The film “The Last Battle” (original French title: “Le dernier combat“, German title: “Der letzte Kampf“) was produced by future star director Luc Besson (“Léon – The Professional“, “Nikita“, “The Fifth Element“, “The Deep Blue“, “Lucy“, “Anna“) and Pierre Jolivet. The film, which Luc Besson also directed for the first time and which is now available in HD for the first time in Germany, Austria and Switzerland via UCM.ONE‘s film label B-Spree Classics, was nominated for the César in the category “Best Debut Film” in 1984.
Sometime after the nuclear apocalypse: Earth is a desolate pile of rubble with few resources left. The few surviving people have either come together in small communities or roam the world as loners. They have forgotten how to speak and conflicts are usually settled violently. There is a struggle for bare survival. A man (Pierre Jolivet) flees from a brutal gang in his improvised flying machine after injuring their leader (Fritz Wepper). When he crashes his flying machine, a doctor (Jean Bouise) unexpectedly grants him refuge. But even here the man is not safe, because in the end only the strongest will survive…
During the entire film, there is virtually no text, only “Bon jour” is whispered twice. Incidentally, Jean Reno received a fee of 500 francs for his participation, but the film had a budget of around 17 million francs.
Composer Éric Serra created the soundtrack for the film. The main piece is the song “Parking“. Although Éric Serra has hardly achieved stardom so far, he is represented on the soundtracks of many well-known films. Director Luc Besson, for example, repeatedly enlists the Frenchman, born in 1959, for his films. Serra was already involved in “Subway” from 1985 and contributed two songs. He also had his first and so far only appearance in front of the camera in this film, when he played a bass player in a supporting role. This was followed by cinema hits such as “The Deep Blue” (1988), “Léon the Professional” (1994), “James Bond 007: Golden Eye” (1995) and, in 1997, some of the truly exceptional pieces on the soundtrack of “The Fifth Element“, another hit by star director Luc Besson.
German actor Fritz Wepper can be seen in a supporting role. Fritz Wepper, born in Munich in 1941, played the role of Inspector Harry Klein continuously from 1969 to 1998, first in 66 episodes alongside Eric Ode in the series “Der Kommissar” until 1974 and then in the series “Derrick” alongside Horst Tappert. In 2007, Wepper then acted again in the Norwegian comedy series “Rikets røst” in three episodes a version of his role Harry Klein. From 2002 to 2021, Wepper then played the mayor Wolfgang Wöller, who in the series “Um Himmels Willen” (English: “For God’s Sake“) repeatedly has trouble with nuns who are as lovable as they are quick-witted.
“The Last Battle’ is raw, unadorned and authentic. With astonishingly realistic images of run-down areas and buildings, as well as an interesting story, Besson shows that he could have actually directed much more profoundly than he showed with all his later works.” (blu-ray-reviews.net)
“With a minimal budget, Luc Besson has created a true work of art in his debut feature that has many fans, but certainly just as many critics… For me, an insider tip!” (dvd-sucht.de)
“‘The Last Battle’ is one of the best entries on the post-Armageddon Earth alongside ‘Mad Max 2′, ’12 Monkeys’, ‘Matrix 1’ and ‘Delicatessen’.” (ofdb review)
“‘The Last Batle’ is a curiosity and a little too long for its narrow subject. But it’s also a bravura first film, using the simplest of means to show humour, pathos, suspense and even a well-articulated definition of basic human needs.” (Janet Maslin, nytimes.com)
“A bold, beautiful film! Personally, I’ve always considered “Subway” Luc Besson’s best work, but ‘The Last Stand’ is just as impressive.” (Dr. Svet Atanasov, blu-ray.com)
“‘The Last Battle’ requires some patience, but it’s really worth it. However, even if you share this opinion, be prepared to argue about the finer points. I, for one, am a big fan of the minimalist elements of Eric Serra’s score, whose low tones, heartbeat percussion and electronic abstractions seem to me perfectly suited to the other-worldliness of the setting.” (cineoutsider.com)
“The post-apocalyptic vision that director Luc Besson creates in his feature-length debut is as interesting in its bleak, bizarre nature as the radically stripped-down production…” (Patrick Reinbott_moviebreak.co.uk)
“It’s an impressive first feature for Besson. He creates a vivid world of junk and dirt and guys with weird faces. There’s something of Jean-Pierre Jeunet in some of Besson’s work, and this film leans more on that side than the exploitation producer’s.” (outlawvern.com)
“There is a cinema of autism, and Luc Besson is its prophet” (Zeit Online).
“Stylised vision of the end times” (Video.co.uk)
“Surreal end-time fable” (Frankfurter Rundschau)
Limited Mediabook | Picture format Blu-Ray: WS 2.35:1 / 1080p 24 / bw; DVD: WS 2.35:1 (anamorphic) | Total running time Blu-Ray: approx. 93 min.; Total running time DVD: approx. 89 min. | Sound format Blu-Ray: French DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; DVD: French DD 2.0 | Subtitles: German, Extras: Original trailer, artwork gallery, 16-page booklet – Mediabook | Rating: FSK 16