritty film with some fantastic shootouts. It doesn't hold
itself back in terms of blood and violence, something current US films
of the genre are guilty of doing. It has everything an action film
needs; tough antihero, loath able bad guys, a creepy main villain and
plenty of cannon fodder. As long as you don't get hung up on
technicalities (ie the guns fire ten times more ammo than they hold)
you should be entertained.
It doesn't feel like any effort went into the screenplay, but Hill adds
some nice touches to the film in terms of nods towards the source
material. I particularly like the opening where Bruce spins his empty
whisky bottle on the ground to decide which road to take; a clear
reference to Toshiro Mifune throwing a stick into the air to decide on
his path. There is also an interesting cast; there's earlier Hill
collaborator Bruce Dern (The memorable villain from The Driver),
William Sanderson (Blade Runner) and of course Christopher Walken, who
chews the scenery talking tough with his hoarse accent and threatening
people with a Tommy gun. His performance is really the most memorable
thing about the film. Willis is not Mifune or Eastwood, but he does
suit the mysterious drifter character well and this is one of his
better action man roles.
All things said, the film certainly doesn't come close to "Yojimbo",
but it does give the more rough hewn "Fistful of Dollars" a run for its
money. By no means a masterpiece, "Last Man Standing" should still
provide enough for any action fans tired of watered down mainstream
Hollywood nonsense that currently dilutes cinemas. It is certainly a
lot better than its reputation makes out.