Reviewed by Ian Forbes
This was going to be a grand review, discussing Arnold’s first big feature since leaving the California Governor’s mansion. And then, in an ironic title twist, this review of The Last Stand has been hijacked by my immune system’s attempt to make a “last stand” against some mild version of the plague.
So, as I sit here, hopped up on medicine, downing orange juice like a 17th century British sailor trying to avoid scurvy, and being let down by the difference between the thought of microwavable chicken noodle soup and the reality of microwavable chicken noodle soup, the idea of putting a whole lot of effort into a review about a movie that few people should make a whole lot of effort to see in the theaters … well … frankly … it’s not worth it. Also, I love run-on sentences.
The January curse maintains its hold on the film industry with this one. It starts as a good idea, pitting Sheriff Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville, Luis Guzmán, Xerxes, and a smokin’ hot brunette deputy against a drug cartel kingpin who’s hired teams of mercenaries to ensure his safe passage back to Mexico. As fate and a hastily written script would have it, said kingpin plans to pass through a sleepy town situated at the Arizona/Mexico border which just so happens to be the same one protected by Herr Arnold. Gunfights and occasional comedic chemistry ensue.
Had this simply been about a bad guy trying to get through the Sheriffnator’s town, where the pluckiness of its citizens prevails against well-trained ex-military types led by Peter Stormare, then the chances of success would have increased. Adding in an FBI subplot where Ghost Dog Whitaker delves into his Criminal Minds‘ character and letting the story constantly slow down to make sure the audience feels connected to these stock characters only made this 107 minute movie feel a whole lot longer.
Then there’s the fact that the movie is really just an extended Chevy commercial. From the villain’s ride of choice, to the one fast car in town, to the SUVs used by the cops, to pretty much every other vehicle that spins its tires, it’s pretty much all Chevy, pretty much all the time. Whee. Why not just call this movie The Last Corvette?
Anyway, I doubt many people were expecting this to be some great action opus. However, I’m sure audiences would simply just like the action to be thrilling but for 95% of the movie, that dream never becomes a reality. It’s a shame really, as Korean director Kim Jee-woon finally makes a Hollywood movie and he wasn’t able to bring some of the inventiveness of his previous works like The Good The Bad The Weird or I Saw the Devil. This whole effort is pretty run of the mill.
If you’re like me, a diehard Arnold fan who can happily endure cheesy dialogue and stilted acting as long as the action and the camp factor is high … you’re better off waiting for the home market. I was never bored enough to want to leave but I can tell you that my last stand wouldn’t be in a theater showing this. Maybe the upcoming Stallone flick, A Bullet to the Head, will have better luck marrying the aging action star and modern cinematic sensibilities.
Ugh, how did I write so much when I feel so bad? Come here orange juice, I’m thirsty.
The Last Stand hits theaters on January 18, 2013 and is rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language.
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