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The Last Warrior

review by Anthony D.


Studio: Artisan Home Entertainment

Running Time: 99 minutes

Starring Dolph Lundgren, Sherri Alexander, Joe Michael Burke, Rebecca Cross

Written by Stephen J. Brakely and Pamela K. Long

Directed by Sheldon Lettich

Retail Price: $24.98

Features: Trailer, Production Notes, Cast and Crew Information

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Closed Captions, Chapter Selection (34 Chapters)

A great chef can take diverse source elements and create an enticing new entree; unfortunately, however, a film director can also take various source elements from a couple of writers but come up with something not fit for human consumption. They say that too many cooks spoil the brew, sometimes it takes a crew of writers and one director to muddle the movie. Case in point, director Sheldon Lettich's "The Last Warrior," being released (from God knows where) by Artisan Home Entertainment.


The main ingredient star-wise, is the square-jawed, bountifully buffed Dolph Lundgren, who talent was used far better in a cameo role in a Keanu Reeves movie, "Johnny Pneumonic." Cast as a sorta "Rambo" wannabe, Lundgren is supported by a cast of unknowns whose reputations shouldn't suffer any losses by their appearances herein. I'll not add insult to injury by naming names.

"The Last Warrior," which incidentally is known by several other names (i.e.,"The Last Patrol"), tires unsuccessfully to meld elements from "Demolition Man" with its futuristic prisons; "Rambo" with its renegade Marine, " "Dante's Peak" with its apocalyptic special effects, "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" with its desert settings, which would be right at home on an early episode of TV's "Star Trek;" and, believe it or not, a nod to "Waterworld" with a urine drinking scene!

A film so full of subplots that its ninety-five minute running time feels more like twelve hours, could have made for a great Friday Night Bad Movie Fest, offers nothing original to the action genre. The central plot concerns the Island of California following a 9.5 Richter rumbling earthquake that had finally broken The Golden State off the map. A rag-tag band of citizens have gathered at a warfare junkyard ("Terminator 2: Judgement Day") to find food, shelter and a cure for an insidious plague. On top of all of that, there's the shifting axis of the earth, mutations, a pseudo-religiosity and private prisons (see also "Escape from New York" and "Escape from L.A.").

Director Lettich, whose Claude van Damme "Double Impact" I actually enjoyed, is forced to use meaningless voice overs to try to tidy up the plot, and like the original cut of "Blade Runner," these noir-inspired narrations only add to the confusion foisted un him by the writers. Nick Preston (Lundgren), a former mercenary with a chip on his shoulder, along with a group of desert denizens group together to find the necessities of life following a cataclysmic earthquake; and to fight for a cure for a bubonic type plague, using whatever wits they have left. The movie never really feels like it was directed, rather it seems that it was written, photographed and acted by committee.

In spite of a widescreen trailer, "The Last Warrior" has been presented in a full-frame transfer with no neck-breaking panning and scanning. Detail is sharp, though the picture is on the bright side. Special effects have that certain "made-for-television" look, recalling the early limited budget days of "The X Files." This is very clean transfer, which keeps the fleshtones accurate, even during its gratuitous shower scene.

An effective Dolby two-channel Dolby Digital soundtrack is included. For better or for worse, that which passes as dialogue is clear and intelligible. The bass response is quite good, with more than adequate sub-woofer action. Explosions occur with well-produced, effective sound effects. Dialogue, as if we really wanted to hear it, is clear, concise and rendered intelligible.

A widescreen trailer is offered in the Special Features which is a great example of marketing: the two minutes of action in the trailer make the movie seem to be one hundred percent better than it actually is. If I had seen this preview before seeing the movie, I would have put "The Last Warrior" onto a "might want to see" list. Text pages incorporate the Cast and Crew and Production Notes, so that viewers might have a better idea of those responsible for the film. I have to toss kudos Artisan's way for the abundant amount of Chapters available; for a film running ninety-five minutes, there are an astounding thirty-four chapters - - thus approximating one chapter every three minutes!

A better film boasted, "The Coast is Toast," however with "The Last Warrior," popcorn should definitely be on the menu. Take "The Last Warrior" out for a test drive with a rental, gather around with a few good friends (or even a few enemies for that matter) and catch up with the sagging career of Dolph Lundgren.

(2/5 - NOT included in final score)




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