SYNOPSIS: The leader of a drug cartel busts out of a courthouse and speeds to the Mexican border, where the only thing in his path is a sheriff and his inexperienced staff.
REVIEW: I Saw the Devil and The Good, The Bad, the Weird director Kim Jee-woon director takes on American audiences with the action flick return of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ghost Team One writer Andrew Knauer and The Day After Tomorrow screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff work under writing supervisor George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) to take a last stand against the cartel.Chief sheriff ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Expendables 2) enjoys the quiet of his one-light Main Street border town of Summerton. As the local high school football team takes the students and most of the residents of the town hours away, several hundred miles north in Las Vegas FBI agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker, Repo Men) leads a team of swat, FBI agents and security to transport a federal prisoner by the name of Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega, Vantage Point) to federal death row. Cortez promptly escapes in a well executed breakout plan and races into the desert with a suped up Chevy Corvette Zero 1 with a FBI agent hostage Ellen Richards (Genesis Rodriguez, Man on a Ledge) in tow. As Cortez races to the Mexico border, the otherwise quiet town of Summerton Junction is facing its own problems when the inexperienced deputies under Ray's command discover a brutal murder that leads to a moonlit firefight between deputy Sarah Torrance (Jaimie Alexander, Thor), deputy Jerry Bailey (Zach Gilford, In Our Nature), and Mike Figuerola (Luis Guzman, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island). As the bullets fly and Cortez speeds closer to town, Ray must barricade the main roads and rely on his novice deputies, an antique weapons museum curator Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville, Fun Size), and the friend of a fallen officer.
Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the big screen in a big way, obviously catching the acting bug with his cameo appearances in The Expendables and The Expendables 2. A relative unknown Austrian born actor... just kidding... Schwarzenegger has had a phenomenal career on the silver screen in many genres, including action, comedy, science fiction, and more. When he decided to follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan, Schwarzenegger gave up acting for politics. But true to his word, Arnold is back. At 66 years of age, Arnold still cuts a muscular silhouette. But his age is starting to peek through the sinews of his biceps.
The Terminator himself makes some smart moves with his return to action. Director Kim Jee-Woon uses his experience in the genre to maximize the gun battles, car chases, and sequences of cat and mouse. Schwarzenegger lets the rest of the cast do more of the heavy lifting, instead of relying on his own brawn to carry the movie. Forest Whitaker, an imposing actor all his own, leads a team of agents in hot pursuit of a dangerous fugitive. Cortez's henchman lieutenant Burell (Peter Stormare, Lockout) is as slick as snake oil as he and the rest of Cortez's small paramilitary force assemble the final piece of Cortez's escape plan.
While Cortez and Burell make up the relentless, dangerous criminals with no remorse for the taking of innocent lives, Schwarzenegger's Ray Owens assembles his own army. Unfortunately for Schwarzenegger's Ray, his army consists of a bunch of local misfits, including Johnny Knoxville's Lewis and Luis Guzman's Figgy who provide much of the comic relief to balance the intense action sequences.
Some of the story is filled with Austrian cheese, almost every line uttered from Mr. Universe's lips a possible future classic cliche. Schwarzenegger continues in the tradition he set for himself years ago with Terminator, Conan the Barbarian, and Predator, now a caricature of his former self. At the climax, after Ray and his deputies had stared down a small, heavily-armed army, Ray does have enough in the tank to go mano-y-mano against the third generation cartel-bred Cortez.
The Last Stand will not be the pinnacle of Arnold Schwarzenegger's career, far from it. But what Arnold brings with his latest effort is a fun popcorn-bucket thrill ride that should delight action fans during the slower Winter/Spring season film slots. The car chases are slick and adrenalized, the firefights are bloody and filled with lead. There are ooohs, aaahs, and chuckles. The climax could have had a better look to it to match the rest of the film, but Schwarzengger manages to still kick a little ass.
The Last Stand has plenty of action twist and turns, all culminating in a final fist swinging showdown between two physical opponents. If you need a shot of action in your veins,The Last Stand may just do the trick.
★ ★ ★ 1/2 out of 5 | Rental
Rated: R Strong bloody violence and language.
Release Date: January 18, 2013
Runtime: 1 hour 46 minutes
Director: Kim Jee-Woon
Writers: Andrew Knauer, Jeffrey Nachmanoff, Goerge Nolfi
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Eduardo Noriega, Luis Guzman, Jamie Alexander, Johnny Knoxville, Zach Gilford, Harry Dean Stanton, Genesis Rodriguez