The Last Stand Reviews
Schwarzenegger stars as Ray Owens- a former LAPD narcotics officer turned sheriff of a small Arizona border town who, along with his small department of deputies, are forced to defend their territory after a high profile criminal on the run plans to cross into Mexico by way of their sleepy little hamlet.
The film borrows a lot from old westerns as well as the octane action romps from the 80s and 90s that made Schwarzenegger's career, with the result being a pretty entertaining time. Yeah, it's not really that great of a movie, and really doesn't offer anything new, but it is quite fun and enjoyable.
Arnold is showing his age, and the film makes cracks about it, but I think he fits the part moderately well, Granted, there are few roles that Schwarzenegger is truly believable in, but he's fine enough here. I can buy that he's a guy who went through some stuff, and wants to spend his latter years doing something far less exciting, but come on! Ray Owens? Considering that the character makes a comment about being an immigrant, he needs a less All-American sounding name.
We get some decent and thankfully not overbearing comic relief from Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville, like a lot of films, fails to give the females roles that are juicy, or substantial for the most part. At least Jaimie Alexander tries to give it her all, though. Also, the film really wastes the talents of Forest Whitaker, and that's not cool, either. It also doesn't help that the lead villain isn't nearly as interesting as his primary henchman, who is played to scenery chewing perfection by Peter Stormare.
There's tons of explosive stunts and set pieces, and they're done well, despite the implausibility of some of them (Arizona has cornfields?), and the use of a little too much CGI blood at times. There's also some legitimate attempts at building suspense, mystery, and intrigue, and that made me happy, and showed they tried to do a little with the concept instead of just coasting by on the drawing power of the leading man.
Overall, I liked this. I've got a few gripes, and I'm probably giving it a tad more credit and appreciation than it deserves, but I don't care. It's a gloriously fun return for an action icon, and that's all I was really hoping for.
Schwarzenegger is finally back as the action hero we all know and love(even if he is old as hell) here in "The Last Stand". He plays a small town sheriff that is the last thing standing between a drug lord and the Mexico border which would give him freedom. Arnold and his rag tag group including Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzman have to stop them. Generic? Yup. Predictable? Yup. Entertaining and nostalgic as hell? Absolutely! If your a fan of action or Schwarzenegger, then you will love this. It's funny, thrilling, and a lot more violent than I expected, which is a good thing. This isn't one of those action movies that tones it down for the kiddos, no this is a straight up adult action movie. Is it perfect? Not by a long shot, but a movie like this doesn't need to be. All it is, is a vehicle for the return of Schwarzenegger, and it works for the purpose perfectly. Definitely worth a rent. Either sit back and enjoy the roller coaster like a man, or rent a chick flick and cry yourself to sleep.
Good movie! This movie is full of intense, bloody action, exciting car chases and funny one liner's. The film never takes itself too serious and is surprisingly funny throughout. Arnold's acting is a little rusty, but he more than made up for it in the action scenes. And the many action sequences were exciting and bloody, the theater kept cheering out loud. The pacing was perfect, the film flew by. Overall The Last Stand has exciting shoot outs, fun car chase scenes, and does a great job of mixing in comedy. Those things with it's pacing make it a very entertaining and crowd pleasing movie that should be enjoyed in your home for movie night.
Sheriff Owens is a man who has resigned himself to a life of fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction after leaving his LAPD post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with failure and defeat after his partner was crippled. After a spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy, the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the hemisphere is hurtling toward the border at 200 mph in a specially outfitted car with a hostage and a fierce army of gang members. He is headed, it turns out, straight for Summerton Junction, where the whole of U.S. law enforcement will have their last opportunity to make a stand and intercept him before he 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.
What makes this worse is the fact Arnie plays being an old man to the hilt, he really hammers that fact home in the film. We know your old Arnie, we know you probably shouldn't be doing action films anymore, but no need to really rub it in, your making it worse. The fact that almost everything he does seems to be a stuntman kinda says it all.
So some Drug baron has broken free whilst on a transfer and is making his way to Mexico to get across the border. He's killed tonnes of cops, he's driving a supposedly fast Corvette and appears to be invincible with his legion of gun totting henchmen. Well that's what he thought until he tries to get across the border through Arnie's town, not on Arnie's watch Mr. Yep you guessed it, Arnie and his little band of oddballs will save the day.
