While it may have been a decade since Arnold Schwarzenegger headlined a movie, he certainly hasn’t shied away from the spotlight during that time. The former “Governator” has maintained a public presence (for better and worse) all throughout his big-screen sabbatical, but today marks the debut of Lionsgate’s “The Last Stand,” the first time since “Terminator 3” that he’s opening a film just on his name alone and the reaction is mixed.
Love him or hate him, Schwarzenegger remains one of the most well-known action movies stars of all time. Now 65, the actor has proven he’s not ready to call it a career and based on the success of action franchise “The Expendables,” it is clear audiences aren’t ready for him (or his big name friends) to walk off into the sunset just yet either.
In fact, “The Last Stand” takes that concept and plays with it as it focuses on a one time FBI agent who now resides as the sheriff of Sommerton Junction, a sleepy little border town near Mexico. Out of the game for years following a bungled operation, Schwarzenegger’s character Ray Owens finds himself on the front lines when a dangerous criminal escapes custody and ends up on a collision course with Sommerton.
To be clear, this is a not movie that will live or die based on its reviews. Lionsgate saw an easy (and probably cost effective) way to test the waters with a reliable Hollywood name and seized it. For their part, the critics have actually had some flattering things to say….for the most past.
“The Last Stand is a first class ride. It doesn't reinvent the genre so much as reinvest it with much of the moxie it had in the first place.” Bill Bibron, Pop Matters
“The movie isn't about eloquence, it's about giving Mr. Schwarzenegger a chance to take on new enemies that include advancing age.” Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“Sorry, big guy, but making small talk with the locals at the diner just isn't you.” Neil Genzlinger, New York Times
Morgenstern is actually the closest here as the film plays heavily off the concept that Schwarzenegger is no longer the young gun he was when he was first dubbed the “muscles from Brussels.” Again though, that’s half the shtick, with his character basically acknowledging he’s gotten older.
Then again Schwarzenegger’s original core audience has gotten older as well, which is why this type of film should click with them this weekend and possibly do a little better than today’s $10-$12 million prediction from fantasy Hollywood site HSX. However that’s not set in stone!
“The Last Stand” is in theaters today.
So what’s your take New York? Will you check out “The Last Stand?” What’s your favorite Schwarzenegger’s movie? Hit the comments and let us know.