April 14, 2008

DVD Review: Last Hour

Wow. If you want to see a bad movie, this will fit the bill. No, I am not talking about a so bad it's good" movie, I mean straight up claw out your eyes bad, that is if you can retain consciousness long enough to make it to the end. I swear it took me three attempts to get through this thing to the end. This is a movie that is beyond bad. If this was an independent movie with an amateur cast, I think I'd be willing to be a little easier on it, but this cast has enough recognizable names to counter that potentiality. Last Hour almost seems to have been made stream of consciousness style, with the "director" calling action and then letting the actors take the scene wherever they want, there's no need for a script. Perhaps this was meant to be the movie version of Whose Line is it, Anyway?

I cannot honestly say that I was expecting anything good from this, but I was, at the very least, hoping for something mildly fun. Here is the blurb that initially attracted me to it:

How would you react if three years after the death of your father, you
receive a letter signed by him inviting you to visit an abandoned house in the
middle of nowhere in China? Curious in nature, you decide to set off on this
adventure. Here's the snag, when you arrive in front of the house (which looks
more like a bunker), you realize that there are other visitors summoned as well.
Four guys show up with the same letter you have! All five characters, Monk,
Casino, Black Jack, Shang and Poker have something in common. All carry guns,
have dangerous reputations and are wanted by the police. Unexpectedly the door
to the house is opened by a mysterious woman and shortly after entering they
notice that they are all locked inside. The house is surrounded by police and
they can not escape the psychotic killer that wants to wipe them out. After
shocking plot twists and with a growing suspicion of each other, they come to
realize that they have only one hour to live!

Now, doesn't that sound like a fun set-up for a goofy movie? Sure it does! A bunch of card carrying, gun-toting psychopaths locked in a house with another killer while the police buzz around outside, how can that not be fun? It reminds me a bit of Albert Pyun's Mean Guns, which featured Christopher Lambert and Ice-T in an abandoned prison filled with weapons and other bad guys to go around and shoot, blended with John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13, with the forces outside that could come in at any moment. There is even a touch of Cube with the participants wondering who the others are and at least temporarily working together to find ut what is going on. Unfortunately, the execution of Last Hour doesn't come anywhere near those other films (and Mean Guns wasn't very good).

The movie opens with a series of clips introducing us to the major players in their natural element, playing cards, stealing jewels, and other criminal activities. Intercut with this are scenes of an older man about to testify about something is murdered, and David Carradine teams with Penelope Cruz's sister to set something up, although we never really know what.

All of the criminal players receive letters telling them to go to a bunker-like home in the middle of nowhere China. As they arrive they pull guns on each other and say things like: "Who the f--k's this fool?" A woman opens the door and they go inside, soon to be locked in.

Following the introductions the group start looking around the house, only to discover mementos they had received from their respective fathers. Then the weirdness kicks up a notch, the police mysteriously arrive outside and people inside start to die.

The rest of the plot is a moot point as there really isn't much to speak of. There are plenty of references to the letters, but nothing that is worth piecing together. We never learn of the connections between the police detective and out felons. There are a couple of flashbacks, but nothing that tells us of anything. And the killer? Well, he is like a ghost until he faces off in a kung-fu battle to the death with our resident Chinese felon. What is he doing in the house? No one knows.

When it comes to the performances, they are all equally atrocious. Michael Madsen plays Monk while wearing a hilarious mullet wig, while DMX shouts every other line. David Carradine is sleepwalking through the role, and why is Paul Sorvino here?

The movie, a French/Hong Kong co-production, was written and directed by Pascal Caubet, who also co-stars as Poker. It is his first outing and in my opinion, he needs to go back to the drawing board before he decides to make another one. When it comes to writing a story, please let it make sense and be sure to include all of the clues and details that the audience will need to put the puzzle together. This is something of a cinematic mad-lib where you need to make up the story as you go along to force the pieces into place. As for his directing? Well, it would help to include a sense of direction and not cut away to random shots with funky angles, and be sure to keep the outtakes as outtakes. I swear, there are a few scenes that look like actor goofs that somehow made it into the final cut.

I am willing to offer a little slack as it has come to my attention that this product is not Caubet's final cut, that cut ran ten minutes longer. Perhaps that is where all of the plot's connective tissue is. Still, I doubt there is enough there to make this a good movie. That also does not call into account the absolutely terrible dialogue dubbing. Listening to the soundtrack is akin to watching a bad kung-fu movie from the 1970's, nothing lines up, mouths move with no sound, nothing is synched, scenes cut in mid-sentence, and other amateurish anomalies. This doesn't even touch the change in film quality between cuts.

Audio/Video. The audio has both 2.0 and 5.1 tracks, believe me when I tell you that it matters not which one you listen to, they are both equally terrible. The widescreen video is of varying quality between cuts, more likely due to the source than the transfer. The transfer itself is not terribly sharp and in the shadows there is very little detail to be had.

Extras. None. There are a couple of trailers upon startup, but nothing else.

Bottomline. In short, this is not a movie that is worth your time unless you have some time to kill and like to punish yourself. There is no way to possibly defend this movie. I am sure someone will find something to like here and there, but if you like this movie, you have obviously not seen many movies or are blinded by your fandom for someone in the movie, or just want to try and stick up for it. There is no way around it, this is a bad movie. Period.

Not Recommended.


Anonymous said...

I'm Kobé. This is not my cut at all. This is a big fake version made by the Chinese Co-Producer. They just stole the masters and made this crap. It's horrible to be in my situation. I'm in big justice trouble with them. The original one is 10 times better in any ways. I can send you mu cut made in France if you want. At least I can have a little bit of my credibility back. Let me know.


Post a Comment