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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

THE LAST DROP -- movie review by porfle

(NOTE: This review originally appeared online in 2005 at

No, it's not a feature-length commercial for Maxwell House coffee, although if it were, it would probably be a lot more entertaining.

THE LAST DROP (2005) starts out as though it might actually be worth watching, as we see a swarm of British bomber planes towing gliders filled with soldiers on their way to German-occupied Holland during the final days of WWII.  The CGI effects in this sequence are pretty good, giving the impression that the film we're about to see is a quality product, at least visually. 

But things go downhill from there as we discover that nothing else from this point will be anywhere near as impressive.  Camerawork and editing that are sloppy and choppy, respectively, combine with an often silly script, performances that range from bland to ridiculous, and a curiously underpopulated Europe to give THE LAST DROP the cheap aura of a made-for-TV movie that is reaching beyond its means to look like a "real" war film.

One of the gliders is shot down short of its landing zone and the soldiers, who are on a mission so top secret that only one of them knows what it is and he's not telling, are forced to make their way on foot toward their destination.  It turns out that they've been sent to protect a cache of priceless works of art stolen by the Nazis and stored beneath an old mill somewhere in rural Holland.  And they must get there before the goose-stepping kraut-snarfers come back and cart the treasure trove away for good. 

When the details of their mission finally become known to our heroes, a plan to snatch the loot for themselves pops into their sneaky little heads.  But they're not the only ones drooling for dollars -- there are also three greedy renegade Nazis on their way to grab summa dat booty, too.  

And as if that weren't enough, they're being hunted by a company of American G.I.'s led by "guest star" Michael Madsen, who has stumbled onto the fact that something's up and can't wait to stick his big nose right in the middle of it.

This might've been a passable flick if only the scriptwriters could've decided whether they wanted to give us a realistic war thriller like THE GUNS OF NAVARONE or THE WILD GEESE (on a considerably smaller scale, that is) or a grab-the-money-and-run knock-off of KELLY'S HEROES. 

In trying to combine the two, they've merely presented us with a cringe-inducing mess that doesn't add up to much of anything -- and the score mirrors this thematic indecisiveness by juxtaposing traditional orchestral music with, of all things, heavy metal. 

Some good actors such as Sean Pertwee (SOLDIER), Karel Roden (the lawyer from BLADE II), and Tommy Flanagan (the Irish mercenary who liked to make things explode in SIN CITY) struggle to bring underwritten characters to life, while TITANIC's Billy Zane wanders around in a role that gives him practically nothing to do. 

Michael Madsen, unfortunately, contributes his not-quite-A-list presence and nothing more (as he usually does in small films such as this), doing just enough to justify a paycheck while taking it about as seriously as he would mugging for home movies.  (His mug, of course, is plastered nice and big on the DVD cover as though he played a major role.)

Eventually, all of these sub-par shenanigans lead to a big -- ehh, not that big -- shootout as everyone tries to get to the plane that's been loaded with the art treasures and fly away.  It's not a very well-done or thrilling conclusion, and the tacked-on "gotcha" ending that's supposed to leave us with a smile sorta made me throw up in my mouth a little. 

Or maybe that was just my accumulated response to this entire movie, which I looked forward to seeing because I like a good war movie, and then regretted watching because I don't like a war movie that's boring, pointless, and just plain dumb.

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