"I see that John Holmes DNA
I included didn't go to waste."
The Last Man on Planet Earth takes place on our planet after women have somehow wiped out all of the men. Through bad cooking, no doubt. Actually, it turns out that the U.S. military, while in battle with Afghanistan, used a biological weapon called the "Y-Bomb." The bomb only killed men, but the virus mutated and spread across the globe, killing 97% of the men worldwide. Given the opportunity to gossip with impunity, the women left behind quickly decided that they didn't need men at all, so men were outlawed on the grounds that their aggressive and violent genetic tendencies were responsible for everything bad in the world.
What a different America it would be: Mary Kay would employ 25% of America's population. Entire restaurants would make for the restroom when one person stood to powder her nose. Every adult video store would look like something out of Howard Stern's dreams. There would be no sports, because everybody knows women can't play sports. And presumably, the entire country would grind to a halt once a month.
"Okay, listen carefully:
I want you to get me out of this
HMO facility and into a real
hospital right now."
For some reason this veritable paradise isn't good enough for one female scientist with the name of Hope Chase. Hope Chase? They might as well have named her Anita Mann! Hope takes the teachings of her older scientist mentor, Esther Gray (get it? get it?), and the cloning technology used to propagate the female race to create an outlawed male baby. Hope then takes the baby in her beat-up 1997 Volkswagen Beetle (it's the future, don't you know) and drives to her secluded cabin in the woods. We assume she got lost several times along the way, but at least she lives in a world without fear of asking for directions.
The male clone was designed to grow at an accelerated rate (shades of Dr. Frankenfurter), so within a month the baby has grown up in to a studly twenty-something man named --
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Take the following quiz:
If you were writing this movie, what would you name the cloned man?
a - Adam
b - Cloney the Wonder Clone
c - Rin Tin Tin
d - Dr. Doom
If you answered "a - Adam" we suggest you present yourself to the good people at Paramount immediately! (If only UPN were still showing Blockbuster Shockwave Theater.) If Paramount turns you down, try Columbia-TriStar. Their new Schwarzenegger flick is also about cloning, and its protagonist is also named Adam.
Adam has been designed with one quirk - all of the normal male genetic disposition towards violence was removed. We don't know exactly how this was accomplished, but we bet it involved playing the Oprah Winfrey Show during the gestation, and probably splicing in a whole bunch of Alan Alda's chromosomes.
"I don't care what movie this is,
I want to see an alien bursting
out of this man's chest stat!"
Full-grown Adam (Paul Francis) steals Hope's car (that's our boy!) and drives to nearby Washington, D.C. There he discovers that the whole world is populated with women (Hope decided not to tell him about this little technicality), and soon the police are in pursuit. Or maybe they're just some women in police uniforms who want to sleep with him. Anyhow, they chase him. We know this is a movie because the cops actually manage to catch him in the following car chase, despite the fact that it has been scientifically proven that women are bad drivers. Adam narrowly escapes police custody and hooks back up with Hope.
Meanwhile, two FBI agents are on their trail. These agents are Kara Hasting (Tamiyln Tomita) and Greene, whom we assume is a rookie. They show up at Ester's house, where Esther denies knowing anything about Adam's whereabouts. But Kara is one smart chick, so she quickly realizes that no one ever said the renegade man's name is Adam. In the melee that follows Hope is shot and Adam finds himself alone and on the run from the FBI and its evil Director, played by Veronica Cartwright.
Giving us further insight into the enlightened society that has grown in the absence of men, Adam is recruited by/given asylum at a brothel called Lysistrata. Lysistrata serves a female clientele from an aged stable of men who survived the Y-Bomb. Yes, the title is a complete lie. Hope saves Adam from the cathouse (doghouse?), but they are separated again. Adam then hooks up with the Reclaimers, a group of militant men who want to overthrow the female regime. The Reclaimers hang out at an abandoned football stadium, which may be this weak script's best attempt at satire, but logically speaking it seems a little too vulnerable to serve as a good hideout. Our suspicions are confirmed a few scenes later when most of the Reclaimers are killed by an FBI helicopter firing anti-football stadium missiles. Oddly, that helicopter is a civilian model and the missiles seem to be coming out of nowhere, but we suspect that with this film's budget they were lucky to get any sort of helicopter at all.
"Just the facts, ma'am."
The movie proceeds to a completely predictable conclusion. If you are expecting some great statement or even some mild surprises, look elsewhere. Most of the creative team on this movie are also involved in Star Trek: Voyager, which is interesting, because this movie somewhat resembles Planet Earth (1974), just one of Gene Roddenbury's many projects featuring a guy named Dylan Hunt who transported to a strange future. There are also elements of Brave New World here, but little of the social commentary.
Last Man on Planet Earth is such a by-the-numbers movie that we conjured up images of the writer and director poring over a Paramount "How to Make a Star Trek Episode" manual. It's a perfect example of "first level" plot, with the sort of thinking that takes the first logical step and stops there. For example: what would the men who survived the Y-bomb and found themselves exiled be like? First they'd be bitter, and they'd want women. So those are the only motivations that these characters are given. Wouldn't this novel set of circumstances result in equally novel reactions from these men, especially after twenty years or more? Wouldn't they start to develop their own culture, a more permanent way of life than camping in a football stadium? Not according to these filmmakers, who portray extended male exile as no more than a particularly grimy hunting trip.
It's not as if Last Man is a bad idea for a movie. On the contrary, this could have been an intriguing exploration of gender roles as was The Stepford Wives. Instead, the movie plays out like a cousin of the execrable Stepford Husbands, complete with an opening for a sequel. And if you need our help figuring out what that opening might be, you might actually find yourself entertained by this sorry excuse for a science fiction film.
See our extra-special bonus P.M.S. piece, which contains a look at an exciting new TV show and its even more exciting health product for the ladies!