THE LAST STAND
The Arnold is back, and in rather grand style. “The Last Stand” harkens back to The Arnold’s glory days, with just a tad of “The Expendables” generational humor thrown in for good measure.
The trailers, inundating TV the past several weeks, reveal the entire plot. Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold) is informed by FBI Special Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) that a particularly nasty bad guy, Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) is making for the Mexican border right through his sleepy little town. There are no surprises, nor nuances. “The Last Stand” simply sets up the final two reels, and lets the action fly. Supplying supporting roles are Luis Guzman, Johnny Knoxville, Jamie Alexander and Peter Stormare. Like most action genre films, the supporting cast offers most of the continuity and glue for the action sequences. Noriega is never quite nasty enough to be the nefarious no-good causing a nationwide capture attempt. Stormare, playing his henchman, is mercenary in attitude, but rather inept in actions. Knoxville is along for comic relief, but ends up being upstaged by Guzman.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
- THE DINER SCENE
- SHERIFF RAY TAKING OUT THE SNIPER
- THE FIGHT ON THE BRIDGE
“The Last Stand” is directed by Jee-woon Kim. In combination with Editor Stephen Kemper, he manages to provide a pulsing pace to the film that helps the viewer overlook the inconsistencies and Arnold’s heavy make-up. There’s an interesting score by Mowg, which plays particularly well during the end credits.
The action posers of today including Reeves, Wahlberg, Damon, attempt to deliver this type of action, but none of them has mastered the template. The Arnold reverts to 1980’s action sequences and clearly demonstrates the superiority of true action stars versus pseudo action stars.
I see “The Last Stand” as a first step in the right direction. Action genre fans have been deprived for so long with recent actioners dominated by what the “90’s girlie men” thought was action. Now, perhaps, the mantle doesn’t have to rest squarely on Jason Statham’s shoulders. “The Last Stand”, coupled in a few weeks with Stallone’s “Bullet to the Head” will hopefully serve to provide, by example, how action films are supposed to entertain. Upward and onward, so to speak.
GRADE FOR THE LAST STAND = B