Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on August 12th, 2005
In the 1930s, the dreaded Axe Gang is taking over all organized crime, terrorizing the city. One of the only places they don’t control is a slum complex ruled by a formidable landlady and her henpecked husband. Into this place come a couple of con artists, who pretend to be members of the Axe Gang. They set in motion an chain of events that leads to one apocalyptic battle after another, with ever more bizarre and powerful Grand Masters of Kung Fu turning to fight either for or against the Ax… Gang.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to The Last Word. As the Spaghetti Westerns were to the Western, as Peter Jackson’s Dead-Alive was to the gore film, this is to the Kung Fu flick: every cliche taken to its most absurd extreme, everything cranked up to unimaginably spectacular and hilarious levels. This is excess beyond which it is not possible to go. And it is exquisite.
Said excess is backed by a spectacular audio track. The music booms with deafening majesty during the opening credits, and the quality of the placement of the surround effects is set in the opening shot, as the distant sounds of a beating become audible first in the rear right speaker, and gradually spread to the other speakers as the camera backs up, moving closer to the commotion. This happens, and you relax, knowing you are in good hands.
The picture is fabulous too. The colours are magnificent, an explosive canvas of eye candy, with deep, rich contrasts, strong blacks and flesh tones, and no edge or grain. The image is very sharp, and the aspect ratio is the full, generous 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. A movie that looks as good as it sounds.
Writer/director/producer/star Stephen Chow is joined on the commentary by three other cast members. The track is subtitled, and while the comments are pretty much the usual sort of round-table joshing and banter, having these comments committed to print makes them seem rather more inane than the usual. The making-of featurette (also subtitled) is the usual sort of thing. Better is the interview with Chow, conducted by Ric Meyers for the DVD. There are two deleted scenes, TV spots, outtakes and bloopers, a poster gallery, and ten trailers, including the hilarious one for the feature itself. The menu’s main screen is animated and scored.
Exhausting and exhilarating, this is a movie that defies description, and must be experienced for oneself.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Making-of Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- TV Spots
- Poster Gallery
- Outtakes and Bloopers
- Interview with Stephen Chow