The Last Stand is the return of action star Arnold Schwarzenegger to the big screen in his first staring role since 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Directed by Kim Ji-woon, who is mostly known in the Asian film market, The Last Stand marks Ji-Woon’s US debut. It is a basic action flick fans of Schwarzenegger will find very familiar, it starts with a bang and ends with Arnold giving you exactly what you wanted.
The movie stays true to the action movie troupes that people come to expect. A notorious drug lord of the most ruthless drug cartel in Mexico has escaped the bumbling FBI. He has the fastest car ever apparently, one that’s driving non-stop to the Mexican border from Las Vegas, leaving a trail of destruction along the way. No one can stop him except one man! Enter small town sheriff Ray Owens, played by Schwarzenegger. The Sheriff and his small band of officers are out gunned and out matched, but one thing is clear: this man will not get past Schwarzenegger!
The flick has some decent characters in it. All the actors work well off of each other, enough that if there were a sequel using the same characters I don’t think it would be bad. Jamie Alexander and Luis Guzman play two of Schwarzenegger’s officers. Both are used well and bounce off Arnold great, leading you to almost want to see a Schwarzenegger/Guzman buddy-cop flick. It would be a Lethal Weapon type, except they’re both getting too old for this shit. The comic relief comes from Johnny Knoxville, who isn’t terrible, but a little bit of him can go a long way. The villains are the standard you would require in this flick: all guns and no brains. Their deaths are ramped up in great action movie style, each one becoming more horrific, which is awesome.
One negative I felt the film had was with all the terrible accents that are never once explained. Granted in a flick like this, does it matter? Probably not. But it was a little jarring though. Never once is it mentioned that Schwarzenegger himself isn’t from around there. Not unlike most of his 80’s flicks where the filmmakers always made it a point to make sure the audience knew where he was from. The amount of Latino actors trying to do American accents become almost comical. They do an okay job, but it seems easier to just make them Latino characters. The main villain is barley understandable through his Speedy Gonzales voice. But to be honest, all this just made me enjoy the movie more. Because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, it’s an action flick. Tons of shit is going to blow up and really, isn’t that why you went?
Lets be clear, there’s nothing so groundbreaking to the action genre that it will be added to the pathos of action films. The real reason people are going to go see this is because of Schwarzenegger. The man has had one of the best careers in the action genre. His fan base has come to expect bad one-liners, lots of things blowing-up, lots of guns, and him being the badass that he is. But there is an issue here, he’s 65. He looks like it. Time has been rough on Schwarzenegger. But what this movie is showing us is that it doesn’t matter, even being a senior citizen he can still kick some major ass. And he does.
I’m a little bias, I love a good Schwarzenegger flick. This movie gave me everything I wanted. He played the role of an aging cop in a small sleepy town well, considering he is an aging man. He looks old in certain parts and even with his pants up to his chest I felt he gave me the Schwarzenegger I wanted to see. The movie has major shortcomings, but I feel that’s why most of the viewers are going to go. People love formulaic action flicks like this. It delivers enough car stunts, shoot-outs, and fistfights to be just another awesome Schwarzenegger flick where we see our hero kicking ass and taking names.