Scorpion Releasing // 1969 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 5th, 2010
Breaking into Red China someone has to end the madness...
That tagline doesn't make any sense, but I'm still hyped up about the awesome action that awaits me! For crying out loud, Alex Cord is on the cover with a Dartmouth shirt on, screaming and shooting a rifle!
The crazy action insanity starts when Cord's character Kip Thompson (granted, not the most hardcore name ever) turns on his squadmates during an evac operation and guns down a whole lot of good guys. This royally pisses off Major Harry Grigsby (Stanley Baker) who's just itching to get back into the jungle and unleash some serious violence. But first things first, there's a romance that needs working and it's thorny. Grigsby's got it bad for the wife of his commander (Sir Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park) and if he wants to be with her he'll need to talk a lot and not shoot people in the face.
Beware false advertising. The folks at Scorpion Releasing certainly want you to think that The Last Grenade is the slam-bang awesomest relic to be unearthed in some time; the bodacious cover art plus the nonsensical, though blood-boiling tagline seem to point to that fact. Even the title of the movie ends in an exclamation point.
And to be fair, things start out promising. Bullets fly in the opener as the main bad guy shows us how bad he truly is and sets up the confrontation between Grigsby and his detachment of soldiers. A little while later, we see some more jungle-based gunplay when Grigsby leads these soldiers into combat. Then...the brakes slam on and don't let off until there are but seven minutes remaining in the runtime.
Kids, this sucker is boring. When the relationship angle is introduced, The Last Grenade suddenly shifts from a war/revenge saga into a romantic drama about a doomed romance and a bunch of other stuff that wasn't nearly as interesting as watching a bunch of hard-asses traipse through the jungle with their guns to shoot the living crap out of the dude from Airwolf. I kept waiting for the promise of this showdown, but instead got endless, uninteresting dialogue. Occasionally Alex Cord would show up to talk trash, but rather than keep the interest in the looming battle alive and well, it merely served as a frustration point because just around the corner was more tedium.
The kidney punch in all of this? The battle that has been dangled in front of the audience all this time is an absolute joke. Only when a tragedy befalls Grigsby and he gets enraged does he finally set out to bring the pain. Raw emotion, snarling, an automatic weapon! Now we're getting somewhere. Er, no. The shoot-out is incredibly brief and features Grigsby stupidly standing in an open field and opening fire on a bunch of similarly stupid thugs and then, well, I won't spoil it for you, but let's just say the title figures heavily into the anticlimactic blue balls ending.
The film may be a snoozer, but Scorpion's technical treatment is impressive. The rehabbed 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks great and is joined by the original mono track. No extras.
A letdown. That is all.
Guilty. Save the last grenade for me, pal.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Scorpion Releasing
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 1969
MPAA Rating: Not Rated