Arnold Schwarzenegger – the Terminator, the Governator, the maid-Impregnator, and one of the most famous action heroes of 80’s and 90’s, is back in the Kim Ji-woon directed The Last Stand.
After doing a couple of guest appearances in the moronic Expendables 1 & 2, Arnold returns in a lead role after nearly a decade.
Ha ha ha, were you seriously expecting a story in an Arnold movie!!
Get real, dude!
Deadly Drug Cartel leader Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) escapes from FBI during a secret prison transfer and heads towards Mexico at around 200 miles/hr in a specially fitted Corvette with a lady cop as hostage.
FBI Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) is in hot pursuit of Gabriel but fails at every step due to the Corvette and Cortez’s henchmen who keep outwitting the cops.
Ray Owens (Arnold) is the Sheriff of Summerton, a small laid-back border town in Gabriel’s path into Mexico.
Ray Owens and his rookie officers are the last line of defense between Cortex and Mexico.
Hence, The Last Stand.
For discerning movie-watchers, there isn’t much that works in this film.
This film is Arnold’s comeback vehicle and you may watch it solely with that in mind.
The biggest thing that will please Arnold’s fans is his screen presence.
Although Arnold is now geriatric, the appeal to watch him kick butt is still very much there.
There are a few average action sequences and funny scenes that evoked instant laughs and voices of approval. Such as, a granny shooting one of Cortez’s henchmen through her window or the Johnny Knoxville character shooting at another with a toy-like gun which blows the guy apart.
There is also a WWE style physical fight in the end between Ray Owens and Gabriel Cortez which should be a fan pleaser.
But there is a sense of déjà vu all the time.
Nothing you have not seen before. The under 2 hours length of the film ensures you can walk out before feeling bored or restless.
What doesn’t work?
The movie fails on several accounts even if we offer it the courtesy of being an action movie and turning a blind eye to the plot holes and logic gaps.
There isn’t much to this story but good writing and able direction could have made a big difference. Under Kim Ji-woon’s direction the movie is under developed and badly edited. It is a half-baked effort to make a western with Arnold.
For an Arnold comeback movie, you don’t get to see that much of him in the first hour. The director wastes precious time in unsuccessfully attempting character building and plot-setup. He tries to give Arnold a back story of an ex-LAPD cop who gets tired of all the bloodshed and violence but thankfully doesn’t get into a flashback.
All action is crammed into the last 45 minutes and while that isn’t such a bad thing the action isn’t much fun except for a tickle or two.
The director doesn’t make any effort to build tension or create any suspense.
You know Cortez will escape. You know he will drive through Arnold’s town. You know Arnold will get him in the end.
No twists or turns and that’s really it.
There are too many sidekicks and none of them any good.
The Forest Whitaker character stays in a FBI office for most of the movie barking orders and talking in a phone. He has the worst lines in the film.
The villain Cortez spends most of the screen time inside the Corvette and we are supposed to be scared of him because he drives it fast now and then. The fella doesn’t even stop to refill his tank! Ok Ok.. sorry… no logic related points.
The best actor in the movie was Arnold! Really!
The Corvette came second and the guns, third.
That should give you an idea of how bad the rest of the cast was.
Arnold is fast aging. At times he looks older than Clint Eastwood! He looks exhausted and too tired for action movies.
The anatomy of an Arnold movie is a threadbare but plausible story, lots of action, interesting sidekick(s), powerful villain(s), catchy punch lines, (un)intentional humor and unabashedly bad acting. The Last Stand succeeds on the last aspect and fails on the rest.
The Last Stand is strictly meant for hardcore fans of Arnold and is a throwback into the B movies of 80’s.
This is the equivalent of Vijay’s Sura or Ajith’s Asal except that Arnold looks more dignified on the screen.
Most of Arnold’s fans are probably well into their middle age and the movie hopes to appeal to their nostalgia. However, the unevenly paced action, a drab villain, unexciting one-liners and unimpressive sidekicks may leave his fans less than gratified.
Verdict: If you are not a hardcore Arnie fan or if B movie action isn’t your thing, then skip it!
I will now watch Arnold’s Total Recall to erase my memory of The Last… what?