Combustible Celluloid
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With: Skylar Witte, Brock Harris, Peter Sherayko, Cam Gigandet, Bruce Dern, Michael Welch, Jay Pickett, David DeLuise, Caia Coley, Brock Burnett, Keikilani Grune
Written by: Lee Martin
Directed by: Michael Feifer
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and bloody images
Running Time: 86
Date: 12/03/2021

Last Shoot Out (2021)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Slow Frown Showdown

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This low-budget Western looks great, with its minimal use of the lonely station, a stagecoach, and a horse-and-wagon, but it's also a bit too talky and low-key, with minimal action and little spark.

New bride Jocelyn (Skylar Witte) overhears her new in-laws talking about how they murdered her father. She jumps on a horse and escapes into the wild. Later, two travelers, gunslinger Billy Tyson (Brock Harris) and old-timer Red (Peter Sherayko), meet up and decide to ride together. It's not long before they discover Jocelyn, who was thrown by her horse and left without food or water.

The men decide to help her, just as brother-in-law Sid (Cam Gigandet) finds her and begins forcibly trying to drag her back. Billy and Red defend her, and leave Sid alive. The trio heads to Rhyker's Station, and prepare for the inevitable showdown as Jocelyn's husband Jody (Michael Welch) and her scheming father-in-law (Bruce Dern) plan their attack.

Directed by the prolific Michael Feifer, Last Shoot Out treads very familiar ground, with its mismatched collection of characters (Stagecoach, The Tall T) to its single location (Man of the West, Old Henry), but it still feels listless, as if shrugging, and acknowledging that it failed to come up with anything new. For the first two-thirds, everything is covered by dialogue — frequently repeated — adding to its passive quality.

Feifer seems to have an appreciation for the sights and sounds of the Western genre, and his camera revels in rich details. The well-worn grooves of some of the character types tend to work, including the easy repartee between Billy and Red, a character named Twigs (Jay Pickett) adds an interesting wrinkle; he works for the villains, but has a past with Billy.

But top-billed Bruce Dern is barely in the movie (he's an advertising device), and a romantic subplot between Jocelyn and Billy is senselessly, forcefully shoehorned in. When the action finally kicks in, it's too little, too late, and Last Shoot Out leaves off with a whimper rather than a bang.

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