Dungeon Classics #7: Last Man Standing

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

Last Man Standing (1996, USA)

Director: Walter Hill
Cast: Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, David Patrick Kelly, Ned Eisenberg
Running Time: 101 mins.

The story of Last Man Standing – in which a mercenary arrives in a small town and hires himself to two rival gangs – has been told before. The original Yojimbo (1961) is a samurai movie. And the remake A Fistful of Dollars (1964) a spaghetti western. Both are absolute classics. Last Man Standing is not, but hey! This is still a cult favorite. In this version, the setting is a dusty mexican bordertown during the prohibition where two gangs of violent bootleggers are fighting a bloody war. The rough gunslinging drifter Willis (named John Smith) arrives and starts playing both sides off against one another, earning himself a nice payday for his efforts. But the play is not without personal danger. Plus, he starts helping two dames who are hooked up with the gangs’ leaders. Pretty soon, the town turns into a bullet festival, so Smith can display his incredible gun skills. The heavy action that follows is perfectly directed by Hill. Add to this a fine selection of actors, including a creepy Christopher Walken, and you have an irresistible action movie on your hands.

Dungeon Classics #6: Escape from L.A.

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

Escape from L.A. (1996, USA)

Director: John Carpenter
Cast: Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Stacy Keach
Running Time: 101 mins.

In 2013, an earthquake has separated a ruined L.A. from the rest of the United States. This is now the place where the government – which is run by a religious nutcase – sends their outcasts and prisoners. When the daughter of the president is kidnapped by a Che Guevara-like revolutionary, the eye-patch wearing Snake Plissken is send to retrieve her from Los Angeles. Turns out, the daughter stole a secret weapon – the Doomsday Device – that America can use to destroy its enemies, or vice versa. As soon as our cynical hero, played by the terrific Kurt Russell, arrives in L.A. it is non stop action delivered with a big smile. Carpenter and his team obviously had fun coming up the inventive set pieces, like the Hollywood sign on fire. The colorful cast of supporting characters Snake meets on his journey, includes some of the finest cult actors and actresses: Peter Fonda, Valeria Golino, Bruce Campbell, Steve Buscemi and Pam Grier. A bleak vision on the future of America that is over-the-top, but – amazingly – still rings true in a sense.

Dungeon Classics #5: Escape from Absolom

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

Escape from Absolom (1994, USA)

Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Ray Liotta, Lance Henriksen, Stuart Wilson
Running Time: 114 mins.

Actually, this movie – also known as No Escape – is not that good. But it’s childhood nostalgia and has a few things going for it. Ray Liotta is a great actor for starters. And the costumes, that remind of Mad Max, are awesome. In the year 2022 (close now) all US prisons are run by private enterprises (sounds realistic enough). Liotta’s character is a marine who has shot and killed his commanding officer. He is shipped off to a desolated island where there are no guards and no walls; convicts run the show. There are two camps: the barbaric outsiders and the more civilized insiders. Liotta joins the later. He has escape on the brain constantly… but first, there is some fighting that needs to be done. From the producers of Aliens and The Terminator, the tagline promises. No, it’s not that good, but like I said: sweet memories.

Dungeon Classics #4: The Quick and the Dead

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

The Quick and the Dead (1995, USA / Japan)

Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio
Running Time: 107 mins.

One of the my favorite movies! It’s just so damn entertaining. The story is about a sexy, female gunslinger (Sharon Stone) riding into the town of redemption to take revenge on local boss Herod (Gene Hackman). To do this, she has to enter a fast-draw contest in which the odds of surviving are about 3,2 percent. Five reasons I LOVE this movie:
1. The direction by Sam Raimi is top of the line. Never did he deliver more style and razzle-dazzle.
2. The camerawork. Every shot and angle is a little masterpiece. The gunfights are all shot in incredibly inventive ways.
3. The main cast and supporting cast are terrific. The chemistry and tension between Stone, Hackman, Crowe and DiCaprio is magnetic. And the supporting actors, gunfighters mostly, are hard, no impossible to forget.
4. The beautiful score by Alan Silvestri.
5. Some of the duels are the greatest scenes I’ve ever seen. This movie is scandalously underrated.