Arnold Schwarzenegger is back on the big screen… and it looks like he isn’t afraid to have a little bit of fun. No this isn’t a review of ‘Twins 2’, this is a review of ‘The Last Stand’, the film that sees Arnie find the exact right mix of comedy and action and pull it off wonderfully well.
In ‘The Last Stand’ Schwarzenegger plays Sheriff Ray Owens a no nonsense Police Officer who is loved by all of the residents of his ‘border town’ named Summertown Junction. Owens is looking forward to a quiet weekend in the town as the football team has an away game, but all that changes when notorious drug-lord, Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) escapes from prison and takes a FBI Officer, Agent Ellen Richards (Genesis Rodriguez) hostage as he drives across America in a sports car deadest on reaching the Mexican border and freedom.
As Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) does all he can to bring the escapee in, it is soon realised that he is heading for Summertown Junction and it will be up to Owens and his motley crew of Officers including Mike Figuerola (Luis Guzman), Jerry Bailey (Zach Gilford), Sarah Torrance (Jaimie Alexander). When they realise just how unstoppable Cortez and his army, led by Burrell (Peter Stormare) Owens is also forced to deputize troubled ex-soldier Frank Martinez (Rodrigo Santoro) and local loopy arms collector Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville).
This is one time when the comedy element of an action film will not have action purists sprinting for the door, because director Jee-woon Kim certainly makes sure the films delivers in the action stakes. The film certainly goes back to the 1980s and 1990s with the amount of ammunition that is used throughout the movie, yes the shoot-outs are guaranteed to offend any member of the anti-gun lobby, but Kim seems to not mind the fact that ‘The Last Stand’s’ screenplay also doesn’t mind making fun of itself by providing many laughs, not just from Johnny Knoxville but also by given Schwarzenegger some classic comedic lines to deliver.
The story at hand actually does work, although there is one major flaw in the script that is guaranteed to annoy those that really put a lot of thought into the film they are watching. A character mentions that Cortez is just 60-75 minutes away from the border but then it seems to take forever for it to reach that event… obviously the time period that the film is set in is way out of sync with what is actually happening. It is a petty complaint but it is annoying.
When it comes to the cast all eyes are, of course, on Arnold Schwarzenegger and it must be said that at the age of sixty-five is still in remarkable shape and as he delivers some amazing action scenes it is easy to see that age has not wearied him. Sadly though the other actors don’t really get a chance to shine at all. Knoxville plays the clown well but the rest of the cast are held back by the fact that their characters are so one dimensional.
Yes the love story element of ‘The Last Stand’ is clichéd and predictable, but who goes to an action film to see a romance? No it’s the action that makes ‘The Last Stand’ such a great watch… and it’s terrific to see Arnie back in full-flight. This is the greatest action film you will ever see but it is certainly worth a look.