The whole film is basically the local sheriff v the bad guys with your obligatory stand off in the main street at high noon type scenario. All the regular cliches, every turn is predictable, faceless henchmen, plenty of shoulders being shot but never anywhere serious for the good guys and the ridiculous sight of old man Arnie fighting someone who knows martial arts. I mean really, this whole idea couldn't be more corny if you tried.
I wanted to like this film but its really so very bland and pointless, it really does feel like a film purely for Arnold to get back in the saddle with. A cobbled together unoriginal plot with whoever they can muster to make an interesting team up with Arnold. How very original to have Knoxville (of all people) play the local town loon complete with jester-like attire, just in case you miss the point he wears an old WWII type aviators hat to round off his eccentric character.
The only thing that did surprise me was the fact the film is actually pretty violent with lots of blood and bullet holes. I thought this was just some dumb spoof/comedy, especially with the idiot Knoxville in it, turns out its a semi serious action flick, if you don't count Arnie hobbling around. I'm a huge Arnie fan and always will be but this is not gonna cut it, its time to stop with the action films as this just feels forced. End of the day its just an excuse for Arnie to shoot people again, but I guess we all knew that. Desperately clinging on to past glory methinks.
Kim Jee-Woon, the director of this B-movie shoot-em-up, is quite the director. He's crafted some exceptional films ("I Saw the Devil", "The Good, The Bad, The Weird", "A Tale of Two Sisters", etc.), and with his debut into America, he churns out a forgettable action flick? What're you thinking bro? This is coming from another Korean. Mr. Kim doesn't quite blend in with the rest of American filmmaking as of yet. Why do I say this? Certain sequences (especially the cornfield car chase sequence) are directed outstandingly; others like the comedic relief scenes or the scenes shot within cockpit of the Corvette are edited or done poorly. There's a particular scene near the beginning of the film where 3 characters are taking shots at a slab of meat with a hand cannon and to this extent, it's supposed to be silly comedic relief, all done with goofy music playing in the background. This type of style is seen really often in Korean comedies and unfortunately, it just doesn't translate well here in America. Not once during this sequence or any comedic relief scenes, did I laugh.
Regardless, this movie is a damn good time. Turn off your brain, forget that Arnold Schwarzenegger can't act, and see a simple but entertaining plot reel out. Expect the cheese to ooze out cause it's got a lot of it. Oh yes, expect the one-liners you've come to know come out of Arnold's lips. Yeah, the script is poorly written and it doesn't have the greatest actors, but surprisingly for such a cheesy flick, the plot, though severely stilted, works. "The Last Stand"'s got a lot of energy, spice, and zing to it. To put it in a nutshell, "The Last Stand" is a great movie to watch on cable television and if you're looking for a getaway popcorn flick, this B-movie will suffice.
Might as well start with the characters. Arnold plays Ray Owens and he does his typical badass performance, the only difference is, well, Arnold is old now, and Arnold knows this and this film does acknowledge this, but you know what? Arnold still does his fun and entertaining badass character very well. Then we have mainly the supporting characters, mainly all being the deputies, the FBI agent, and the drug cartel leader and the convict. As far as the deputies go, we have Luiz Gusman, Jaimie Alexander, Johnny Knoxville, and Rodrigo Santoro. Luiz Gusman does the usual comedic performance he does in most films, he's funny but not to the point of being insultingly annoying or stupid and does the role well. Jaimie Alexander doesn't really leave that much of an impact on me as much as all the other characters and really is kind of just there and doesn't really do that much in the film except in the shootout near the end of the film. Rodrigo Santoro is a newly deputized convict that was arrested and friends with a cop who is murdered about 30 minutes into the film, and they develop his character a little bit, but not really enough to make him a great or standout character but is passable. Now the big one, Johnny "Jackass host" Knoxville. This is the main thing that really worried me about this film, seeing how Knoxville, while funny in Jackass, is very annoying and obnoxious in almost any film he's in (not counting the Jackass movies,) but here I was shocked actually at how funny he actually was for once. They make him a trigger happy gun museum owner and Knoxville does a pretty good job at making this character memorable and one of the highlights of the whole film and I will admit I did make a couple Jackass jokes while watching his scenes. Now Forrest Whitaker plays a head FBI agent who is constantly watching the convict throughout the film and is the one who informed Arnold about the convict coming. Whitaker, is honestly not that memorable of a character, all his major purpose to me was in this film was just to say "fuck" every third sentence and just watch what is going on with the convict and the hostage agent. Now he doesn't do horrible, but it just isn't that memorable of a character, but they do give him a couple good lines. Now onto the two antagonists. There is the leader of the drug cartel played by Peter Stormare, and as far as I know, he is mainly known for villain characters, and he does a good job at playing this bastard character and he does have a lot of great moments in this movie but he doesn't really do much outside of the shootout scene near the end of the film. The last real main character is the convict named Cortes played by Eduardo Noriega, and I have to say, this is one of the smartest action villains I've seen in a long time. He takes an FBI agent hostage while he is riding in a modified car able to go up to 300 miles per hour and this guy knows how to get out of literally every situation thrown at him. Throw a police roadblock at him he knows how to get through it without getting one scratch on his car, throw a police helicopter at him, he knows how to lose it. The only problem with this character that keeps him from being a fantastic villain is that, he isn't developed hardly at all, and his personality, is very, very bland.
