Not only did the mark the U.S. feature directorial debut for Suth Korean director Kim Ji-Woon, but it also represented the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a leading role in about a decade.
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.