The Last Blood: ‘Conscience? It has been covered up by the money already”

Year: 1990/1991

Directed by Wong Jing

Produced by Wallace Cheung Kwok-Chung and Eric Tseng

Written by Wong Jing

Cast:  Alan Tam, Andy Lau, Eric Tsang, Bryan Leung May Lo, Natalis Chan, Jackson Liu, Chui Sau-Lai, Chun Ho, and Law Shu-Kei

A religious figure and a young woman are put in a critical state when they’re attacked by a terrorist group. Afterward, a wild hunt ensues, for a man with a mysterious blood type that can save their lives.

Mislabeled in the UK as the supposed sequel to John Woo’s smash hit, Hard-Boiled despite being released before Hard Boiled, The Last Blood is very much of the same genre, heroic bloodshed. But, Wong Jing’s film does fail to live up to that lofty mislabelling. Even as a subpar offering, it shouldn’t totally be disregarded.

Wong Jing takes us to Singapore during their national day and the story unfolds during the mayhem of that event. A two hardass cop and a misfit boyfriend are thrown into a shaky alliance to face the militant group known as the Japanese Red Army. The two cops are supposed to save the life of the Daka Lama( obviously an analog for Dalai Lama) while the misfit boyfriend(played by Andy Lau) is trying to save his girlfriend’s life. Eric Tsang’s character enters the fray when his character, Fatty ends up being the only blood donor left. It is a fitting fate since Eric Tsang is a devoted Buddhist in real life. All of these conflicting motivations with an uneven script make for a frantic narrative. The Last Blood relies more on its great intensity rather than rhyme and reason to tell its story. It wants to have a great drama but then refuses to develop its characters or story in a rightful manner. So, much of the dramatic strength comes from the acting. Despite being constrained by the poor storytelling, the performances are rather strong. So, the emotions it can stir up are rather good. The villains are of the cartoonish variety whose singular motivation seems to be just greed. Since the heroes and villains are in a constant cycle of playing cat and mouse games to one-up each other, the pacing never drags down. So, it feels quite engaging even if someone could probably call it a hollow sense of engagement. It does steer off into unnecessary fluff or unnecessary over-the-top cruelty at points. The action setpieces and the gunplay are great. Then again, The Last Blood wouldn’t be a heroic bloodshed film if it didn’t offer either of those two.

The Last Blood is a subpar heroic bloodshed since it never comes close to hitting the proper gravitas that John Woo’s works are capable of. However, the cat and mouse premise mixed with great action and great acting might delight a quite few fans of the genre. It has bloodily mediocre storytelling yet does have tons of moments of enjoyment and intensity.

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