Thursday, 2 July 2009

The Last Marshall



THE LAST MARSHALL (1999)

Directed by: Mike Kirton
Written by: Mike Kirton & Scott Wiper
Starring: Scott Glenn, Constance Marie, Raymond Cruz and William Forsythe

The always reliable Scott Glenn (Hunt for Red October) gets a leading role in the low rent actioner, The Last Marshall. A solid cast and interesting premise are lost under a landslide of dreary dialogue and action movie cliches. Glenn plays rootin-tootin Texas US Marshall Cole McClary who is so obnoxious, hard headed and downright Southern, if you cut him in half he would bleed the Confederate flag. Literally just one step from being a KKK member, his tough guy persona gets him in trouble when a shoot-out goes wrong leaving a cop and priest dead and a woman hostage badly tortured. Broken but not beaten, McClary decides to take his Dixie loving ass to Miami to issue out his own brand of justice. But low and behold, Miami is a completely different place from McClary’s beloved Texas, meaning there is cause for a lot of unfunny and crude comments about faggots, Hawaiian shirts and ethnic minorities. Great!



The Last Marshall should have been, on paper at least, a good, gritty action thriller. Instead it is almost devoid of any entertaining value due to Glenn’s racist, bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic comments. He doesn’t like gays, Mexicans, Indians, any ethic minority and, seemingly, women. Glenn is a good actor and certainly goes at it with gusto in portraying McClary as a repulsive, disillusioned dinosaur. The fish out of water concept and McClary’s dated attitude were perhaps an attempt by the filmmakers to turn a once popular action persona on its head and show what a stupid human being Glenn’s character is. The supporting characters (all from ethic minorities or wearing Hawaiian shirts) do give him a run for his money, but the dialogue is not clever or witty enough. The actors struggle to rise above the cliches, rendering the film another sub standard 80s style action flick. Plus the fact that Glenn’s character completely changes his attitude half through because he starts fancying a woman is just an easy (and lazy) get out clause to make him likeable.

Unfortunately the action does not save proceedings either. Despite being directed by renowned stunt man and co-ordinator, Mike Kirton, The Last Marshall’s action scenes don’t cut the mustard. They are fairly brutal in nature and the boat/motorcycle chase is adequately exhilarating, but the action sequences on the whole are just sloppy and badly cut together. In addition, the usually value for money William Forsythe (The Rock) is hampered by a dodgy German accent but does provide a certain viciousness as the main bad guy.

The film is nicely shot and Kirton and co-writer, Scott Wiper (A Better Way To Die) do make a noble attempt to flesh the characters out. Yet this can’t save The Last Marshall from being another bog standard action vehicle that squandered its potential on risible dialogue and the constant need for all characters to swear every other word. SERIOUSLY, to make a tough action film, you do NOT need the characters swearing all the time. Fucking hell, will they ever learn?

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