Last Man Down Art

Last Man Down (2021) Review

Last Man Down opens with a large, bearded man named John Wood (Daniel Stisen, Rise of the Footsoldier 3, The Siege) tied to a chair while being interrogated by an even larger man, Commander Stone (Daniel Nehme, Redirected, Hard Tide). Stone also has a gun aimed at Wood’s wife. Unfortunately, John really doesn’t have the answers Stone wants.

Three years later, John has retreated into the woods, leaving what’s left of a pandemic-stricken world behind. His solitude is broken when Maria (Olga Kent), an escaped test subject, stumbles across his cabin. And who has been sent to bring her back? Do I really have to tell you it’s Commander Stone?

The opening of Last Man Down screams 80s action film. Both in the situation and the size of the two leads. It’s like Arnie staring down Vernon Wells in Commando, or Lundgren and Stallone in Rocky 4 all over again. And, after so many years of action films full of pretty boys like Tom Cruise, it’s good to see actors who look like they can kick your ass in a film like this.

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For the first half-hour or so, Last Man Down is filled with flashbacks. We learn a bit about John’s background and how he escaped after his wife was murdered. We also find out that he, like Maria, seems to be immune to the virus, and they were planning to use him like they had been using her before she escaped.

For a warm-up we get to see John and Maria dispatch several of Stone’s men who don’t realize John isn’t just some timberman, as they call him, until it’s too late. He even dispatches a pair of them while taking a dump. How’s that for badass? And, like any real action hero, John has his one-liners. After putting an arrow through one opponent, he tells him “I don’t negotiate”. And after Maria asks if he has a plan to hold off Stone and his men he pulls back a tarp to reveal a collection of guns, grenades and other weaponry and deadpans “I think we can hold them off until winter”.

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Director Fansu Njie and co-writers Daniel Stisen and Andreas Vasshaug smartly gave Maria a background that lets her be more than a damsel in distress. She’s tough and familiar with weapons without resorting to having her be ex-military, as well as making it believable when trained soldiers do catch her unaware. Last Man Down has two other female fighters, Granite (Madeleine Vall, Wonder Woman) and Zahara (Natassia Malthe, Battle Drone, In the Name of the King: Two Worlds), but they have extremely limited screen time.

While Last Man Down does its best to recreate the feel of classic action films, it doesn’t have the budget of one. So we don’t get the epic explosions of those films, or even the army of cardboard cutouts Schwarzenegger faced in Commando. But there was enough money to hire enough stuntmen to keep the gunfights and hand-to-hand scenes interesting. And make sure most scenes have enough extras to serve as cannon fodder.

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It all leads to a final half-hour with a higher body count than the last three Steven Segal films combined and two excellent brawls. Of course, he goes toe to toe with Stone, and he gets to throw down with the equally jacked Dr. Feltspat (Stanislav Yanevski, Hostel II), who ran the experiments on him and Maria. Apart from one kick from a random extra that looks speeded up, the fights seem to be free of gimmickry, which is also a plus.

On the downside, neither Stisen nor Nehme is a particularly good actor, thankfully Last Man Down doesn’t call for them to do much more than snarl and break heads. Hopefully, there are some acting classes in their future. Also, the ending is a bit too blatant a setup for a sequel. But I’ll gladly watch that sequel because this is one of the best DTV action films I’ve seen in a while.

Saban Films will release Last Man Down On Demand and On Digital on October 19th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details.

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11 thoughts on “Last Man Down (2021) Review”

  1. Generous review, wasn’t expecting Shakespeare but I think I still lost a couple of braincells watching it. Still, they admirably did what they could with what they had and as you said, everybody looked the part and the movie knows exactly what it is. An okay little unassuming and nostalgic matinee filler for me.

    1. You’re not the only one to tell me I was overly kind to it and it does seem to be getting hammered on Letterboxd.

      Maybe I’ve lost enough brain cells that looked better to me than to everyone else.

    2. This movie was outright garbage. The dialogue were 0/10. Acting 2/10. Story 2/10. Action scenes 2/10. Like seriously, you tubers can make a way better movie than this. The director must had shit for brain to do a movie like this.

      1. If you’re going to call people “shit for brain” maybe you shouldn’t do it in a message full of grammar and spelling mistakes. It makes it look like you’re the one with shit for brains.

  2. I actually loved it. Quite much!
    Probably because I grew up with these kinda movies and I’m now 35+ years of age as well. It’s not an Oscar winner but what do you expect? Grab some beers, eat takeaway pizza and just enjoy the ride! Put yourself back to the time when films where made with tons muscles, little CGI and cool one-liners.
    Don’t over-analyze too much, over and out.

  3. У меня сломался мозг от тупых фраз в фильме!

    (My brain broke from stupid phrases in the film!)

  4. Horrible movie. I actually paused it just now to see what others were saying. The article startup off pointing out accurately that it is akin to an 80’s action film. But a badly done one. They could have really presented a better film by having some continuity in the fight scenes. I mean it was like the second half of the film really was just show up on set. Kill some random people while popping up. Return fire from these armed soldiers never comes close to the actors. Wait did their return fire even generate bullet holes? Nope. Just very bad. I have that imaginary disease that once I start watching a film I almost always finish it. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t finish it. But I am wholly unsatisfied at this point in the film. All they had to do was deliver some action. I’m not seeing where you considered this one of their best action films… Literally pop up. Blast three or four people. Walk away like you just did the coolest thing ever. 10 seconds later. Do it again. And again. And again. Groups were random. No real bad guy strategy. I’ll send 40 guys up the mountain in 4 group increments until they are all dead. Yeah that’s the ticket.

    1. Sounds like you paused it before the point where Stone realizes who’s cabin the girl is in. Yes, he sends a couple of small groups up, because he thinks it’s just some random guy. Once he realizes he’s up against a skilled fighter he sends all his troops in.

      And honestly, if you’ve seen just about any action films you should be used to the bad guys all being horrible shots.

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