Title: The Last Stand
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eduardo Noriega, Forest Whitaker, Luis Guzman, Jaimie Alexander, Zach Gilfford, Johnny Knoxville, Rodrigo Santoro
Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cheesy R-rated action/comedy. Must I continue?
Climbing, and creaking, back into a leading role for the first time in a decade, old Arnie dials up the same shtick that endeared him to so many genre fans at the height of his career.
The last action hero (pun intended) returns in The Last Stand. Cruising at 107 minutes, this fundamental actioner goes through the motions that have graced, and tarnished, the big screen in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Graphic over-the-top violence, gratuitous automatic gun fights, car chases, and so-stupid one-liners that are nostalgically humorous, splatter all over in this light and mindless telling.
Arnold plays a small-town sheriff in Arizona right near the U.S./Mexico border. When just about the entire town heads out to follow the high school football team play an away game, the quiet digs has its volume lowered even more. That is until a notorious criminal, Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), manages to escape FBI custody, and has his crew setting up a getaway in Arnie’s town. With Cortez one-step ahead of the FBI’s efforts – led by Forest Whitaker – to recapture him, the burden to stop this influential criminal relies on the veteran sheriff and his eclectic crew of inexperienced deputies (Luis Guzman, Jaimie Alexander, Zach Gilfford, Johnny Knoxville, and Rodrigo Santoro).
For those that can recall early ‘90s action flicks such as Rapid Fire or even the playful Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, and mix-in the tongue-in-cheek stuff Stallone did with The Expendables, Last Stand falls somewhere between there. It is what is; and the most admirable thing about this product is the filmmakers didn’t try to get all clever and/or update the pattern of cinema’s past for today’s audience. They stuck to what “worked” back in the late 20th century all way the down to NOT delving into a hefty backstory about any of the characters. It’s quite clear what their arc is and the viewer should just enjoy the ride, despite the script and the performers firing off some blanks (dud sequences and under-developed jokes). In some respects, this is kind-of-spoofing the films that made Arnold a small fortune back in his heyday.
Overall, The Last Stand holds up just enough for some harmless entertainment; similar to what another old quasi-action star (ahem, John Travolta) tried to do with From Paris with Love back in 2010. There’s a place for these kinds of movies every now and then. Not everything has to be Christopher Nolan smart. But of course, we’d all like them to try.