The Last Detail

The Last Detail


Reviewed by: John Gallagher

Billy 'Badass' Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and ‘Mule’ Mulhall (Otis Young) are two navy men given the task of escorting a prisoner, Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid), from one prison to another. Thinking that it will be the easiest detail they have ever had, they soon find out that sticking to the rules isn’t as much fun as breaking them.

This movie could be seen as the inspiration for 16 Blocks (the Bruce Willis flick); that is, if you took out the action and replaced it with some rather touching scenes when Badass and Meadows seem to bond over Meadows' first beer. The movie sees the navy men escorting Meadows from their post to Portsmouth navy prison for the crime of stealing $40 from a charity fund. As the movie goes on we see the relationship between the three men begin to take shape, and instead of taking Meadows to prison, they take him to get drunk, see his mother, get laid, and get into a fight with some army soldiers. At least it will be a journey to remember.

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Not exactly a great movie by the standard of some of Jack’s other movies, The Last Detail still keeps you entertained for one hour plus as Jack takes centre stage and outshines all others on screen. Otis Young is on hand as the other navy man to help escort the prisoner but he also provides the conscience to Badass as he tries to prolong the journey. Randy Quaid doesn’t really do much in this movie but instead he takes a back seat to allow Jack and Otis to guide him through the life that he could have had if only he had kept his hands in his pockets.

All in all not a bad movie but not a great one either. More of a Sunday afternoon movie than a Saturday night film.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
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Ordered to take a young convict to prison, two Navy officers decide to help him have one last good time.
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Director: Hal Ashby

Writer: Robert Towne, based on the novel by Darryl Ponicsan

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid, Clifton James, Carol Kane, Michael Moriarty, Luana Anders, Kathleen Miller, Nancy Allen, Gerry Salsberg, Don McGovern

Year: 1973

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


EIFF 2006
Cannes 2013

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Hal Ashby: The Last Detail