Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on January 18, 2013
Directed by Jee-woon Kim
Written by Andrew Knauer
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Rodrigo Santoro, Peter Stormare, Jaimie Alexander, Eduardo Noriega, Luis Guzmán, Zach Gilford, Johnny Knoxville, Genesis Rodriguez, Daniel Henney, Harry Dean Stanton
There are two ways to look at The Last Stand, the latest from Arnold Schwarzenegger and his return to starring roles after a ten-year hiatus: on one hand, you can consider it a typical, seen-it-before, guns-a-blazin’ action movie loaded with by-the-numbers dialogue, corny one-liners, and as far as the logistics of the story went, enough holes to make a sieve jealous…or, you can do what I did when I reached the film’s midway point, and finally accept that it was nothing more than ’70s B-movie drive-in fare, that was to be absorbed into that forgiving section of your mind reserved for product such as this.
The title just about tells it all, as Arnold and his tiny border town police force must stop an escaped convict and his weapons-toting cronies from making it to freedom in Mexico; with Arnold as sheriff, you know that’s not going to happen. Of course, the bad guys were typically over-the-top for this sort of thing, and Schwarzenegger’s faithful sidekicks—Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzmán—were around strictly for comedic affect, and that aspect right there basically jettisoned whatever serious expectations I might’ve carried into the viewing. I’m not a fan of either one of these actors, and their presence was grating, if not downright irritating.
And that’s something I’ve never understood about these shoot-’em-up action flicks, or any action flicks for that matter: why have these silly, overtly-clichéd supporting characters who serve no purpose but to supply cheeky humor? And why make them so ungodly bothersome? I promise you, Arnold could’ve handled these battlefront confrontations very well on his own, without some skinny dink—wearing a fleece-lined hunting cap, a pair of goggles, and a panda bear t-shirt, to convince us how wonderfully off-kilter he was—getting in the way and cluttering the soundtrack with his clunky witticisms.
Admittedly, it was a blast watching Schwarzenegger do his thing (though his actions were far more believable than his acting), and you definitely wanted the bad guys to violently get their due, so in that regard it was all a success. But remember, to avoid disappointment, you must go into it knowing it’s not to be taken seriously; once you get past the constant hail of bullets, the forced ignorance that was applied to the FBI and local law enforcement, and the fact that—most of the time—the opposition’s assault rifles couldn’t shoot straight, you might wind up having some fun with this one. (6/10)