By Merle Bertrand | October 8, 2001

Talk about a sucky predicament; digging your own grave. I mean, on the one hand, it’s hot, hard, sweaty work and you’d like to stop. Yet on the other, once you’re done digging, well, it means it’s unfortunately time to reap the, er, benefits of your labor. Such is the conflicted situation in which the prospective victim (Michæl Chiklis) finds himself in “Last Request.”
Bound and gagged in the trunk of a car, the burly, sweaty forced laborer, who bears a slight resemblance in physique as well as personality to George Castanza, finds himself digging his final resting place at the gun-point of a rookie hitman (David Gianopoulos). Seems the former made the mistake of inadvertently insulting mob boss Rudy Convatino and now he’s about to get “whacked” for it. Except that he proves to be a far better talker than shovel-turner, realizing quickly that his intended killer has never actually whacked anyone before.
Director Tom Hodges has crafted a clever, witty and well-managed black comedy in “Last Request.” Thanks in no small part to fine acting on the parts of misters Chiklis and Gianopoulos, together with snappy dialogue and just enough twists and turns to keep things interesting, Hodges keeps the viewer intrigued and genuinely curious as to what’s going to happen next. Even more impressive is that he manages to do so without letting the story drag on too long or, more importantly, without giving away the ending.
“Last Request” is a fun, highly entertaining piece of work. It makes me wonder what Hodges is going to “dig up” next.

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