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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Science Fiction > Terrorism > Post Apocalypse > Cars > Gasoline > Oil > Politics > The Last Chase (1981/Code Red DVD)

The Last Chase (1981/Code Red DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C     Film: D



Many movies, whether from the left or the right of the political spectrum, have an agenda they push.  A message purporting a certain viewpoint.  The best of these films possess nuance, a subtlety of message that at least acknowledges the other side.  The Last Chase (1981) is not one of these movies.  This right-wing, post-apocalyptic fantasy fever-dream possesses all of the subtlety of a Gallagher performance.  Lee Majors stars as ex-racer Franklyn Hart (not to be confused with the mean boss in 9 To 5), a man caught in a “future” America where oil has seemingly run out, a plague has denuded the population, and citizens are dominated by a fascist government that forces them to endure the unthinkable evil of mass transit.  Yes, the metro is your enemy, but you better learn to love it, citizen, or you’ll be treated to bed and breakfast at your local  re-education center! 


Yes, the film pushes a somewhat tenuous link between personal autonomy and gas-powered automobiles.  The very idea completely discounts the power of American innovation to solve complex problems.  If oil did indeed reach a peak, and then subsequently disappear from the market, wouldn’t American scientists race to develop electric, solar, and other alternate fuel vehicles?  Aren’t we doing this right now? 


Mr. Majors sleepwalks through this hack-job not so ably assisted by actors Chris Makepeace and Harvey Atkin (both fresh off tour de force performances in 1979’s Meatballs).  Once Majors’ character and the young proto-hacker Ring (played by Makepeace) flaunt authority and take off in a Porsche race car, a grizzled combat pilot is called out of retirement to put a stop to their cross-country trip.  In perhaps some of the worst casting in cinema history, Burgess Meredith plays Captain J.G. Williams, the one-time war hero and ace pilot--what, Ernest Borgnine was not available? 


This film fails epically on every level.  The performances are tepid, the plot is shoddy, the villainization of mass transit is laughable, and the picture and sound are reminiscent of a camcorder taping of a local television broadcast of the film.  The anamorephcially enahnced 1.78 X 1 image is soft, looking like it came from a 16mm print though thyis was supposedly shot in 35mm and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono soundtarck that sounds a few generations down and does a disservice to Gil Melle’s score.  Extras includes director’s feature length audiuo commentary not even noted on the case, two interviews, trailers for other Code Red releases, which is ironic since work is they may be folding and amusing when the makers tyr to make this into something it is not.


If you’re searching for a Lee Majors fix, skip this disc and instead seek out some episodes of Fall Guy or The Six Million Dollar Man, both reviewed elsewhere on this site.  The Last Chase will leave you wishing for the first metro ride out of the living room. 



-   Scott Pyle


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