This is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first starring role since “T3: Rise of the Machines” and completing his gubernatorial duty. From its surface, “The Last Stand” looks just like another piece of ass-kicking movie that features a long-forgotten hero or a retired enforcer. Despite the ten years of absence and at an advancing age of 65, the Austrian big man remains in shape and smoking attitude for this return, albeit still looks “tired” at times. As I see, “The Last Stand” is a perfect niche for his big return into the leading role once more. But I also see that this will unlikely to win any trophy for creativity and plot or will be any victory in finding new converts. Yes, most likely we have to blame the mediocre trailer for all that.
Release Date: 17 January 2013
Running Time: 107 minutes
Distributor: Nusantara Edaran Filem (for Lionsgate)
Director: Kim Ji-Woon
Screenplay: Andrew Knauer
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rodrigo Santoro, Zach Gilford, Forest Whitaker, Genesis Rodriguez, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander
Plot: After leaving his LAPD narcotics post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with remorse and regret, Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) moved out of Los Angeles and settled into a life fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction. But that peaceful existence is shattered when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the western hemisphere, makes a deadly yet spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy.
In this movie, Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a man who has decided to take a leave from the heavy crime fighting life in Los Angeles to spend his golden years in a border town of Summerton Junction, Arizona. Meanwhile in Las Vegas, Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the international most wanted drug lord escapes federal custody and is now speeding towards the border town at about 200mph on his Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1. When FBI Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) runs out of options to content Gabriel, he enlists the help of Sheriff Owens to intercept Cortez before the criminal slips across the border forever. At first reluctant to become involved, and then counted out because of the perceived ineptitude of his small town force, Owens ultimately accepts responsibility for the face off.
Contrary to the mediocre trailer, the final product of “The Last Stand” is actually a fun movie to watch. When I say it is fun, I mean that this movie certainly knows how to carry and balance itself over the desire to deliver a dark-pan-violent-Westerner concept and an ample dosage of humour gag spreading all over. Of course, Andrew Knauer’s script is nowhere near of been outstanding or smartly written, with evidently plenty of questionable plot holes lingering all over the plot. Even the pacing of the movie seems to be slow as the audiences will have to wait for a substantial amount of time before the core of the story starts to kick in. But despite all of those technical flaws, the scene-to-scene and dialogue-to-dialogue elements are a virtual unabashed throwback into the 80’s classics definition of been entertaining.
South Korean director, Kim Ji-Woon makes his directorial Hollywood debut with “The Last Stand”. Known for his directing skills in thrillers like “A Tale of Two Sisters” and “I Saw the Devil”, Ji-Woon manages to infuse a great deal of solid action even if it smells overwhelmingly cheesy. Several of the car chase scenes look stunning even when these look as familiar as any scene from Fast and Furious franchise. Some of the fist-fight scenes look amazing on top of the playful and effective shoot ‘em up scenes. Ji-Woon may not have carry forward his ability to strengthen the plot department like he always have, but his directing skill of guiding the action portrayal is nevertheless undeniably sturdy.
In the end, “The Last Stand” provides a solidly fun and entertaining action flick with numerous crowd-pleasing scenes, workable set-pieces and laughable campy moments; even at the expense of a formulaic story and major plot holes along the way. Note: “The Last Stand” feels like a hybrid between “2 Fast 2 Furious”, “The Rundown” and some Chuck Norris 70’s movies.