Movie Review: “The Last Stand” – Old Dog, Same Tricks

Written by Leo Panasyuk January 21, 2013

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Arnold Schwarzenegger once said “I’ll be back”. I guess he wasn’t lying. Not since 2003 has our favourite bodybuilder-turned-actor starred in a major Hollywood production. Sure, he’s had a few cameos now and again but hasn’t really owned the big screen in almost a decade. Well, with Kim Ji-woon’s  “The Last Stand”, Arnie is back in the game which he knows all too well. But is this the comeback we’ve all been waiting for (aside from his role in last year’s “The Expendables 2”) or will this really be Arnold’s last stand?

“I’ve Seen Enough Blood and Death… I Know What’s Coming.”

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“I’m the Termi-Sheriff!”

In “The Last Stand” Arnold plays Ray Owens, the sheriff of a small town near the U.S./Mexico border called Sommerton Junction. Owens enjoys his quaint and quiet little town and while his deputies Jerry (Zach Gilford) and Sarah (Jaimie Alexander) yearn for more thrills- Owens could gladly do without. But all the peace and quiet is shattered when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), a dangerous drug cartel kingpin, escapes from his prison transport convoy and makes a run for the Mexican border. And since Owens’ town is the last town before the border, the responsibility of stopping Cortez falls entirely on him.

Haven’t I Seen You Here Before?

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If there is one word that I could use to describe this movie it would be ‘formulaic’. Everything in this movie is something the audience has already seen done numerous times. Ray Owens’ character is the archetypal action movie protagonist: he was once a hero, then something bad happened and now he lives with his dark past and tries to mend his wounds by living a life much calmer and more peaceful than his last. This is a character that Arnold is only too familiar with and has played several times throughout the years but it doesn’t even seem like he’s trying to do anything different; it’s all just the same. There’s also a bit of forced development in his character where “The Last Stand” tries to make you feel sorry for him and it just feels awkward and dare I say it… formulaic.

I"ll say it once but never again: Johnny Knoxville was actually funny for once,

Even the rest of the cast feels just as formulaic as Arnold. Forest Whitaker plays the hard-as-nails FBI agent who completely underestimates Owens’ ability to handle the situation and this, of course, annoys us. At least it would have had this been anything new. What was a real letdown for me was the fact that the movie is promoted as ‘Arnold versus all the bad guys’ but in all actuality the movie’s climactic last stand isn’t as action-packed or explosive as the rest of the movie. I walked in expecting the whole movie to be one big, wild and crazy shootout but what I got was an hour of build up and 30 minutes of a shootout. There is a cool and tense scene involving two cars and a cornfield but it doesn’t have as big of an effect as you’d think.

Overall

While “The Last Stand” certainly can’t hold a candle to many of Arnold’s past movies, it’s nevertheless a fun, loud, and wild action movie that never for a second tries to take itself seriously. The comedy and acting are rather bland and dry and while I didn’t mind the action sequences, they felt more filler than anything in a movie that’s supposed to be about a battle-of-the-century type deal. Still, if you miss your Arnold action then this is the movie for you. You’ll get a few kicks, a few laughs, which is the reason why this type of action movie is what Arnold does best.

My Rating: 5/10

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About Leo Panasyuk

A fan of all things film, Leo never really lets himself get tied down to one specific genre. He's always interested in watching new and old films and especially loves the IMAX format. When he's not choosing which movie to watch next, he's studying Film and English at Western University.

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