Director: Kim Jee-Woon
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger
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It’s been some 11 years since our screens trembled with an Arnold Schwarzenegger action vehicle, but after some politics in California, the world returns to being treated by filmmakers who like explosions, swearing and having a giant demigod as their hero. The Last Stand situates Arnie in a small town on the border of Arizona and Mexico. He’s apparently an immigrant (according to one line towards the end of the film), but plays the entire film like he’s Clint Eastwood, but with the ability to smile. He’s the sheriff. And he’s about to have his quiet weekend shattered by a drug cartel king driving at 200mph from Nevada to the border.
Forest Whitaker also stars as an FBI agent with anger issues – and plenty of acting issues – trying to take the cartel guy out in his super-fast Batmobile.
But back to the sleepy town of Sommerton Junction, where Johnny Knoxville has a “gun museum”, Luis Guzmán and Thor’s Jaimie Alexander are local officers and Harry Dean Stanton is a crotchety old farmer, who doesn’t like Peter Stormare (the other villain) wandering onto his land. Because the stuff needs to hit the fan across the film at once, things don’t go well for poor Mr. Stanton.
So should begin an action film set in a small town about some well-orchestrated, well-funded bad guys and four local cops with a canon and a sword. Instead, infuriatingly, the film focuses on the boring Forest Whitaker chasing the other bad guy, who is also dull. Neither are well-written and deliver only tedious action – when really we want to see Arnie smile and kick ass. When The Last Stand allows that to happen, it’s classic Arnie action, but it keeps drifting away to this other rudimentary, bland thriller for half of the runtime. )(Apparently an Arnie action thriller can’t clock in at 62 minutes long. Meet The Spartans can, but not The Last Stand.)
Director Kim Jee-Woon (I Saw The Devil, The Good, The Bad & The Weird) lends no memorable visual technique to the film, which looks as adequate as a film can be; from a corn field car chase to a mid-town shoot-out with Guzmán, nothing comes across amazing, there’s just an energy that Arnie and co offer. Mediocre and middle of the road, The Last Stand is enjoyable enough – but also infuriatingly not as good as it could have been. Arnie’s return to leading action films shows he’s still a lot of fun to watch, but without a stronger script, this feels like a stop-gap between The Expendables 2 and Escape Plan.
The Last Stand is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.
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