French Director Luc Besson's Definitive Sci-fi Cult Classic
B.C. Scribe | Brooklyn Center, MN USA | 12/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Owing perhaps a little to the earlier and very influential 'The Road Warrior', Besson's film is a minor masterpiece in its own right. Despite a few apparent flaws and an ending that is a little too happy, Besson and the film's star Pierre Jolivet have crafted a unique view of one person's survival in a brutal post-apocalyptic world.'Le Dernier Combat' presents a believably dead world where a few humans struggle to survive and even fewer retain a sense of humanity. The director fills the movie with striking imagery that grabs your attention and doesn't ever let go. At one point during a rainstorm it begins to downpour fish; later during another rainstorm two of the film's characters get caught in a hailstorm of rocks! Scenes such as the very unusual opening shot, Jolivet drowning his sorrows with several bottles of liquor, his escape on a makeshift glider and many others never leave the memory once viewed. My personal favorite: two of the characters share a bottle of wine at dinner and, as is the civilized custom, each takes a sip from their glass and nod approvingly; cut immediately to an empty wine bottle balanced on a pedestal that someone is using as a target to hone their skills with a sword. It provides a brilliant parallel between the two types of people struggling against each other here. What sets 'Le Dernier Combat' apart from others in the post-apocalyptic film genre is the fact that there is no dialogue spoken at all. Contrary to the criticism that it is a novelty, instead the absence of dialogue draws you into the movie, helping you become intimately connected to the survivors and sharing their experiences as if they were your own. Moments of suspense, despair, isolation, melancholy, elation, defeat and great joy are all conveyed superbly by the cast without the benefit of speaking. There is a singular moment where two of the characters say "Hello" to one another with the aid of what I believe is helium, but beyond that you won't hear a word spoken in this film.Most deserving of it's cult status, the movie is best seen on the big screen due to it's being filmed in CineScope. The DVD release from Columbia Tristar is presented in widescreen and it is an absolutely clean and error free copy that will please any fan of 'Le Dernier Combat'. Though Luc Besson has had many other film successes since this was released in 1983 this one gets my vote for his best."
Unique science fiction
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 11/15/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film, Luc Besson's first, is a fascinating work: originally released in 1983, it's black and white, and with almost no dialogue until close to the end of the film. In the near future, buildings are mere rubble, and the few people who are left (mostly) cannot speak. The lead male actor, Pierre Jolivet, who also co-wrote the script, wanders around searching for--something, anything that will let him connect to what remains of humanity. While some may say this is a pointless exercise, I disagree. What would you do given those circumstances? The obvious retort to that question is, Yes, I understand, but why make that into a film? The answer: because it DOES capture the imagination of the viewer. Close to the end of the film, Jolivet finds more than he had dared to think possible. And you know this is true because you can feel, through his gestures and actions, through the course of the film, what he feels, where his head is. And where his heart is. Those he meets, too, are looking for the answer to--why are we still alive? What are we doing here, anyway? And when one of them finds another, Who are you? And who am I to you?The translation of the film is The Last Battle--to discover these who's and why's. What these survivors are fighting is the easy but ultimately fatal way out of becoming as desolate, as isolated as a single piece of rubble each of them roams around in.I won't give anything away about the ending, but let's say that, cliched as it sounds, hope springs eternal. The manner in which this message is conveyed is far from cliched. It's a great ending to a captivating film."
Luc Besson's first and one of his best
David Clapp | TN USA | 07/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Le Dernier Combat" takes place in a grim post-apocalyptic future and is Luc Besson's first feature. Even though it won a lot of praise from critics, it has rarely if ever been available in the U.S. If you like Besson, read the history of this outstanding film and buy it. (Columbia will also be releasing a new edition of "Subway.")"