The Movie Waffler New Release Review - The Last Stand | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - The Last Stand

Directed by: Jee-woon Kim
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, Peter Stormare, Eduardo Noriega, Luiz Guzman, Jaimie Alexander, Sonny Landham, Harry Dean Stanton

A small-town sheriff and his deputies must stop an escaped drug-lord from crossing the Mexican border.

Mexican drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Noriega) makes an escape from F.B.I custody in Las Vegas and speeds toward the small border town of Sommerton in a souped up Chevy capable of speeds approaching 200mph. There, a team of hired mercenaries, led by Burrell (Stormare), have erected a bridge over a canyon which will allow Noriega to cross over into Mexico. Despite the best efforts of agent Bannister (Whitaker) to thwart him, Cortez seems destined to make it across. All that stands in his way is the under-resourced Sommerton police department, led by Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger), a veteran of the L.A.P.D.
With a premise borrowing heavily from Howard Hawks classic western ‘Rio Bravo’, Schwarzenegger’s comeback film should have been a fun ride in the mould of the action epics he appeared in throughout the eighties. Instead, it has more in common with the action cinema of the nineties, torn between the tongue-in-cheek approach of the eighties and the why-so-serious method favored by today’s glum blockbusters. The screenplay suffers from schizophrenia, with slapstick characters like Knoxvilles gun-nut sitting awkwardly alongside Whitaker’s F.B.I man. At times it almost feels like two films uncomfortably strung together. 
The audience for this really just want to see Arnie blowing faceless goons to pieces with ridiculously large guns, while spouting bad one-liners in an Austrian accent so strong it’s hard to believe he’s lived in the U.S for four decades. Eventually we get this, (and it’s handled with an over-the-top relish by Korean director Kim), but it feels like an age before we do. The movie’s final third is a lot of fun, well handled by Kim who makes full use of the giant train set which is a big Hollywood production. By the time we arrive at this point however we’ve been bored to tears by the sort of endless scenes of officials discussing tactics that made mid-nineties blockbusters like ‘The Rock’ and ‘Armageddon’ such bores. Some serious trimming of fat could turn this into a far more enjoyable film. Too much time is wasted on pointless characters and in making excuses for its star’s age (Arnie doesn’t look a day over fifty, so why mention it?)
In the space of a few weeks we’ll have seen the return to action of Sly, Arnie and Willis. As it stands it’s Stallone 1, Schwarzenegger 0. It remains to be seen how John McClane’s upcoming adventure fares, hopefully better than this.

The Last Stand (2013) on IMDb 7.3/10

The Movie Waffler