An extremely dangerous Mexican drug cartel who escapes imprisonment is on the run. He seems to be unstoppable… So who attempts to rein him in? Yes, that’s right, an Austrian sheriff in his 60’s whom you may know as Arnold Schwarzenegger or Mr. Freeze from that nipple suit Batman movie. It’s all up to him and his inexperienced staff of deputies and ex-con affiliates to prevent him from crossing the border into Mexico. Can he do so and have it result in a fun action thrill ride of a movie? My review after the jump.
Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is retired from his days in the LAPD and finds solace in protecting the quiet and tumbleweed filled town of Sommerton Junction. His deputies include Sarah (Jaimie Alexander), Mike (Luis Guzman) and Jerry (Zach Gilford). They’re all friendly yet don’t know a thing or two about shooting a gun. Enter agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker), assigned in bringing down Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the drug cartel in question who is on his way to the Mexican border where millions of dollars await him. John cannot allow this to happen, but Cortez’s manpower and smarts almost outweigh anything the F.B.I’s got.
On the way to the border… you guessed it, is Sommerton, where that other old cast member from The Expendables awaits Cortez’s arrival with a hell of a lot of guns, his deputies and Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville) a gun-ho maniac living in the town. Sheriff Ray Owens isn’t quite ready for retirement…even if he is 60 and can’t quite perfect that American accent. Hilarity, blood shed and destruction of brain cells ensue.
To those who are still reading, I ask you, honestly, at what point does self-aware stupidity in films that we’ve seen handled much better before start becoming a thing worth spending money to see? The Last Stand takes itself so seriously in the first hour and twenty minutes that by the time it wants you to have fun, you’re essentially paralysed by the stupidity and instead of fun, you’re left with boredom, maybe a little depression; and the sad realization that no matter who’s behind the camera, a bad screenplay is poison, no matter the film.
Jee-Woon Kim directed the almost perfect I Saw The Devil, which had scenes of such precision and terror, you can’t help but imagine what else he’s capable of . This is not simply a director having fun, but a cheap knock-off of a film parading as an action movie. No matter how many times you chant his name as each idiotic sequence comes about, that it’s his next effort after a masterpiece and nothing can un-do it.
The performances, yes, those, ok, here’s essentially a sample scene involving Schwarzenegger in his most challenging role yet, an old sheriff who doesn’t use his gun but is merely an ordinary man;
Sherriff Owens: I am such an ordunery mun, I will sip my coffee at a dinur and talk fishing with the ownur.
*Cut to that evening*
Sheriff Owens: Oh I um just so ordunery that I sit on my powrch and sip a bier while observing tha night sky. God, I um so ordunery.
…THESE SCENES GO ON AND ON AND ON…
What prevents this from being the worst film of the year? Performances from Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville who have the most fun keep that fun alive and somewhat consistent. Moments towards the end involving endless shootouts become creative and thrilling (Johnny Knoxville and a flare gun…I promise it’s worth it) yet putting that aside, very little is left.
With a villain that has less depth than Elmer Fudd and scenes that you’ve seen many times before…and done better, The Last Stand is the epitome of re-tread that at any moment could’ve been different, interesting or in any way original, yet isn’t. If curiosity still persists, if you’ve seen Walking Tall (2004) then I assure you, you’ve already seen The Last Stand. This is not someone who hates stupid fun movies, it’s someone who thinks audiences deserve better than this.
By Chris Elena
Director: Jee-Woon Kim
Writer(s): Andrew Knauer, Jeffrey Nachmanoff & George Nolfi
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Jaimie Alexander, Peter Stomare, Luis Guzman
Johnny Knoxville & Eduardo Noriega
Runtime: 107 minutes
Release Date(s): Australia: February 21, 2013; New Zealand: May 9, 2013; USA: January 18, 2013