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The Last Blood
AKA: Hard Boiled 2


Leung Ka-Yan and Alan Tam

Chinese: 驚天12小時
Year: 1991
Director: Wong Jing
Producer: Wallace Cheung, Eric Tsang Chi-Wai
Action: Blacky Ko Sau-Leung
Cast: Alan Tam Wing-Lun, Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Eric Tsang Chi-Wai,Leung Ka-Yan, May Lo Mei-Mei, Nat Chan Bak-Cheung, Chin Ho, Jackson Lau Hok-Yin, Tsui Sau-Lai
The Skinny: The performances are barely par, and some of the content is outdated if not downright offensive. Still, The Last Blood has enough of that anything-goes Hong Kong Cinema charm to make it a worthwhile bit of nostalgia. Just don't expect Hard Boiled.
 
Review
by Kozo:

Andy Lau and Alan Tam team up to fight Japanese terrorists in the early-nineties Hong Kong Cinema relic The Last Blood. Tam is Lui Tai, an Interpol agent assigned to protect a famous religious leader, the Daka Lama, who's targeted for death by the militant Japanese terrorist group, the Red Army. Lui Tai hooks up with the Daka Lama in Singapore, but a Red Army attack leaves the Daka Lama in critical condition. Unfortunately, the Daka Lama has a rare blood type, and there are only three possible donors in all of Singapore. Two are quickly offed, with only annoying lowlife Fatty (Eric Tsang) remaining. Liu Tai and local Singapore cop Stone (Leung Ka-Yan) try to beat the Red Army to Fatty, but they also have to deal with Hong Kong triad boy B (Andy Lau), who wants to make sure Fatty's blood goes to his girlfriend (May Lo) first. She was also wounded in the same attack as the Daka Lama, and also needs the ultra-rare blood. Will everyone work together to make sure both the Daka Lama and B's girl are saved? Or will they get in each other's way and allow the two to die?

Duh, they eventually join forces to save both B's girl and the Daka Lama - but not without a ton of collateral damage involving the deaths of numerous innocents. True to early-nineties Hong Kong Cinema formula, The Last Blood features over-the-top violence and random carnage aplenty. Director Wong Jing does here what he does best: assemble a mishmash of genre elements, slam on the crappy comedy, throw in a few effective stars, and lean on his action director (the late Blacky Ko) to deliver the goods. Blacky Ko does deliver the goods; there's plenty of bullet-spraying, high-speed action to satiate anyone jonesing for the all-out action of Hong Kong Cinema days past. Wong Jing also amps the violence by making sure to off nice people at appropriate moments. True to form, nobody is safe, which means old people, kids, and women are in the line of fire. Offing the innocent may smack of exploitation, but that's pretty much what Wong aims to achieve. Thanks to its rapid pace, over-the-top action, dopey humor, and a few shocking moments, The Last Blood qualifies as at least Grade-B Hong Kong action cinema.

The film is also tasteless and uneven, especially when viewed some fifteen years later. The Last Blood features cringe-worthy jokes about AIDS, as well as characters who are more bland or annoying than charismatic. Alan Tam does a serviceable job as the super-cool Interpol agent Liu Tai, though his flat demeanor, floppy popstar hairstyle, and lack of panache with a pistol prevent him from being a Grade-A action star. Andy Lau fares better than Tam in the action department, but back in the nineties, Lau's action-comedy performances were more smarmy or annoying than charismatic - and The Last Blood is a perfect example of that. Eric Tsang turns in a typically hammy early-nineties Eric Tsang performance, and the bad guys are either cartoonishly menacing or laughably over-the-top. Lead bad guy Chin Ho has overacted in films like Wonder Seven and Run, but The Last Blood may be his signature work.

Still, it's all good, or at least tolerable. The action comes fast and furiously, and there are enough surprises and cool moments of action to warrant a recommendation. The Last Blood is good junk cinema, and probably a prime example of why many people hopped on the HK Cinema bandwagon back in the early-to-mid-nineties. What the film isn't is the second coming of Hard Boiled, a label that could be applied thanks to the film's UK distribution as Hard Boiled 2. Other than one scene depicting a Mexican standoff between the two lead characters, and a messy action climax in a hospital, The Last Blood does not resemble Hard Boiled at all. Hell, it was even released a full year before the John Woo classic! Giving The Last Blood that title is a bit unfair, as it raises expectations for the film to an impossible level. Viewed more conservatively, e.g. as a messy junk food action flick from Hong Kong's equivalent of Roger Corman, The Last Blood easily makes the grade. (Kozo 1995/2006)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mega Star Video Distribution, Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution, Ltd.
   
 
 
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