Wednesday, January 2, 2013

TODAY'S NUGGET: Last Man Standing (1996) - Crosses & Double Crosses; My LAST Walter Hill script

[Quick Summary: A drifter arrives in a small Texas town, and pits two competing gangs against each other.]

Last Man Standing is a fitting read for my last Walter Hill script.

The story gets my grudging respect, mainly because of the smart crosses and double crosses.

"John Smith" is a conniving, quick draw drifter in the Old West.

He arrives during a truce between two whiskey smuggling gangs.

When the Doyle gang causes trouble for him, Smith aligns himself with the Rossi gang -- and then plays them off each other.

Smith is willing to cross and double cross two very bad gangs, which makes him interesting to watch.
Is he is a good guy? 

ex. He rescues enslaved Felina.
ex. He protects Joe the barkeeper.

Or is he bad?

ex. He shoots the Doyle gang who keeps Felina hostage, then shifts the blame to Rossi.
ex. He joins Rossi's gang, quits, then sells info to Doyle's gang - all to destroy both gangs.

Smith had the right motives (to get rid of bad guys), but his means did not have many boundaries.

I was rather surprised how far he took "the end justifies the means."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Does crossing and double-crossing bad guys make you a bad guy too? Still thinking about that one.

Last Man Standing (1996)
Written & directed by Walter Hill
From a story by Ryuzo Kikushima & Akira Kurosawa

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