Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 26th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: France, December 21st, 2005
Director: Luc Besson
Writers: Luc Besson, Pierre Jolivet
Cast: Pierre Jolivet, Jean Bouise, Fritz Wepper, Jean Reno, Christiane Krüger, Maurice Lamy, Pierre Carrive, Jean-Michel Castanié, Michel Doset, Bernard Havet, Marcel Berthomier, Petra Müller, Garry Jode
BluRay released: September 14th, 2009
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo French
BluRay Release: Optimum Releasing
Region Coding: Region B (UK)
Retail Price: £24.99
Luc Besson’s film debut The Last Battle is about a post-apocalyptic future in which mankind has returned to its prehistoric roots. The bulk of the film revolves around a character ‘The Man’ who lives alone in an abandoned building in the middle of desert terrain. Bored with his mundane existence ‘The Man’ steals the only working car battery and uses it to power his flying contraption. As the film progresses ‘The Man’ befriends a doctor who lives in a hospital that has been fortified from the outside world. The main nemesis of this film is a character named ‘The Brute’ who is determined to gets into the hospital. Jean Reno (Léon) has been cast in the role of ‘The Brute’ and he gives a menacing performance that leaves no doubt how he got his name.
The plot focuses primarily on the here and the now, with any back-story that is revealed is glossed over quickly. Another area where some viewers may find this film challenging is that this film is virtually devoid of dialog (except for two spoken words). This lack of information is not helped by the languid pacing, that eventually picks up by the final act of the film. The most compelling part of this film is watching ‘The Man’ and The Doctor’s relationship evolve. The eclectic score for the film was composed by Eric Serra, a frequent collaborator of Luc Besson’s. Despite its short comings the film does a reasonably good job keeping things interesting throughout with its stark, sun bleached, black and white photography and the expressive performances from the entire cast.
The Last Battle comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Details look crisp; contrast fares well with a few instances where it looks a tad off and black fare well throughout. The source materials used for this transfer are free of any major print damage; grain is present and looks natural. Edge enhancement and DNR are kept in check.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in French and removable English subtitles have been included. Outside of a few words, the bulk of this soundtrack is made of sound effects and the film’s score. Both which fare well in this audio mix as they always sound clear and balanced.
Extras for this release are limited to a trailer for the film (1 minute 57 seconds – letterboxed widescreen – French with English subtitles), that starts off showing clips from other Luc Besson films before working its way backwards to The Last Battle. The theatrical trailer is presented in a standard definition PAL. Overall The Last Battle gets a solid audio / video presentation from Optimum Releasing.
Note: For those who are not region B BluRay compatible and are looking for an alternative BluRay release. It has been brought to my attention that there is a region free BluRay release that was released in France and it can be found here.