The Last Stand Review
Arnold Schwarzenegger will always be remembered as a legendary action icon. That testament will never cease in my mind for as long as I live. Yeah, he is more of a presence than an actual actor, but he has had some gems in his resume. I love "True Lies." I love Terminator 1 &2. "Total Recall," "The Running Man," "Commando," and "Predator" are all very silly, non-polished films, but there is no denying they are at least fun. When Schwarzenegger went into politics, I never once thought he'd return to film. It kind of felt like the ending of era. But at the dawn of a new decade, perhaps he isn't finished quite yet.
If you go into "The Last Stand" thinking that this will transform Schwarzenegger from who he used to be. If you think this is the start of Schwarzenegger doing darker, edgier stuff. You will be sorely mistaken. "The Last Stand" is a fun movie that is completely in love with itself. Its an imperfect movie with lots of fun, which is basically what we always got from Schwarzenegger. I would not call that a bad thing though.
"The Last Stand" tells a fairly simple story. A former LAPD cop Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has become a sheriff in small town Arizona. He's had rough past, and wanted to retire somewhere with incredibly low crime rates to live out the rest of his criminal justice career. Meanwhile international criminal Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has escaped FBI custody and plans to drive from Las Vegas to Mexico. Outside Owens' small Arizona town, some of Cortez's henchmen lead by Burell (Peter Stormare) are building a bridge for Cortez to cross once he gets to the state. Cortez has already killed many FBI agents, and no help can get to the bridge site in time to stop Cortez. So Owens and his ragtag group of deputies have to stop Burell and Cortez's plot. It's a pretty straight forward story, if you expect something new and envisioned by Schwarzenegger's big return to major starring action, than you will be disappointed.
I am happy to report that Schwarzenegger is his original self. He has plenty of funny one-liners that will make old fans smile, and he really kicks some ass in this movie. Some of his deputies are played by Johnny Knoxville, Luis Guzman, and Jaimie Alexander (who you may remember for "Thor"). Each of these characters are funny, and have big moments where their characters shine, I like each of these actors and they deserve credit. Forest Whitaker plays a high-ranking FBI agent who keeps Owens in the loop of things. I always like Whitaker and he's become a pro with roles like this. Peter Stormare is one of the great bad guy actors still working, and turns out another mustache-twirling performance. I did like Eduardo Noreiga's work as Cortez. He was able to make a generic, forgettable character produce real depth.
The big action scene at the end is a lot of fun. In fact, that's the big thing with this movie, fun. This is a movie that doesn't try to be anything its not. I like that a lot. I loved the WWII machine gun hiding in the school bus. I loved the cat-and-mouse game with the sports cars in the corn fields. I loved Knoxville's quirky armor he wore to the gunfight. It's a great scene, and it made me smile big.
It seems like Schwarzenegger has found his footing once again, and that is a relief. I do not expect "The Last Stand" to be on the road to the Oscars next year, but its a fun couple hours.
FINAL GRADE: B