Lionsgate // 2000 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // September 14th, 2002
She kept telling him, "Not even if you were the last man on earth." Well...guess what?
It's the near future and an apocalyptic plague (or something of that sort) has wiped out all of mankind. The population has gone from billions to seemingly one man: Alan Gould (David Arnott, writer of Last Action Hero). Alan has set up a camp in the desert using any means necessary, since everything is deserted and free. Alan has also been making a tape about his trials and tribulations (and his connection with a strange tribe of Indians who taught him about "detachment") so that the next person who finds it knows what went down in the last hours of earth. Things are going okay for Alan until Sarah (Jeri Ryan, TV's Boston Public, Dracula 2000) shows up -- and dear God! -- she's the last woman on earth! Normally Alan would never have a shot with someone as gorgeous as Sarah, but seeing as he seems to be the last guy on the planet, things are looking sweeeeeeet! The two quickly settle into domestic post-apocalyptic bliss filled with drinking, sex, and food. When a rival in the form of Raphael (Dan Montgomery) shows up -- gasp, the second last man on earth! -- Alan finds himself in competition for Sarah's affections! It's the love triangle of the decade...well, actually the only love triangle of the decade...and only one man can end up being The Last Man!
When you think of the word comedy, the phrase "post apocalyptic" usually isn't the next thought that pops into your head. Yet for writer/director Harry Ralston that's exactly what happened, so he made the romantic comedy The Last Man! Here is a movie that is sweet, strange, and oddly entertaining in its own offbeat way. The film features only three actors -- Montgomery, Arnott, and Ryan -- and they all do a fine job with their roles. Arnott gets the unlucky duty of playing the overweight, balding Alan, and kudos are his for doing a fine job with such an unglamorous role. Arnott's blustering, often nerdy portrayal of Alan is like watching an entertaining combination of Joel Silver and Albert Brooks on hyperdrive. Jeri Ryan (best known to audiences as Star Trek Voyager's sexy Borg officer) is a little spotty as the world's lone woman, often flipping from depressed to ecstatic to angry in mere seconds. Then again, I guess if I were one of the last folks on earth I'd be having a few emotional hang-ups myself. Because of the film's budget we're never able to truly grasp the scope of the apocalypse -- a few scattered bodies on a city street is the extent of the destruction. On the other hand, Ralston isn't attempting to recreate Stephen King's The Stand -- his focus is mainly character driven, which makes for a fairly different type of movie. The screenplay sometimes plods on a bit too long (the love triangle between the tree characters tends to wear a bit thin), though many of the jokes end up with nice payoffs. In one scene Alan hysterically starts to freak out over Sarah's disappearance on a supposed "short picnic" with Raphael, videotaping his every neurotic tick. It's moments like these that make The Last Man an enjoyable and unique romantic comedy.
The Last Man is presented in 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. It's a shame that Lions Gate decided not to produce an anamorphic version of this film. As it stands, The Last Man looks above average, sporting solid black levels and even color schemes. However, had the studio put a bit more effort into the disc, it could have come out with a sharper, more defined transfer. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital stereo in English. Mediocre at best, this soundtrack is mainly focused in the front and center speakers with few directional effects present. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles. The Last Man certainly isn't in last place when it comes to extra features. Starting off this disc are two commentary tracks, one by director Harry Ralston and actors Dave Arnott, Jeri Ryan, and Dan Montgomery, and the second with Ralston and executive producer Roger Avary. The first track with the actors leans more towards comedy, while the second track with the production team is more technical and production oriented. Some rough behind-the-scenes footage features the actors and crew at work with clips from the film inserted between the footage. Finally there are a few storyboard comparisons, some rather boring footage of Jeri Ryan's audition, and theatrical trailers for The Last Man and other Lions Gate films.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Production Commentary Track
* Full Cast Commentary Track
* Audition Tapes with Jeri Ryan
* Behind-the-Scenes Footage
* Storyboard Comparisons