Bullet Points: The Last Outlaw
How does one go about proving that they are “the last outlaw”? It’s a terribly difficult thing to prove. The moment you think you have proof that you’re an outlaw, maybe even the final one living, you find out that some guy two counties over is a badass riding around a motorcycle and wearing a denim vest. The Last Outlaw doesn’t feature any motorcycles or denim vests (sadly) because it takes place shortly after the American Civil War. Naturally it stars Mickey Rourke, a man whose face would not look good upon any Civil War monuments. Actually, you could probably just use his actual face because it seems to be mostly fake and I don’t know how many more botox jobs it’ll take to turn it to stone.
Synopsis: A gang of former Confederates are robbing banks all over the West. They get ambushed by a sizable posse and the gang’s leader, Graff (Mickey Rourke), tries to get rid of some dead weight in the form of a wounded comrade. The gang turns on Graff and he is left for dead. Graff then falls into the hands of the posse, but it isn’t long before he’s leading the posse in an attempt to take out his former men.
- The Right Men for the Job: The Last Outlaw has a remarkable cast. It’s a far better cast than you’ll see in most early 90’s westerns and the biggest problem is that there just isn’t enough time to get all the men enough time on screen to show off their skills. Mickey Rourke and Dermot Mulroney are the two main stars, but the gang is rounded out with John C. McGinley, Steve Buscemi, Keith David, and Ted Levine. That is one damned good cast. It’s a shame that they are mostly wasted.
- HUH?: The year is 1993 and Mickey Rourke’s dialogue is already becoming incomprehensible. I thought he still had a couple of good years in him but his character speaks so low for most of the movie I kept having to turn the volume up just to understand what the hell he was saying. You know when you have to squint at the screen because you’re trying to listen more closely? I don’t know what that makes sense but I spent about 30% of the movie squinting at Mickey Rourke trying to read his lips.
- The Gang: Graff and his men are robbing their way around the Western states, bringing their brand of Southern retribution to the Union banks and pretending to be the James Gang. All the men, especially Eustis (Dermot Mulroney), is getting a little peeved at the way that Graff has been treating the men. A few of the crew are pretty clearly on the side of Rourke but they seem to be split down the middle. When Graff and Eustis finally come to the tipping point, it’s Eustis who shoots Graff and then leaves him thinking he’s dead already.
- Not So Fast: It’s hard to keep Mickey Rourke down. Just watch that fixed boxing match he had in Russia. He gets picked up by the posse chasing the men and quickly sets about taking over. He clashes with the always awesome Gavan O’Herlihy (Willow rules!) and is soon calling the shots for the entire posse. It only takes them about 20 minutes to forget that he was the leader of the gang they’re pursuing.
- The Gunfights: There aren’t any amazing shootouts in The Last Outlaw. In fact, there are no real amazing scenes in the movie at all. The actors are really good because I’ve seen them be good in other movies but they aren’t necessarily good in this movie. It’s not that they all of a sudden forgot how to act but the writing doesn’t do them any favors. There is a narration by Mulroney that feels out of place and Buscemi and McGinley barely get any screen time whatsoever. It would have taken a good amount of action to make this movie better and it never finds its footing.
- Gang Mentality: Graff is almost supernatural for the second half of the movie. Yes he looks like a Johnny Depp Western cosplay, but they act like he can just appear out of anywhere. Eustis and his crew spend most the movie with shit running down their legs as they flee from Graff and his new posse of nameless guys. Keith David is really the only one that isn’t a complete idiot but even he eventually gets a dirt nap. The crew might have made it out if they had stuck together or set up an ambush for the posse (which the successfully do once) but they’re too busy screaming at each other to get anything accomplished. SAD!
I have it on good intel that these Bonus Bullet Points will be the last:
- I need to see a Mythbusters episode where they try the old gunpowder in the bullet wound trick.
- Anytime someone starts talking about how this is their last job, you can go ahead and start the clock on when they’ll bite the bullet. This time, it happens a little faster than expected.
- John C. McGinley’s teeth are too white! I couldn’t stop thinking about his dental practices every time it closed in on his face. I highly doubt a bunch of bank robbing Rebs would be stopping twice a day to floss.
The Verdict: I’m not a fan of The Last Outlaw. I really enjoyed the cast on paper but the writing was bad and the action could never bring it back to the good side for me. Plus, there was never a character that deserved to be cheered on. Graff certainly wasn’t a “good guy” and Eustis is still an ex-Confederate officer who now robs banks. It’s hard to empathize with a bunch of low-life’s. If you’re looking for a better Western then watch an old Bronson or Lee Marvin flick. Skip this and thank me later.