The Last Stand, 2013.
Directed by Kim Ji-woon.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, Rodrigo Santoro, Luis Guzmán, Eduardo Noriega, Peter Stormare, Jaimie Alexander, Zach Gilford and Génesis Rodríguez.
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.
He said he’d be back someday. And now, after a few tiny cameos and a whole lot of governing, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns on the silver screen, ten years after his last starring role in the not-all-that-terrible Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Since then, the Stathams, Diesels, Rocks and Cages have tried to fill the huge void, but none of them have ever come close to replicating the concoction of action, comedy, and horrendously good one-liners that are the staple of The Governator.
His return is The Last Stand, a standard and riskless action fodder about a villainous Mexican drug-lord (Eduardo Noreiga) as he escapes the clutches of the FBI, racing his way across the US to the Mexican border. In his way: the quiet town of Sommerton, and its ex-FBI man-turned-sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger). Owens, with his typically rag-tag group of deputies (Guzman, Alexander), are not going down without a fight, and with the help of local gun emporium/museum owner Johnny Knoxville, set out to stop said drug-lord crossing the elusive border.
It may disappoint some to learn that his long-awaited return is, for obvious reasons, a little removed from his old, more virile self of yesteryear. But Schwarzenegger has smartly chosen to ease himself back in with ensemble films, rather than full on Arnie goodness. With The Last Stand, he has the pleasure of Jaimie Alexander (Thor), Rodrigo Santoro (I Love You, Phillip Morris) and the ever-brilliant Luis Guzman (Boogie Nights) for company, allowing Schwarzenegger to ease himself back into the action, and get a classic Arnie flourish in the finale.
The film maintains the teamwork element for the majority, which keeps the film ticking along at a good pace. Directed by Jee-Woon Kim, who brought us crazy The Good, the Bad, the Weird, The Last Stand is certainly that an energetic film, that balances comedy and action well, and Kim shows some of the great flashes he showed in the aforementioned actioner.
But for all the fun Schwarzenegger and his deputies have, whenever they are off-screen, the film is surprisingly dull. The FBI / drug-lord element is as one-dimensional and daft as you could make, and despite the presence of such calibre as Noriega, Forest Whitaker and Peter Stormare, all are on total auto-pilot and happy to coast along as a meandering pace.
What it lacks in cohesion and realism, The Last Stand makes up for with some great action, comedy and lashings of the great Luis Guzman. As for Schwarzenegger, it isn’t the mighty comeback some were hoping for, but this action lark is effortless for such a powerhouse, and allows him enough flourishes and quips to whet our appetites for things to come.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★