Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Gather 'round children, those of you… say under twenty.  The guy in this movie, one Arnold Schwarzenegger, who you might only know as the governor who drove a state into the dirt and that guy who knocked up his maid, used to be a real big movie star.  Absolutely huge.  For a good fifteen years, Arnold took me from adolescence in 1982 with 'Conan' well into my manhood in 1996 with 'Eraser'.  Post 1996 Arnold… well… let's not speak of that at this time and remember in the glory years that if Arnold made a movie, me and mine were going to go see it.  No questions asked.  In 2013, those days are long over, and this makes me sad because as it turns out this movie 'The Last Stand' finds Arnold in fine form.  Actually the whole movie, for the most part, is in fine form but you children don't go see these anymore, and it looks like you're not remotely interested in seeing this.  You either want to be intensely depressed with moody superheroes or see sparkly vampires.  To reference one of Arnold's post 1996 disappointments, it is clearly the End of Days.  And Arnold shot Satan with a bazooka in that one.  Hell Yeah!

Actor Eduardo Noriega is Gabriel Cortez, the most brutal, sadistic drug lord in all the land.  I was thinking that Mr. Noriega's real name is a way better drug dealer name than the one they gave him, but that's neither here nor there.  Today Cortez is being ferried from point A to point B by uptight FBI agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) but we know he's not going to make it to point B.  Nope, he's set free in spectacular fashion and is on the run in his modified ZR1 Corvette, with the world's hottest junior FBI agent (Genesis Rodriguez) in tow as a hostage. 

Now you would think that a man in a car in Las Vegas would have all kinds of trouble making it all the way to Mexico to freedom with the entire weight of the FBI and law enforcement on his rear, but with the combination of Cortez really knowing how to drive and the FBI really sucking hard, it's looking good for Cortez.
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But not so fast my friends.  Say hello the Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) and his crew of small town deputies.  Some bad dudes have made their way to Sommerton in preparation for Cortez's arrival, led by the completely rotten Mr. Burrell (Peter Stormare), and while the Sheriff and his deputies tried to talk to these cats in a reasonable way, tragically  that didn't work out so well and Sheriff Owens is pissed. 

Here's how this shakes out.  The bad guys have supreme training, all kinds of gear like night vision and stuff, superior numbers, and every weapon known to man including a rocket a launcher.  The good guys have a cute sheriff (Jaimie Alexander), a fat sheriff (Luis Guzman), some unshaven dude (Rodrigo Santoro) and the local town loon (Johnny Knoxville) who by chance has an arsenal of his own.  And of course Sheriff Owens who just isn't any old small town sheriff.  No sir.  He's that guy from 'Raw Deal', only all old and stuff, and he's ready to kick ass.  Basically what we're saying is those guys with the night vision and rocket launchers don't really stand much of a chance. 

Korean director Jae-woon Kim is an interesting choice to direct a fairly brainless but entertaining American action movie.  His 'I Saw the Devil' was one of the darkest thrillers I've ever seen, 'The Good, the Bad and the Weird' was bizarre beyond belief and 'A Tale of Two Sisters' is what those other two movies were, on top of being considered a horror classic.  'The Last Stand' is absolutely none of that.  

'The Last Stand' isn't complicated, clever, or intelligent and the presence of Johnny Knoxville adds an extra layer of buffoonery to the proceeding, but what it lacks in cleverness it makes up for in violence, what it lacks in complexity it makes up for with speed, and do you really need a movie to be all that intelligent when you have the glorious return of Arnold Swarzenegger to the big screen?  I don't think you do. 

And not to get it confused because it is, at least to me, the presence of the governator which makes 'The Last Stand' worth watching.  He's older… much older, doesn't move as fast, I didn't see one rippling bicep, probably because they don't exist anymore, but Mr. Schwarzenegger still commands the screen when he's on the screen and the old guy is completely at ease in front of the camera.  More than ever.  Probably because he spent the last six years bamboozling the people of California, but Arnold Schwarzenegger in this movie was a calming marvel.   Besides, he had to be good because the rest of the movie was pretty mundane.  Eduardo Noriega didn't make for much of a villain, and his stunning resemblance to Lakers power forward Pau Gasol got a little distracting for me after a while.  The other characters in this movie were kind of forgettable, Forest Whitaker and his Academy Award didn't do much except whine, and Peter Stromare's southern accent was an abomination. 

All that being said, we were pleased with what we got from 'The Last Stand'.  Old Schwarzenegger is better than no Schwarzenegger, assuming this Schwarzenegger isn't in a 'Batman' movie, and the action sequences that Kim directed were certainly above average.  Too bad there just isn't a viable market for this kind of stuff anymore. 
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