Last Man Standing

Details At A Glance

Category Action Theatrical Trailer(s) 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Running Time 101 minutes Commentary Tracks None
RSDL/Flipper No/No Other Extras Cast Biographies
Cast Interviews
Region 4    
Distributor Roadshow Home Entertainment    
RRP $34.95    

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (MPEG 5.1)
English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles None    

Plot Synopsis

    Last Man Standing is set in the small town of Jericho in America, near the Mexican border, during the era of prohibition. John Smith (Bruce Willis) drives into this near-deserted town, and discovers that there are two moonshine gangs fighting for control of the town, the Strozzi gang and the Doyle gang.

    John quickly falls foul of the Doyle gang by eyeing up Doyle's woman, Felina (Karina Lombard), and they vandalize his car. He turns this to his advantage by killing the man who instigated this, and then joining the other gang, the Strozzi gang, led by Fredo Strozzi (Ned Eisenberg). John figures that there is money to be made by playing the two gangs one against each other, which he proceeds to do, alternately feeding information from one gang to another, at a price, of course.

    The gang wars escalate, and it appears as if John will be the "Last Man Standing" but we learn of his only weakness, which is that he cannot stand to see women mistreated, and he takes it upon himself to liberate the town's women. Letting Felina escape back to Mexico nearly proves to be his undoing, however he finds some unexpected allies in the town's sheriff, Sheriff Ed Golt (Bruce Dern) who initially appeared impotent to change the situation in the town, but rallies towards the end, and Joe Monday (William Sanderson), the town's barkeep.

Transfer Quality


    This is an excellent DVD transfer, right up there with the better Columbia Tristar transfers in quality. There were a very few small artefacts, but nothing of great significance. The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was razor sharp at all times. Shadow detail was excellent, which was important in this movie, as the cinematography shows a lot of scenes which are either low lit, or have a significant amount of shadow in them. These were all rendered superbly.

    The colour was well rendered. If anything, they were perhaps a bit muted, but I would say that this is how the movie was shot rather than any specific problem with the transfer.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. A few film-to-video artefacts were seen, but not very many. There was a very small amount of aliasing - the worst offender being the first scene in the bar where some aliasing is seen at the bottom of the saloon door, but this was hardly noticeable. I also noted two very brief vertical skips in the transfer which were just barely noticeable. There were a few film artefacts, perhaps a few more than could be expected in a 1997 film, but they were not at all distracting.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default audio is English MPEG 5.1 channel audio. Also present on the DVD is a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (which I listened to). The soundtrack was encoded at quite a high level, a little higher than I am used to with 5.1 soundtracks, but not so much that I had to back off my usual settings.

    Dialogue was pretty much always completely clear and intelligible except for the odd line here and there amidst action sequences.

    The musical score was composed by Ry Cooder and was frequently present, underscoring the action. It was a very strident-sounding track, which suited the mood of the film. There were a number of Mexican-sounding songs as well included in the soundtrack.

     The surround channels were used for occasional ambience, such as during a thunderstorm, and to enhance the action sequences, and also to enhance the music. The soundtrack was enveloping at times, and at other times was up front and centre. The action sequences were enhanced extremely well by the soundtrack.

    The .1 channel was used to enhance the music and to underscore the action sequences. It was particularly effective at underpinning the action sequences. There is a lot of gunfire in this soundtrack, and you can feel all of the gunshots rather than just hear them, which is the way it should be.


    There are number of extras on this DVD.

    The theatrical trailer is present, presented in a 4:3 windowboxed aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, with an MPEG audio track only (no Dolby Digital soundtrack). This sounded mono.

    A 4 minute untitled featurette, which is essentially an expanded theatrical trailer with interspersed cast and crew clips, gives a little insight into the characters that comprise the movie. This is also presented 4:3 windowboxed 16x9 enhanced and with only an MPEG soundtrack.

    Cast biographies for Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, and Karin Lombard are present.

    Finally, interview snippets are present - much like Die Hard 3. Just like Die Hard 3, each menu option gives about 20 - 30 seconds of interview and then you are returned to the menu to select another interview topic. The range of topics is limited, and there is probably a total of about 4 minutes of footage in this section. It would have been better presented as an extended sequence. These are also presented at an aspect ratio of 4:3 windowboxed 16x9 enhanced and with an MPEG soundtrack only.

    As always, Village tend to put a few more extras on their DVDs compared with Columbia Tristar and Warner Brothers, but the extra info is quite limited in this case.


    I enjoyed Last Man Standing reasonably well. It steps above the usual action genre picture because John Smith is not invincible, and usually doesn't kill 17 people with only one bullet, and is not necessarily a totally good guy. Having said this, the action sequences are very graphically violent and intense. I found the overall story and premise reasonably entertaining, and would hold up to several viewings. The audio is quite impressive at times, especially during the action sequences.

    The video quality is very good, except for a few trivial glitches. It is near reference quality.

    The audio quality is generally very good, especially during action sequences, but was not quite as enveloping as I would have liked at other times.

Ratings (out of 5)


Michael Demtschyna
20th November 1998

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer