Wednesday 7 February 2018

The Last Hunter

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The Last Hunter (1980) - Antonio Margheriti's funk-soundtracked Deer Hunter knockoff, some impressive pyrotechnics and action sequences (especially the opening sequence) can't polish a typical duff Italian war movie.  David Warbeck's Brut-strewn divorced dad "charm" remains, even when dubbed. The end theme is a bizarrely out of place nasal disco sub-Barry Manilow muse on war that sounds quite a bit like the theme to the Pumaman. Tisa Farrow, the presumably less mental sister of Mia (though considering that family's roots lie partly in Boyle*, perhaps not)  plays a journalist. Some inappropriately jolly When I'm 64-alike music accompanies an out of place jungle football scene. The "New York" scenes are clearly Warbeck and co in an Italian park while cutting to some second unit of people in Manhattan staring at a Cutty Sark-type windjammer.  I am still fascinated by Italian exploitation, even though much of it (especially the 60s stuff) is utterly interchangeable, and most of it almost unwatchable. But somehow seeing Italian exploitation hacks trying to imitate a "serious", and over-rated American film like The Deer Hunter AND Apocalypse Now  is more fun, because it's played so earnestly.They put some effort in it, and yet there's still enough blatant cheek there. Margheriti's films tend to have action, but they always feel hollow. His Indiana Jones knockoffs like Hunters of the Golden Cobra and Ark of the Sun God (1982) are less glossy than Last Hunter, with scenes clearly shot on short ends without a script, guerrilla-style. They feel amateurish, more like those teenage fans' recreation of Raiders than even say, King Solomon's Mines (1985).
That whole Vietnam war canon is kind of boring, even the knock-offs - although I do like Ted Kotcheff's Uncommon Valor (1983) for some reason. Maybe, cos it is somewhere between intelligent treatise on war and Rambo-ish "bring back our boys" mindless action, predating First Blood Part II, and there's an adventure element, which is usually what a war film needs for me to enjoy it, i.e. why I enjoy Von Ryan's Express but not The Great Escape. 

*Not to be rude to the people of Roscommon, I've been to Boyle. It's great, but the Sky sitcom Moone Boy set there is kind of true, everyone there is at least joyfully bonkers.

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