It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
There are moments in "The Last Run" when you squirm with delight, because here's a gangster movie, at last, that almost seems to understand what gangster movies were about. But these moments are so few that perhaps they're left over from the movie's earlier incarnation, when John Huston was the director. Huston and the star, George C. Scott, had a quarrel, and Huston walked off the set to be replaced by that prince of mediocrities, Richard Fleischer.
With Huston directing Alan Sharp's interesting screenplay, the movie would still have had the good stuff, I think, and would have avoided the embarrassing collapses of tone that wreck this version. At the end, for example, we get this incredible sequence: Scott is dying on the beach. Cut to his car, where a Spanish cop turns off the ignition key. Cut back to Scott, who dies as the engine dies. Stone drunk, Huston would have been incapable of mawkishness on this scale.
Scott plays a semi-retired gangster who used to drive Chicago hoods. He's brought out of retirement to drive an escape car for Tony Musante, who brings along his girlfriend and is, it turns out, double-crossed by the people who sprung him. That leaves Scott and his passengers on the run. While they're running, their relationship develops and Scott falls in love with the girl.
So far, so good. But then Fleischer permits lines of dialog that spoil the tone. The girl tells Musante, for example: "I never liked making love that way, until you taught me." What way? We're on the edge of our seats. Comes the love scene, and he gives her a hickey on the neck. She's a hickey freak? This is love?