by Adam Riske
• Best Scene/Moment: There’s a moment during the climax where Mark Ruffalo annihilates a guard tower with a helicopter’s tail rotor. It’s an amazing practical effect.
• Best Song: “Ante Up (Robbin Hoodz’ Theory) by M.O.P. It plays near the beginning of the movie when we’re introduced to the rough & tumble prison inmates with a rough & tumble song!
• Best Merch Available on eBay Right Now: Literally nothing unless you want a poster or a press kit. Ugh!
• Director Check: The Last Castle was directed by Rod Lurie who, to my surprise, is a director I’m a bigger fan of than I initially thought. Looking at his filmography, I do like The Contender, The Last Castle, Resurrecting the Champ, and Nothing but the Truth. His output of the last decade was a mix of theatrical features and television movies, including a Straw Dogs remake (which I’ve not seen) and 2020’s The Outpost which also was surprisingly good.
• Year 2001 Movies to Trailer Before It: 3000 Miles to Graceland, Behind Enemy Lines, The Score
• Draft Day or The Last Castle? Draft Day
• Mall Movie? No. Robert Redford has probably never been to a mall so his movies can’t play there.
• Only in 2001: A $78M budgeted DreamWorks Pictures prison action-drama starring Robert Redford.
• Scene Stealer (tie): Mark Ruffalo back when he was an interesting and exciting newcomer and Steve Burton, who plays a Captain that’s second-in-command to James Gandolfini’s malevolent Colonel. He just seems like a dependable dude. I’m surprised he wasn’t in more movies after this.
• I Miss: James Gandolfini. He’s great in the movie playing a dark, vindictive character who’s even worse because he thinks he’s genial and fair.
• I Don’t Miss: Robert Redford idolatry.
• 2001 Crush: Robin Wright cameo?
• 2021 Crush: Robin Wright cameo?
• What I Think in 2021: Its eye rolling and corny at times, but The Last Castle is a fun watch overall and a good pick for either Vigilante or Free Space Day this Junesploitation. The film features strong performances from Gandolfini and Ruffalo, a terrific action climax with heaps of prison mayhem, and all the split diopter shots money can buy.
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