|The Last Stand
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville, Forrest Whitaker
Direced By: Jee-woon Kim
And now we save the best for last. If you saw my other two reviews on Friday, then you know that this weekend was little rough and I needed some salvation. Lucky for me, that salvation came in the form of former action great Arnold Schwarzenegger. The thing that always separated Arnold from the rest of the pack was his ability to give that little wink to the audience, letting them know that he wasn’t going to take things too seriously. He was the guy with the better one-liners, the better films and a career that lasted way longer than his contemporaries. But politics put a hold on Arnold’s career, leaving many wondering when his reign as the Governorator was over, would ever dance with the one that brought him. Well, you know the ending to that story…
So here we have Arnold’s first starring role, post politics, with The Last Stand. A movie that is hard to dislike, despite its laundry list of been there done how to make an action movie that sells approach. And when I say this movie is hard to dislike, I mean it. I really tried to not like this movie. Sitting there rolling my eyes at the paint by numbers dialogue, the embarrassing character exposition and a cast of supporting characters right out of casting central. The movie delivers in spades. But there is just something soothing with watching Schwarzenegger kick a little ass. Yeah Arnold is a little older and a little slower, but aren’t we all? Oh and the movie is a lot more violent than I expected it to be. Hooray for blood splattering head shots!
Arnold plays Ray Owens, the sheriff of sleepy Somerton Arizona. There isn’t much to do in Somerton. A point that is made by telling you that there is not much to do. Thanks screenwriter, we never would’ve been able to figure that out on our own. Ray wants it that way, as his backstory is he was a police officer with the LAPD and after a drug bust gone bad, he left for quieter pastures. That information is useless to this story by the way (part of the crappy exposition…thanks again screenwriter But there‘s a storm coming in the form of drug cartel kingpin Garbriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega). A guy who’s bad news…because we’re told he’s bad news. Cortez henchmen bust him out while being transferred to a maximum security prison by FBI agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker). He hops into a super charged Corvette and makes his way towards the US/Mexico border. Betch you’ll never guess which sleepy Arizona town he’s heading for…
So Ray and his band of seemingly naïve deputy’s (including one Luis Guzman ) a gun nut (Johnny Knoxville) who’s only purpose in the movie is to provide weapons and the ex-boyfriend of one of the deputy’s (Rodrigo Santoro) who’s only purpose in the movie is….well I’m not sure exactly, his character is pretty useless but whatever. Together they take a stand against Cortez and his men and miracously become not so naive anymore.
The movies big saving grace is the last 30 minutes or so during the final showdown. Director Jee Woon-Kim’s action sequences are well executed, if a little uninspired. And with many a Schwarzenegger movie there is comedy, which surprisingly works in this movie. I’ll admit it; there were a couple of scenes where I Iaughed out loud a little...but only a little.
It was good to see Schwarzenegger back. Sure he was in the Expendables movies, but here it’s his show. Like I said before, he’s a little older, a little slower, but at least he wasn’t trying to spin a yarn that he’s a younger fitter man (take note Stallone). And while I enjoyed The Last Stand, it’s a wait for it to come out on DVD type of movie.