Plot: What’s it about?
The world was once a thriving realm, where people were found all over the place and survival was not that base, at least not on the surface. But that was then and now, it has become a realm plagued with savages and total chaos, with scarce humans to be seen. Some people still remain alive and forage to keep themselves that way, but most of the people are long deceased, as this is a world after the world, so to speak. The wreckage and rubble of a once well stocked civilized world surround these few survivors, but they do not live by the old ways, not even close. As they venture out to gather supplies and food, not a word is spoken and not by choice, but because of the results of the apocalypse that shattered the world. But some of the people try to keep to themselves and stay out of trouble, although others seek violence and steal from the others, which throws the area into even deeper recesses. But as a drifter and a reclusive old man struggle to survive in this barren, dangerous world, can they overcome the odds of starvation, isolation, and constant circling of the human vultures?
I’ve seen a lot of movies that deal with life after the end of the civilized world, but Luc Besson’s Le Dernier Combat is one of the better ones. This movie was very hard to come by for some time, but now Columbia has issued it on DVD, so fans and first timers should have no trouble being able to find this flick. I can’t say this movie will dazzle all viewers, as it takes an approach that might bore some audiences, with a slow pace and minimal dialogue. Yes, I do mean minimal and in this case, that means none and if you ask me, that’s a wise choice by Besson. The loss of spoken lines is not missed in the least here, as the storyline unfolds in fine form and the performances are solid also, especially Jean Reno’s work. I liken this film to The Road Warrior in some respects, as it has a worn, broken down vision of the future, which is approached by minimalist filmmaking, so to speak. There isn’t a lot of flash with Le Dernier Combat, but it looks good and turns out to be a very good movie, one of the best in its subgenre, I think. As per usual on Besson films, this disc has minimal extras, but the movie itself more than justifies the price, so check it out.
This was the feature film debut for director Luc Besson, who of course, has found much success in his career. This movie is a far cry from his better known, large scale pictures, but Besson still leaves his fingerprints all over Le Dernier Combat, without a doubt. As we’ve seen in many of his later films, Besson has a flair for fantasy and while this flick is not your typical fantasy, it is laden with science-fiction elements. No, you won’t see laser swords or the like, but this is a look into the future and has a lot of minimalist sci-fi traits, to be sure. Besson paints a bleak portrait with Le Dernier Combat and without dialogue, he is able to bring across all the needed information, very impressive direction in all respects. Other films directed by Besson include The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional, La Femme Nikita, and The Big Blue. The cast here includes Jean Reno (The Crimson Rivers, Ronin), Jean Bouise (The Big Blue, The Hell Below), and Christiane Kruger (Puzzle of Horrors, Blood Queen).
Video: How does it look?
Le Dernier Combat is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I figured this would be a good looking transfer, as Columbia is usually dependable in that regard, but this presentation is simply gorgeous. The black & white image is stark and very well balanced, with razor sharp black levels and no detail loss in the least. I was stunned by how sharp the visuals look here, but no edge enhancement or compression defects can be seen, very, very impressive work from Columbia on this one. The print is even clean and offers no room for complaints, so fans will be in sheer heaven with this disc, to be certain.
Audio: How does it sound?
Although this movie uses no dialogue, it still has some good audio potential, in the form of music and sound effects. I wasn’t blown away by the included mix, but it sounds very good and provides little space for complaints, since nothing sounds out of place. The deep bass is well presented and that’s vital, as it is used often in the film to various ends. The elements seem clean and on the mark, even if your home theater never gets to flex the muscles much. As this film has no dialogue, there is no need for subtitles or additional language options.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.