Oldies New to DVD/Blu-ray Oldies New to DVD/Blu-ray




For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sharon Stone won an Oscar nomination in 1996 for Martin Scorsese’s ‘Casino’ but truth be told, she’s been best used as window-dressing; she’s never has been much of an actress. And this starring effort only proved the point. Still, it’s been given a Blu-ray upgrade by Kino Lorber, which should please her fans. My review was published on May 3, 1996, in the Deseret News.

Sharon Stone is trying to be taken "seriously" as an actress with her Oscar-nominated role in "Casino" and now as a death-row inmate in "Last Dance."

Affecting an accent that may remind you of Jodie Foster in "Nell," Stone plays Cindy Liggett, who has languished in prison some 12 years for a murder committed when she was a teenager and under the influence of drugs.

But now she is about to be executed in this unidentified Southern state and rookie rebel-without-a-cause attorney Rick Hayes (Rob Morrow, at his most smug) has been assigned to her clemency appeal. And he's happy to make Cindy his cause.


     Sharon Stone, left, Rob Morrow, 'Last Dance'

Rick comes to believe the case was mishandled and that justice was not served. Further, he comes to feel Cindy has been rehabilitated, that she's not the same person she was all those years ago.

So, bucking the system, he races the clock to make her case heard, appealing to the governor (Australian actor Jack Thompson, affecting a Southern accent) and trying to find an appeals judge who will hear his pleas.

He also strikes up a tenuous relationship with Cindy, a sort of platonic romance that virtually takes over his life.

Perhaps it's an unfair comparison, but if we had not had "Dead Man Walking" so recently it would be easier to view "Last Dance" as better than it is — the superficial treatment of characters and issues might not be quite so obvious.


But as it is, "Last Dance" simply fails to measure up on any level, especially when it reaches its ridiculous deadline climax, which offers a double-whammy ending that stretches credulity to the breaking point.

Stone isn't too bad, though she has her over-the-top moments, and the supporting cast certainly tries hard — Randy Quaid is best, bringing life to the proceedings whenever he's on screen as Rick's cynical boss.

But screenwriter Ron Koslow ("LIfeguard," "Firstborn," "Into the Night") doesn't bring any depth to his screenplay and director Bruce Beresford hasn't been at his best lately. (Beresford has done some brilliant work with the likes of "Tender Mercies" and "Driving Miss Daisy," but his more recent string of films include the deplorable "A Good Man in Africa" and "Silent Fall.")

"Last Dance" is rated R for violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity and drug abuse.