Director: Kim Jee-Woon
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, Rodrigo Santoro, Peter Stormare, Eduardo Noriega, Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzman
Plot: With the help of a group of heavily armed mercenaries and a souped up sports car that can go 197 mph, a drug lord escapes custody and heads for the Mexican border. The FBI are unable to stop him, so they call upon the sheriff of Sommerton Junction, the last stop before the border, to block his path. The sheriff is understaffed and weaker in firepower, but he's played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, so how can he lose?
Review: Yeah, Arnie is back. Sure, he's done a couple of Expendables flicks, but this would be his first lead role in a long while. While he may not be the Terminator anymore, his undeniable screen presence is still there.
The Last Stand is what I would call an old school action film, where plot takes a backseat somewhat, and violence and humour go hand in hand. In the age of Bourne and Bond, having one of these types of actioners is a refreshing change. No plot twists, no complex histrionics. We have a good guy, a whole army of bad guys, and they go to war. The simplicity of it is perfect.
Arnie also acknowledges the fact that he's old (heck he even says it in one scene) and not the invincible tough guy he usually is when he was younger. He can still kick ass and take names of course, and seeing him play down his larger than life badassness is a nice bonus.
Director Kim Jee-Woon paces the film well, without a dull moment in sight. And I don't know how he did it, but he got a whole bunch of great actors to fill this film behind Arnie and they all deliver. The action sequences are pretty good too. Like I said above, it's old school, which means no ridiculous stunts or bombastic explosions, just straightforward violence and blood.
Arnie is still Arnie, heroic but old, and still good with the one liners like "I'm the sheriff". No one does it like him. Forest Whitaker provides some solid support as FBI head Bannister, though a lot of other guys could have done it just as well. Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzman and Rodrigo Santoro make a good team as Arnie's deputies, while Johnny Knoxville recycles his usual crazy schtick as Lewis Dinkum, owner of a gun museum who provides artillery and comic relief. Eduardo Noriega and Peter Stormare play the baddies, and surprisingly it's the former who scores in his role, while the latter, who has spent nearly his whole career playing villains, puts on a lousy southern accent and just comes off as annoying.
Now, I did say it's an old fashioned action film, which means there are plenty of cliches to be had here, like certain good people whom you know will bite the dust later based on their character, and many plot elements are very predictable. But that's okay, because having fun during films like this doesn't require surprises anyway.
On the whole I had a lot of fun with The Last Stand. Schwarzenegger still has some fight left in him, and I want to see what he's got next for us. (3.5/5)