Director: Kim Jee-woon
Genre(s): Action, Crime
Runtime: 107 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
The Last Stand was supposed to be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s big comeback film, as this was his first lead role in a movie since his term as Governor of California. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly an overwhelming success at the box office, and critical reception was mixed. The picture is about small-town sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who must lead a posse against escaped drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), who’s making a mad dash to the Mexican-American border. It sort of sounds like a modern-day western, doesn’t it?
This flick’s secret weapons are its clear, well-defined characters. Even the smallest acting roles can easily be distinguished from each other here. Of course, this is really Schwarzenegger’s movie, with his immense presence towering over all others. Forest Whitaker shows up as FBI agent John Bannister, giving a performance that’s so intense that one has to wonder if he knows that he’s actually in a silly action film. Harry Dean Stanton (as farmer Mr. Parsons) and Johnny Knoxville (as eccentric gun museum owner Lewis Dinkum) make positive impressions.
Yeah, the characters may be fine, but how’s the action (the real reason you’re watching)? To sum things up, the violence is pretty frequent, magnificently bloody, and excitingly orchestrated. South Korean director Kim Jee-woon handles the ever-escalating physical mayhem with commendable skill. The finale, when the good guys and bad guys duke it out for control of Schwarzenegger’s town, is a fearsome, fun fiesta of firearms fetishism. Don’t miss it!
One’s enjoyment of The Last Stand is largely dependent on how they feel about the action genre and Schwarzenegger. Fans will eat it up. There’s no romantic subplot for Arnie and the carnage comes fast and hard. From beginning to end (which features a version of “I Ain’t Superstitious” performed by Santana featuring Jonny Lang), this is one of the Austrian Oak’s most consistent efforts. I recommend it highly to his followers.
My rating is 8 outta 10.