The Last Stand
The Last Stand Directed by: Jee-woon Kim Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville Running Time: 1 hr 47 mins Rating: R Release Date: January 18, 2013
PLOT: The leader of a drug cartel (Eduardo Noriega) busts out of prison and heads to the Mexican border. A local sheriff (Schwarzenegger) and duties are the only thing that stand in his way.
WHO'S IT FOR? Did you need Schwarzenegger back in a leading action role? Well, this is what you get. I was curious for this one, but not excited. In fact, I'm more excited about Zach Gilford's career than Schwarzenegger's.
Cool moments, but no care. The Last Stand walks you through the beats of an action movie, with some familiar 80s-style moments, and an icon who thinks he's still getting it done.
For quite a while it seems there are two separate stories going on in The Last Stand. We have an escape and high-speed chase with Agent Bannister (Whitaker) going after the most notorious blah blah blah since blah blah blah. Then, on the other side of things we have a small story about a town where nothing happens, with Sheriff Ray Owens, who used to be somebody. The villain here has good motivation, and a nice car, but the performance by Eduardo Noriega as Gabriel Cortez is completely flat. It's not as painful as some of the choices made with the deputies who surround Ray.
Let's hyper-focus on one guy. Gilford is Jerry Bailey. He's a bumbling fool. You know this because when he shoots a gun he gets a bloody nose. No, that not the only thing. He also trips, doesn't know how to do a background check, and he touches evidence without thinking. All of these things point to him being a comedic element of the story. While I didn't find him funny, I still understood the intent. So when Jerry sits down with Ray to have a heart-to-heart explaining he needs to head to Los Angeles to be where the action is, what do you think Ray says? He should say, "Are you kidding?" "Never, I'm just happy you're still alive," or "If that's the case, I will slowly help you toward competency." Nope, instead Ray explains how dangerous Los Angeles is, and then says he'll definitely help him transfer. Not only does that not make sense for the character of Jerry, but it also makes me doubt Ray's judgement (our hero). That's one small example of "no care."
There are a few fun moments in this movie. They come from Schwarzenegger playing the "I'm too old for this" card. There's also a really good escape. My favorite is a car chase through a corn field. Those moments help the film move along pretty quickly, and mask the bad moments like Johnny Knoxville as Lewis Dinkum. Knoxville is either playing himself or a mentally challenged person. I can't tell. Here's either the poster child for the NRA, or a prime example of what the NRA is trying to avoid. He's a gun lover to the extreme, who is handed a badge and allowed to shoot up the place. His role isn't the most violent, in an extremely violent film, but it's the most offensive.
I need to see The Good, the Bad, the Weird by this director. Not because I loved the style of The Last Stand, but mainly because I thought the style of this film was so incredibly weak. I've heard good things about Weird, so now I'm curious if Kim has occasional talent, because I don't think it shows in The Last Stand.
I'm fine with Schwarzenegger back on the big screen, but this is a film made for watching at home. There are a few fun moments, some decent action, but not much thought or care.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10