Saturday, May 2, 2020

Last to Surrender (1999)

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Tagline:

First to Fight… Last to Surrender!

Movie Review:

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This movie makes a decidedly strong first impression! Right out of the gate it's clear that being politically-correct is not a top priority, it's just over five minutes when the first gun fight takes place and when you hit the nine minute mark you've got car chase action raging across your screen!

The set-up is tried and true; Nick Ford (Roddy Piper) is a cop on the job with his partner trying to bring down some bad guys when things go wrong and the partner gets killed. Ford chases after the bad guy alongside of a particularly skilled waiter who just won’t quit! The killer gets away, Ford and the waiter get into it a little bit, and then you get confirmation of what you surely already knew… That relentless waiter is an undercover Chinese cop named Wu Yin (Han Soo Ong).

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From here the Red Heat influence begins to show itself in a big way. Ford is told by his superiors that he has no choice but to partner up with Wu Yin in order to capture the villainous murderer who got away because, as it’s explained, they are now the only two people to know what he looks like. The ‘he’ in question being the infamous drug kingpin known only as ‘The Tiger’. Wu Yin has been working this case for his own government for some time while Ford now has a personal stake with wanting to claim vengeance for his fallen friend and all. So, partners it is! From here the hunt is on and the action, though filtered with comedic banter between the two leads, is frequent and exciting.

The uneasy alliance is tested early and often but, somehow, our heroes still manage to stay on the right path. Sure, they might fight (a LOT) and go their own ways every now and then, but they always end up back together. Of course, the realization that they need each other slowly begins to creep in. Much to the chagrin of Ford! Things flip a little bit when the dynamic duo heads off to Burma together where Wu Yin is more familiar with how things are done and, obviously, blends in a little more convincingly. One thing leads to another and it appears that Ford and Wu Yin are only a plane ride away from finding what they are looking for. Too bad the plane has been sabotaged and crashes into the jungle! Pilot dead, guide dead, our well-travelled pillars of justice are not about to give up! After all, the movie IS called LAST TO SURRENDER!

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And so it goes… Things might not take many surprising turns from this point on but, no matter, it’s still a blast to watch! Piper is more than comfortable with this type of character and knows how to get the most out of it. It’s a pleasure to watch his Nick Ford switch from that charmingly foul-mouthed and pure-hearted cop to a crusty and frustrated jungle dweller forced to eat snake to survive! And let’s not forget Han Soo Ong! He can be seen in such films as Bloodsport 2, Tiger Claws II, and others. That strong physical presence he has along with a pleasant personality that is constantly tested by his counterpart's aggressive smack-talking make him perfectly suited for the good guy straight man role here.

There’s fluidity to the attractive cinematography, an excellent soundtrack by Norman Oresntein, a healthy amount of fully-packed squibs, lots of exploding huts, and would you believe they even manage to squeeze in a love interest? Yep, she’s played by Angela Tong. Piper fans should not hesitate to grab this one. A solid example of Le Cinema De Boom!

Reviewed by Xtro the Mutilator

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Notes:

Directed by David Mitchell
Starring - Roddy Piper - Han Soo Ong
1997 (year of production) – R – 94 MINUTES

Platinum Disc Corporation DVD
Extras: Text Synopsis – Trailer – Uncut Trailer – Cast Bios – Photo Gallery –
(Fascinating) Production Notes

  • Movie is set in Seattle and Burma but was filmed in Canada and Indonesia.
  • This was Han Soo Ong's first good guy leading man role and it was also his last released film to date.
  • Director David Mitchell has been working steadily in the industry since the early 80’s.
  • Composer Norman Orenstein has worked on over 80 projects.
  • During filming there was a real plane crash that left a couple of crew members injured and one dead.

Trailer:

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