Directed by Fansu Njie, “Last Man Down” shows a post-apocalyptic world and tells the story of John Wood, an operative-turned-recluse who lives in the woods. After his wife is killed, he leaves his job to retire in the forest. But peace is only temporary as faces from the past return to hunt him down.
‘Last Man Down’ Plot Summary
A pandemic has hit Europe and wiped out almost all of its population. Those alive are moving up north, where they will be able to survive in isolated habitats. We see Wood on his knees with his hands tied behind his back, being questioned by Commander Stone. Wood has apparently been held responsible for the disappearance of 500 people, something which he denies. Despite repeated questioning, his answer remains the same. At the last resort, Stone uses Wood’s wife to compel him to reveal the location of those missing. Finally, Stone shoots his wife in front of him. Three years later, we see a rugged woodsman living in the woods all by himself. At times, he cannot help but be reminded of his days as an operative who wasn’t able to save all the innocent people who were killed by Stone on the basis that they might be affected. This is when we find out that he is immune to the virus and escaped from the ship (we don’t know how) where he was taken so that an antidote could be prepared from his blood. Since then, he has been in his present state.
One night, a wounded woman, Maria, arrives at Wood’s doorstep, to whom he decides to give shelter. She reveals that she is the very cure for the virus. She ran away from where she was held because she didn’t want the cure to lie in the hands of Commander Stone. So both of them team up to face Stone’s forces (apparently till death). They build fences and traps, load their guns and wait for their arrival. What follows is a long fight between them (too long), at the end of which Wood brings himself in front of Commander Stone and tells him that he has killed Maria. A revelation follows that Stone is John’s elder brother. Wood challenges Stone to a one-on-one fist fight that ends with Stone’s death. But just before the other military personnel could kill Wood, too, Maria comes out of hiding and surrenders herself on the condition that they will let Wood go unharmed. At the end of the movie, we see Maria captured, but she has already left a vial of blood at Wood’s hut along with a note telling him to get her blood to the people who truly need the cure.
‘Last Man Down’ Ending Explained
The revelation that Commander Stone is Wood’s brother doesn’t carry the punch. There is absolutely no establishment of the relationship they shared when they worked together in the military. There are only bits and pieces of information thrown our way which do show that they shared some kind of bond other than the probable fact of Stone being Wood’s immediate senior in the squad. The words exchanged between Stone and Wood in the chopper towards the beginning of the film do show that Stone is answerable to Wood in some way. Afterward, when Wood escapes and finds Stone in front of him, Stone merely stares at him without shooting him. Of course, he couldn’t kill Wood because then the cause of his immunity would not be discovered, and thus neither would the antidote. Yet, he could have gone for a flesh wound only to prevent Wood from running. But he doesn’t.
Towards the middle of the movie, there is a scene where Stone wonders about the timberman’s (Stone doesn’t know his identity yet) use of an ax, which is in stark contrast to his skills and efficiency that make him more like a Special Forces soldier. Here, Granite mentions that the guy probably wants to make the fight personal, and Stone’s expression that follows is one of agreement.
The final proof that Stone and Wood are related actually comes from Wood and not Stone. When Stone addresses him as a friend, Wood questions Stone’s nature and whether it has led him to address a family member as a friend. This is when Stone finally addresses him as his brother. His hatred for Wood stems from their childhood, as their father always favored Wood for his wood-cutting abilities, something we also get to see towards the beginning of the film. And Stone always found ways to take it out on him during their school days. So, now that Wood has gotten the better of him by killing all his men, he cannot digest it. He still tries to overpower him by having his people beat Wood. That he is weak deep within shows when he pulls a gun on him at the end of their fistfight. However, another reason for his inability to shoot is that, at the end of it all, Wood is his brother. But this doesn’t justify his actions towards Wood and his wife. We are unable to make out who pulled the trigger whose gunshot killed Stone. Is it Wood or Stone himself? Perhaps, if it was Stone, then it would be his fate. Or if it is Wood, then it would be justice. We mention justice because it is a moral imperative in the army. This is also why none of Stone’s folk intervene when they hear the gunshot. Be that as it may, Stone’s death is of no consequence as Wood is to be taken into custody.
“Last Man Down” doesn’t offer much clarity other than what we discussed above. And this is why the revelation doesn’t make the mark it should have. The whole movie basically stands on the dynamic between Stone and Wood, but the film completely ignores it. This results in a film that completely lacks motivation.
“Last Man Down” is a 2021 Action Drama film directed by Fansu Njie.