Director: Rustam Mosafir
Script: Rustam Mosafir & Vadim Golovanov
Cast: Aleksey Faddeev, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Yuriy Tsurilo, Izmaylova Vasilisa
Running time: 100 minutes
Set when a new era was just beginning in Central Eurasia, The Last Warrior highlights the last descendants of the Scythians, (a former proud warrior race), who have become ruthless mercenary assassins, known as the ‘waves of Ares’. Lutobor (Faddeev) is a soldier with a difficult task at hand as he becomes pulled into internecine conflicts amongst warring ‘tribes’ and when his beautiful wife Tatyana (Vasilia) is kidnapped by marauders he sets off on a perilous journey to save her. His guide is a captive Scythian (who was one of the marauders) who goes by the name of Weasel (Kuznetsov). Lutobor and Weasel are enemies to begin with, but, as their quest progresses, they develop a grudging respect for one another and Weasel even reveals his true name to Lyutobar, namely that of Marten.
Together they brave the wild steppes, moving toward the last haven of the Scythians, and what seems to be their inevitable demise, where Marten must become the leader of the nomadic tribe he was brutally brought up by, or else Lutobor and his young family will perish.
Firstly, let’s get the negatives out of the way with to begin with, and then I’ll reveal the positives, of which there are a fair few. I have to say that the dubbing in the film is pretty bad, and if I was to watch it again I think I would prefer to see it with English subtitles as those would have been less distracting! Another negative was, considering the plot was relatively simple, it was still a little confusing and I did feel lost at times so I think that perhaps the makers should have worked on the script a bit longer in order to make things clearer for numpties like myself to understand.
On the positive side, the film feels very authentic, right from the production design to the costumes, and even to the way the fights are conducted. I felt that the filmmakers had actually bothered to do their research. And the fight choreography is very good with some fantastic moves done by the key cast members, especially Kuznetsov (Marten) who, based on his physical performance here, should be in more action movies internationally. He looked like he was enjoying himself, which makes me think that he’ll be involved in more fight films further down the line…
The Last Warrior isn’t for the faint-hearted though, since it is relentlessly grim, gritty and very violent, with a high quota of gore and grue on display – not that I minded. And the terrain the movie utilises really adds to the film’s grim beauty, and almost becomes an additional character in the film. In fact, in the film’s credits I thought I saw The Grand Canyon mentioned so I’m not sure if part of that famous US landmark was used as a location or if there’s a Russian equivalent in the Soviet Union.
Overall I thought The Last Warrior was a solid historical actioner, with decent performances from an enthusiastic cast, and which makes good use of some excellent locations. Plus you can’t really go wrong with a film that features a berserker warrior turning into a werebear spirit thingy and going nuts!
The Last Warrior is being distributed by 4DigitalMedia and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital download. Sadly, there were no extras included on the disc, which is a real shame as I would have liked to have seen some sort of ‘making of’ documentary or featurette on the fight choreography.