Cinemax Friday: The Last Hour (1991, directed by William Sachs)

Because Eric (William Sachs) is a wealthy stockbroker who has just stolen five million dollars from the mafia, mob boss Lombardi (Bobby Di Cicco) sends a group of his enforcers to get both Eric and the moeny.  However, when they arrive at Eric’s home, they discover that he’s not there but his wife, Susan (Shannon Tweed), is!  After they kidnap Susan, they take her to an abandoned skyscraper and they wait for Eric to show up with the money.  However, Susan’s ex-husband, Jeff (Michael Pare), is a tough cop who is not going to let anyone get away with holding his ex-wife hostage.  After reluctantly teaming up with Eric, Jeff infiltrates the skyscraper and takes on the kidnappers, one-by-one.

What do we have with this movie?  We’ve got an abandoned skyscraper.  We’ve got a group of flamboyant hostage takers.  We’ve got a beautiful woman being held prisoner.  We’ve got a hero who is a tough cop and who loses his shirt early in the movie.  You probably think this is a Die Hard rip-off but consider this!  In Die Hard, the main bad guy was a European terrorist.  In The Last Hour, he’s an American mafioso.  Otherwise, this is totally a Die Hard rip-off.  It’s Die Hard with a much lower budget and with a wooden Michael Pare serving as an unconvincing stand-in for Bruce Willis.

However, The Last Hour does have two things that Die Hard could have used.  First off, it’s got Danny Trejo as one of the hostage takers.  Any movie with Danny Trejo is going to automatically be cooler than any movie without Danny Trejo.  Of course, this movie asks us to pretend that Michael Pare vs Danny Trejo would be a fair fight but we all know that, in the real world, Danny would totally win that battle.  The other thing that this movie has that Die Hard doesn’t is Shannon Tweed.  Shannon doesn’t get to do a lot.  If you want to see a Die Hard rip-off where Shannon really gets to show what she can do, watch No Contest.  Still, just as with Danny Trejo, any film with Shannon Tweed is automatically better than any film without her.

The Last Hour is no Die Hard, no matter how much it tries.  But if brings together Danny Trejo and Shannon Tweed and for that, late night Cinemax viewers everywhere give thanks.