October 6, 2023

THE LAST BLOOD: Ferocious & Funny

1991 / 90 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😸

Ignore the Hard Boiled II part of the title. The Last Blood is not a sequel to the John Woo classic and deserves better than a superfluous attempt to cash in on brand name recognition. This was actually first-released before Hard Boiled and is an excellent action film in its own right.

A terrorist group called the Japanese Red Army (JRA) attempts an assassination on religious leader Daka Lama, shooting him and vacationing bystander May (May Lo). Both survive, but require blood transfusions within 12 hours or they’re gonna die. Not only do they share the same rare blood type, there are only three potential donors in Hong Kong, all of whom are now targeted by the JRA.

So the race is on for Interpol cop Lui Tai (Alan Tam) to track down one of the donors. But he’s not the only one…May is the girlfriend of triad gangster Mr. B (Andy Lau), who’ll stop at nothing to save her and doesn’t care how important Daka Lama is. After the JRA kills two donors, everyone’s now hunting for the last…a low level criminal named Fatty (Eric Tsang). Undermining each other at first, Tai and Mr. B eventually team up to try and bring Fatty to the hospital before the JRA gets him.

When someone takes the parking space you were staking out.
Right from the get go, The Last Blood hits the ground running and seldom slows down, serving up plenty of well-orchestrated gunplay, chases, explosions and close-quarters fighting. But it’s not simply mindless action. Despite the simplicity of the plot, there are some great narrative curveballs and most of the characters are pretty engaging…even Fatty, who initially comes across as buffoonish comic relief, is someone we become invested in.

Speaking of comedy, The Last Blood is often extremely funny. But unlike many Hong Kong action flicks of the era where stupid broad comedy is shoehorned uncomfortably alongside brutal violence, this one earns its laughs, mostly through the amusing antagonistic banter between Mr. B, Tai and Fatty (though the biggest laugh-out-loud moment comes at the end, from Daka Lama, of all people).

With solid writing and direction by Wong Jing, The Last Blood is the total package, a wildly entertaining film that boasts equal measures of action and humor. Of all the Hong Kong classics recently resurrected on Blu-ray by 88 Films, this is easily the best one…and definitely not a sequel.


AUDIO COMMENTARY - By Hong Kong film expert Frank Djeng.




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