Review: ‘The Last Son’

Sam Worthington And Machine Gun Kelly Star In A Gritty, Slow Burn Western

The Last Son is the latest film from Redbox Entertainment that includes a blacklist script written by Greg Johnson (My Name Is Rabbit) and directed by Tim Sutton (Dark Night, Donnybrook, Funny Face). The film is set in the late 19th century and is filled with outlawed & gang driven cowboys, prostitutes, and the talk of Native Americans, more specifically, the Cheyenne tribe.  Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator Salvation, Clash of the Titans) stars as Isaac LeMay; a notorious outlaw who rose to fame after he was recruited by the United States Army to help wipe out the Native population to make way for white pioneers. Cutthroat and ruthless but not invincible, LeMay (Worthington) was told by a Cheyenne shaman of a prophecy that one of his own children would put an end to his life. Determined to outlive his own children, whom he fathered by several prostitutes, has set out to kill them all himself. A bounty is placed on his head as word gets out that LeMay has already killed six of his own kin. 

We don’t see the killings of all 6 children but the film’s story picks up on LeMay hunting down the last remaining three children. Twin sons that were mothered by prostitute, Anna (Heather Graham, Boogie Nights, The Hangover, From Hell) who placed them into adoption at birth because she couldn’t (given her lifestyle) give them healthy and protected lives. One was killed off right in the beginning of the film and Lemay searches for his last son, Cal (Colson Baker AKA, musician: Machine Gun Kelly) who is very much like his father.  For whatever reason Heather Graham, although plays a good hearted character, can’t seem to get away from the prostitute role. Please let this woman play anything but a sex driven/prostitute maniac. She is much better than this! Lemay, in the midst of looking for his last son, visits the home of another woman who left her old life and raised her daughter Megan (Emily Marie Palmer, Ithaca, Jungle Cruise, Just Beyond) away from danger. Unfortunately, this does not stop Lemay from coming around and even places a gun in her hand to see if she would actually pull the trigger. Seeing her weakness, Lemay spares her life but kills her stepfather instead. He leaves to hunt down who he thinks will fulfill the prophecy, his last son Cal (Baker). 

Cal has his own gang and together with his hand cranked machine gun set out to rob banks. His personality is unique in the sense that he is very protective over nature’s animals and even has a bit of an Oedipus complex as his sexual attraction toward his own mother, despite him being much older, can be seen several times throughout the film. Cal is not the only one wanting to hunt his father down either. A bounty gang that also includes Anna’s true love, the enigmatic U.S. officer Solomon (Thomas Jane, The Punisher, Deep Blue Sea, The Crow: City of Angels) is hot on Lemay’s trail. Soloman is a quiet man whose expertise stems from him being raised and trained by the Cheyenne tribe. Tension flares as each gang gets closer to their stand offs and shootouts. 

The Last Son is a gritty western whose slow burning mood centers around darkness and isolation as characters are faced with imminent death and turmoil. It lacks intensity and sometimes feels out of place however, the cinematography and landscape imagery are beautiful and well constructed. Bullets could hit on point but even the most skilled shooters/weapons failed to hit the mark, even when up close; totally lacking real dramatic and emotional effect. Although the film was a little better than I expected it to be, including the debut performance of Colson Baker/Machine Gun Kelly, however, it still does not pass as an enrapturing/memorable cowboy/western kind of film. A weekend spent warm under the blankets to pass the time of a watch but certainly not a must-see film at all.

The Last Son will have a limited premiere in theaters and be available day-and-date widely On Demand. Will be available at Redbox on December 10th.