A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Few if any positive messages. Characters are violent, self-motivated, and show little regard for human life.
Positive Role Models
John Smith is a mercenary who kills freely and for money. He does show some honor, particularly toward the women in the town who he tries to protect. But even then it feels self-serving. Other characters -- most of whom are members of gangs -- are violent, ruthless, and treat women appallingly. Sheriff Ed Galt shows cowardice in standing up to the gangsters.
It's a White-male dominated cast. The very few female characters of note may have a significant role in the narrative, but their screen time is limited. They are also treated badly by their male counterparts. Two rival gangs -- one Italian, one Irish -- play into negative stereotypes.
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Violence & Scariness
Violent from start to finish. Mostly gun violence, with large-scale shootouts and massacres occurring. Huge death count with bodies everywhere. Characters are tortured. A dead horse is seen. Houses are burned down. A character shows off their wounds and scars -- including where their ear was cut off -- suffered as a result of domestic violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character is seen having intercourse with a sex worker before they are interrupted by criminals with guns. Character is seen in the bath, but the cloudy water is covers any sensitive body parts. Partial nudity when a character is seen topless in front of a mirror.
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Language such as "s--t" and "bulls--t" are heard. Women are referred to as "whores" and a character is called a "half-wit."
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Products & Purchases
The main character is a gun for hire, motivated by making as much money as they can, even if that means double-crossing or killing people. Rival gangs are also motivated by money.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Set during the Prohibition, gangs deal in illegal liquor. Characters are frequently seen drinking alcohol together in bars, and smoking cigarettes. A character is forced to drink liquor when being tortured.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Last Man Standing is an incredibly violent film with a huge body count. John Smith (Bruce Willis) is a gun for hire during Prohibition who finds himself in the middle of a war between rival Irish and Italian gangs. The violence is never ending and the sound of gunshots will be ringing in your ears long after the credits roll. Characters are beaten and a dead horse is shown. There is a notable lack of female roles in the film, and those that are given any real screen time are treated as pawns by the gangsters. In one scene, a woman shows off the graphic scars she received at the hands of her abusive partner, including a severed ear. Smith is a true antihero, you can't help but root for. He plays people against each other, with multiple lives lost as a result, just so his pockets get deeper. He shows honor however, if no loyalty. Smith has sex with a sex worker, but no real nudity is shown. Language includes "s--t" and "whore." Drinking features prominently, with characters regularly seen drinking and the gangs selling illegal liquor. Also some smoking, reflecting the time period. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With its hazy, sepia-tinged lens, and helped along by the film-noir style narration, this Prohibition-era action-packed crime drama has the look and feel of a classic. Last Man Standing is unashamedly cinematic in that regard, playing up to it in a slick and confident manner. Released in 1996, Willis is truly at the height of his powers, in full flow as the gun for hire. Few actors have ever played antiheroes quite like he does, as he somehow keeps you on his side throughout, despite everything inside you telling you that he's a bad man.
However, the film does fall a little too lazily into gun shootouts. Where you may hope for a little more narrative exploration, or character development, large portions of the film are just spent watching men firing guns at one another. But the stylistic endeavors of director Walter Hill, as well as the supporting cast -- which includes Christopher Walken and Bruce Dern (not to mention a surprise cameo from Leslie Mann) -- ensure this remains on the right side of good, even if the characters do not.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.