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Last Round

NoShame Films // Unrated // November 15, 2005
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Svet Atanasov | posted November 10, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Film:

When Marco (Carlos Monzon) arrives in town with nothing else but a music box and a few folded pictures looking for a job everyone sees him as just another stranger ready to try his luck in the big city. Marco quickly confronts a few of the local Manzetti guerrillas and after a violent brawl which leads him straight up to their boss Rico (Luc Merenda) he is offered to join the "organization". After a quick testing period Marco is fully accepted and he slowly begins to work his way up the ladder. Soon, the Manzetti clan is faced with a difficult dilemma-they have to confront another rivaling group and as it seems blood is going to be spilled. But what is Marco's role in all of this?

Obviously influenced by the classic Italian spaghetti western A Fistful of Dollars (1964) impeccably directed by Sergio Leone Il Conto e chiuso a.k.a Last Round (1976) attempts to follow up its notorious predecessor in a manner that anything but elevates this film to the high standards set by the famous Italian picture. The slow pacing, the amateurish storyline, and above all unconvincing performances will hardly appeal to those fascinated with the Euro-crime genre and even less to those familiar with Leone's classic film.

The Last Round obviously draws inspiration from the complicated at the time social environment in Italy where the government faced some harsh criticism from the unions regarding the wide-spread unemployment and an economy that seemed to favor those closely associated with the incumbents. The social overtones in this film however hardly make up for an otherwise uneventful and quite frankly badly structured story. As it appears even the inclusion of such cult genre names as Luc Merenda who performed in the now notorious Le Monache di Sant' Arcangelo a.k.a Innocents from Hell (1973) and Gli Amici di Nick Hezard a.k.a Nick the Sting (1976) and Giampiero Albertini who got involved with such renowned productions as Jacques Deray's Flic Story (1975) and Le Gang (1977) did not save The Last Round from being just another unfortunate remake of a classic spaghetti western.

With all of this said The Last Round is not an utterly terrible film to watch. If you happen to be a die-hard Luc Merenda fan you would certainly want to look at Stelvio Massi's film and give it a spin. I just don't think that you will be that impressed especially given the fact that there is hardly any surprise element in the main story. Indeed this is one of the less impressive films from NoShame's catalog of fine Italian cinema which once again has been given more than a deserving treatment (read below):

How Does the DVD Look? Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, properly flagged, and enhanced for widescreen TV's NoShame's The Last Round is yet another print that impresses quite a bit. Despite the fact that there is some obvious print damage and a few distracting specks which appear here and there I am willing to give this presentation two thumbs up considering the age of the film and its low budget. With the opening credits to The Last Round we are told that certain imperfections could not have been removed from this print during its restoration in the NoShame labs in Italy and I am certainly willing to accept this as being the case. All in all with the good degree of contrast, the overall clean image (sans the above mentioned few specs), and excellent color rendition this is obviously another one of those high quality products we have come to expect from NoShame.

How Does the DVD Sound? With an optional English dub and the original Italian track with optional English subtitles The Last Round sounds great. There are hardly any imperfections that will detract from your viewing experience. I am particularly happy that NoShame continue to deliver the original Italian tracks for their films which places them far, far ahead of everyone else that attempts to be a competitive player on the DVD market. Well done NoShame!!

Extras: Perhaps the biggest selling point for this double DVD set is the inclusion of an entire CD with classic soundtrack tunes from the NoShame catalog titled The Ultimate Eclectic Cinedelic Experience: Funky Cops and Hard Boiled Girls (as performed by Entropia):

1."Black Jack" from SECRETS OF A CALL GIRL (by Luciano Michelini)

2."Drug Addict" from SPECIAL COP IN ACTION (by Franco Micalizzi)

3."La Mala Ordina" from THE ITALIAN CONNECTION (by Armando Trovajoli)

4."Mara's Theme" from FOREVER EMANUELLE (by Franco Micalizzi)

5."Il Libanese" from HIGH CRIME (by Guido & Maurizio De Angelis)

6."Milano Odia: La Polizia Non Puo' Sparare" from ALMOST HUMAN (by Ennio Morricone)

7."La Polizia Ha Le Mani Legate" from KILLER COP (by Stelvio Cipriani)

8."Affanno" from ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON (by Franco Micalizzi)

Additional extras include:

Enter the Merenda- On Site Visit to Luc Merenda's Antique Shop in Paris (35min.)

Poster and Still Gallery-

Original Italian Theatrical Trailer-

Original English Theatrical Trailer-

Final Words: While not an utterly impressive film (after all how could you top Sergio Leone in a remake) The Last Round will certainly impress those that consider themselves die-hard Luc Merenda fans. The most exciting part of this presentation however appears to be the classy and very well put together soundtrack with selected NoShame tunes. For this alone and the excellent price tag this 2DVD set comes with I could not but RECOMMEND IT.

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