Thursday, 29 May 2008

Last Run

LAST RUN (2000)

Directed by: Anthony Hickox
Screenplay: Robert Syd Hopkins & Anthony Hopkins
Starring: Armand Assante, Jurgen Prochnow & Ornella Muti

The cold war thriller makes a pleasant if ultimately underwhelming return in Anthony Hickox’s slick though somewhat muddled action thriller. Hickox has always been an underappreciated director with genre blasts Full Eclipse and Federal Protection (also starring Assante) and cult horrors Waxwork and Lost in Time. Despite the often glowing reviews Last Run has received it pales in comparison to these other flicks though not through lack of trying.

Plot is somewhat confusing and occasionally meanders nowhere: something to do with Assante’s, who is on fine form, former government specialist coming out of retirement to do that inevitable ‘one last job.’ He must protect some kind of Eastern European official and get him to safety. This means Assante must recruit his old partners in crime, some who disappear during the mission with no explanation. The pace just seems off; never igniting like it usually does in many of Hickox’s other movies. He has a very distinctive style and glossy look that make the aforementioned films so enjoyable, but Last Run seems to be lacking this and despite good acting, never really engages in between the action.

The action, on the other hand, it what makes Last Run worthwhile. Fast moving, tense and featuring lots of firepower from guns fitted with huge silencers, the action is unique and always gripping. Flick has a surfeit of fast shootouts including a memorable and deftly shot shootout in a graveyard. The camera work is always fluid, giving the sense of momentum and mercifully not bogged down in close ups. Nice wide shots mean we get to see the stunts and action clearly. Special mention should also go to the fact the girls get in on the action as much as the guys, firing machine guns and diving out of harms way with skill. Always good to see the girls mixing it up in the action scenes.

So, not a bad a film but never as good as it ought to be or as entertaining as Hickox’s other work, which you should definitely check out if you get a chance. Still, catch Last Run for the game performances and the superior action if thrillers with a cold war flavour are your thing.

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