Last Resort is about as straight ahead of an action movie as you can get. Its characters are simple, its pace relatively quick, and it places as much emphasis on the action fans are coming to see above all else. As much as I enjoy action films with more complex characters and stories, I also enjoy back to basics shoot-em-ups when they’re done right, and Last Resort falls into that latter category with ease.
Last Resort doesn’t break the action movie mold, but it does provide a solidly entertaining couple of hours to kick off 2023.
Last Resort Official Trailer
Much to the chagrin of his wife Kim (JulaLuck Ismalone), ex-military man Michael (John Foo) spends his days lounging around on the couch watching cartoons. When Kim and his daughter Anna (Angelina Ismalone) are held hostage at a bank by terrorist Cooper (Clayton Norcross) and his goons, Michael drops the Lucky Charms to lock, load, and get his family back, sneaking into the bank and using his skills to take out Cooper’s men one by one, slowly realizing these robbers may have more nefarious intentions than originally perceived.
Last Resort knows exactly what its audience wants and wastes no time getting to it. The scenario of one man navigating a building, ship, or other large location to take out goons and save hostages is far from new territory for an action film at this point, but Last Resort keeps the kills coming and moves at a quick enough clip to keep you entertained.
John Foo and Clayton Norcross do fine work as the main hero and villain here, with the latter going enjoyably over-the-top in nearly every scene and delivering the less-than-Shakespearean dialogue with zeal.
While it takes a slight suspension of disbelief to swallow that Michael could immediately switch from couch potato to Commando, Foo looks good in the action scenes and has a decent amount of charisma as per action hero film law. He spends a large portion of screen time by himself, but works solidly off the other actors when he shares scenes with them.
Among that cast is Chalad Na Songkhla as Watana, a well-meaning police officer who spends virtually the entire runtime plopped outside the bank watching the action on computer monitors and trying to get Michael outside assistance however he can. This is all familiar territory, but familiarity is never a problem so long as it is executed in an entertaining way, and Last Resort ticks that box for me.
About midway through, the film makes a misstep in attempting to add some depth to Cooper’s motivations. While Norcross gives it his all, I simply did not feel sympathy for the character given that before now he’d spent the entire runtime terrorizing innocents. This is doubly strange when the film ups the ante on how malicious his endgame is, so that attempt to elicit sympathy for him was quite odd. That said, with most mainstream blockbusters these days seemingly unable to commit to making a villain who’s evil through and through, I found it quietly refreshing to see this one backtrack and have its antagonist be a bad guy we aren’t really meant to connect with.
On the more mixed side of things, the familial relationship that should be the emotional anchor here is barely given time to develop. We get exactly one scene establishing Kim’s frustration with Michael before she and Anna head to the bank and the plot kicks in. Additionally, I found both Ismalone performers had awkward line deliveries at times. The film’s attempt to wring some emotion out of the family fell flat for me despite everyone’s best efforts, but as motivation for Michael to survive they serve their character function.
Also, I found myself chuckling at a majority of the dialogue, but the enthusiasm of everyone involved made it enjoyable. Lastly, the film’s action is solidly choreographed and uses its environment to good effect. Punches, kicks, knives, and guns are all utilized and the camera knows when to zoom in close or give us a slightly wider view of the action for the greatest impact. I had quite a fun time with this and feel other action fans will too.
Last Resort is good old-fashioned escapism with a quick plot, solid action, and a sense of popcorn fun. See it.
3 out of 5 stars (average)
The Last Resort is in select theaters on January 6 and available on digital and on demand on January 10. Let us know what you thought of the film over on social media.