Le Dernier Combat

"Very Good"

Le Dernier Combat Review


In the wake of 1982's post-apocalyptic powerhouse The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) theaters were glutted with cheap imitations. Anyone with access to a desert, some leather, beaten up cars and a few prop guns could make a post-apocalyptic film. Theatergoers thrilled by the prospects of seeing another Road Warrior were suckered into bottom-of-the-barrel rip-offs like Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone and Warrior of the Lost World. But most missed Luc Besson's (La Femme Nikita) 1983 take on post-apocalyptic life.

Operatic, furious, and unrelenting, The Road Warrior is nearly devoid of humanity. It is a vision of a world where the only escape from maddening chaos is blinding speed - moving as fast as possible along a road with no ending, no future. And The Road Warrior captures that nihilistic bent wholly. Le Dernier Combat approaches the same chaos - civilization reduced to rubble, humanity profaned - and suggests that the only way out is order, not escape. Besson sees the same world but with a fanciful eye. (While Le Dernier Combat was begun in color, it is Besson's stunning use of B&W Cinemascope that lends the film its polished, big-budget look. The style is "cinema du look," vogue in the '80s relying heavily on aesthetics over depth, consumer fetishism and "window shopping.")

Le Dernier Combat begins with a man (writer Pierre Jolivet) building an ultra light plane and heading out into a vast wasteland to escape a band of murderous thugs. There he finds a desolate and crumbling city where he is attacked by a marauding brute (Jean Reno). Saved by a kindly doctor who lives amongst the ruins, the man soon learns that the brute is after something the doctor has: a woman locked away in a room beneath the debris.

Le Dernier Combat is most commonly remembered for the fact that there is only one line of dialogue in the entire film. According to the story, the atmosphere has changed so dramatically that human speech is no longer possible. But the audience isn't plunged into silence, Besson's long time collaborator Eric Serra delivers a jazzy electronic composition that slides and swirls around the film like an electric current. The effect can be startling, perhaps even aggravating, but it roots the picture. It gives it a sense of place that would otherwise be missing. The single line of dialogue in the film is so subtle, so stunningly presented, that it would be shame for me to give it away here.

Besson and Jolivet have said that film grew more out of an image of rubble seen in Paris than the post-apocalyptic movie cycle. What Besson delivers is not a roller-derby of car crashes and violence, sweat and oil, but a meditation of emptiness and decay. Besson presents the deserted city as a nostalgic treasure chest of 20th century living. There are few hidden dangers outside of the painful memories lurking in the odd bits of mechanical and consumerist ephemera. When a sudden storm shower delivers a rain of small fish, our hero dances about in the strange windfall agape at the uncanny nature of his world. There are a great many touches of humanity in Besson's wasteland and the film is all the more rewarding for it.

Aka The Last Battle.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 15 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th June 2011

Production compaines: Les Films du Loup

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as The Brute, as The Man, as The Doctor, as Captain, Christiane Krüger as Captain's Concubine, Maurice Lamy as Dwarf

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.