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The Last Chapter: Miniseries Review

The Last Chapter and
The Last Chapter II: The War Continues

In English (2002 and 2003)
Also available in French as Le Dernier Chapitre

Ross Desbiens: "Told you no last year. Told you no last month. Told you no last night. It's still no. What part of no don't you understand, Bob?"

The Last Chapter is a hard-hitting Canadian television mini-series about rival motorcycle gangs and illegal drug trafficking. Unfortunately, I don't care about either of these things. Fortunately, I ended up liking it, anyway.

This mini-series is actually two: The Last Chapter (2002) and The Last Chapter II: The War Continues (2003). One fun fact about it is that there are two different versions; they filmed every scene twice, once in English and once in French. Each version is twelve hours long. That's a lot of material to get through if you're not enthralled.

And I wasn't, at first. I had a hard time getting into the story, and (yes, I'll admit it) I fast-forwarded through a lot of scenes in the second and third parts. But just when I was about to give up, I finally started to get into it... in part four, which (not coincidentally), was when developments with Roy's character started to get interesting.

The plot is like a biker version of The Sopranos. Our two lead characters, Bob Durelle (Michael Ironside) and Ross Desbiens are close friends who become mortal enemies. They and their "brothers" make their living by running drugs and killing each other. The violence is realistic, brutal and unglorified; Michael Ironside's character Bob Durelle starts the series off with a murder. The subplots about Durelle's troublesome home life with his wife and children were intended to make him real, and allow us to see him at least somewhat sympathetically. I've always liked Michael Ironside, and I think he did a terrific job. Especially in the last couple of hours, which were the heaviest.

Ross Desbiens (Roy Dupuis) is a lot easier to like than Bob Durelle, and of course I was rooting for him to win the "war." Through most of the series, Desbiens is emotionally strung out as well as out of control. An outlaw, a drinker and a smoker, he wears leather and jewelry, his hair is stringy and his beard is scruffy. (And Roy still managed to look hot. How does he do it?) Desbiens is pretty much the antithesis of Michael on La Femme Nikita, which may be why Roy took the part. I bet it was fun for him.

Celine Bonnier plays Desbiens' wife, Wendy (what is with her hair?), and as usual, they are very believable as a couple. (I particularly liked their chocolate-sharing hang-gliding scene.) Marina Orsini plays Durelle's wife, Karen, which is the meatier female part, and she is very good. Nikita fans will be surprised and pleased by a brief guest stint by Don Franks, who plays an important biker from the States.

Despite the fact that the testosterone level was way too high for me, this is a watchable series, and I enjoyed it for what it was. I could watch it again, and I probably will.

Three out of four stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


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