Arnold is back! But did we miss him? His new film, 'The Last Stand,’ is the movie that you might have avoided, given his recent personal press, but he returns with a bang. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a small-town sheriff (with a big-time LAPD past) who enjoys his low-key, generally crime-free, sleepy little Arizona hamlet. Hurdling his way, though, is a recently escaped drug cartel kingpin in a specially revved-up Corvette and his personal army of thugs. The kingpin Cortez and his men are entirely intent on getting Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) across the border to Mexico by barreling through Schwarzenegger’s little town of Sommerton Junction.
Certainly, this movie is definitely a play-by-the-numbers sheriff against bad guy film. ‘The Last Stand’ is almost like a hyped-up 1980’s police procedural with a bad guy on the loose who only can be stopped by one man. There are numerous scenes of violence as Cortez makes his way at high speed from Las Vegas to Sommerton Junction, but the audience is always led to believe that the sheriff will defeat him, and there really is little doubt throughout the film about that. What’s surprising, though, is that the film works. Sheriff Schwarzenegger’s snappy little one-liners and repeated ‘Lethal Weapon’-style comedic references to his advanced age are humorous. Even second-banana Johnny Knoxville, as the small town’s weapons eccentric, is oddly engaging in his relatively small role. Further, Jee-woon Kim demonstrates himself as very able action director. He captures the lively action sequences clearly (without today’s so-often-overused shaky-cam scenes) and uses some good old-fashioned cinema direction for a climactic cornfield Corvette-Camaro car chase.
Schwarzenegger is obviously an astute businessman who apparently knows what the public wants, and we seemingly want a enjoyable, 107-minute-long, throwaway film that plays like a relatively mindless summer romp. No deep thoughts, here, just adrenaline and chuckles (and for the ‘older’ Schwarzenegger, maybe a few ibuprofen).
‘The Last Stand’ is rated R for strong bloody violence throughout and for language. It opens today nationwide and in theaters across the nation.
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