Next the action, considering that the last real big Arnold starring action film he was in was Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines and Expendables 2 I was having high hopes to see how they could handle a modern action film with Arnold as the lead role, and personally it didn't disappoint. The best scene in the whole film, and I think everyone will agree with me who saw it, is the final shootout with Arnold and his crew against the drug cartel. The scene pulls no stops on the gore and explosions and it's nice to see "some" practical blood effects and explosions for once and not a whole lot of CG in an action film. The only reason I say some in quotes is because sometimes the blood is a practical effect and it looks good, but sometimes its the powdery mist sort of CG blood at times, and it is very strange to me why sometimes its practical and sometimes it's not. The film also has some other great action scenes such as all the scenes with Cortes in his car, and the final car chase/battle in the street and cornfields and the final hand to hand fight with Arnold and Cortes. Some of these are some of the most entertaining shootouts I've seen in a while and are all fantastic scenes and mix well with all the cheesy and fun dialogue in the film. There's also a great scene involving an old woman in the final shootout that I bet you will laugh at if you see it.
Overall, while Arnold is definitely showing his age, he still knows how to make one entertaining action film and for director Kim Jee-Woon's first film I'm excited to see what else this guy could do with more action films like this. I wouldn't mind seeing him work with Sylvester Stallone or Van Damme. If you want to see just a fun stupid action movie and a great return for Arnold, I say check this out.
That's not to say there isn't some good action, stunt work, and style on display: there is.There's just too little and the film's big action sequence arrives way too late in the picture (and lasts only briefly). The big selling point here is Arnold, and it's a welcome return. He's still got it; I just wish he was given more material to work with (one-liners, shoot outs etc). The film really comes alive whenever he's onscreen with the comic relief of Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville (playing a loopy weirdo straight out of Korean action cinema). If the film focused more on them and less on it's throwaway villain, useless plot developments, and FBI stereotype (played by Forest Whitaker), "The Last Stand" could have been a highly effective and memorable modern western.
As it stands (no pun intended) it's good...it's serviceable, but should have been a lot better.
The tone for the film will not draw audiences who aren't already fans of this sort of thing. It's also a bit of a disappointment for Arnold's big return to the screen as co-stars Luis Guzman, Johnny Knoxville, Peter Stormare, Forest Whitaker, and Genesis Rodrigues frequently end up stealing the show from Arnold. But there's no denying the mindless entertainment value of this film.
Owens is right. Danger is coming. In the person of Gabriel Cortez(Eduardo Noriega), a deadly drug lord, who has escaped federal custody with FBI Agent Ellen Richards(Genesis Rodriguez) as hostage in a souped up sports car making a run for the border.
As his Hollywood directorial debut, "The Last Stand," Kim Jee-woon comes through with flying colors, with a movie that while also a lot of fun, is also remarkably thought out.(One thing though. I would love to know how Cortez gassed up along the way. Drones, maybe?) Add in Chekhov's gun theory times a thousand plus Johnny Knoxville and stir well. And while the climax is a little too CGI for my liking, the scene when Owens tries to evacuate the diner is a minor classic all by itself. And while Schwarzenegger has always been a little ridiculous even at his peak, here he fares well, in the closest he has come to a western since...wait, let's just not go there.