Last action hero’s still standing, but barely
If you’re an Arnie fan, then The Last Stand is an entertaining enough film. Despite the fact that it’s enjoyable, this was in part because my expectations were not very high going into it.
The Last Stand begins by introducing us to the small town of Sommerton Junction, a border town between Arizona and Mexico. Here Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) is town sheriff, although the town generally requires very little action. Although he’s experienced in big city policing, his deputies are definitely lacking. Meanwhile in Las Vegas, a major drug cartel boss makes an incredible escape while being transferred between prisons. As a Mexican criminal hoping to seek refuge, cartel boss Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) speeds his way down to Sommerton expecting to cross the border easily. But not on this sheriff’s watch …
Although it starts off a bit slowly, the film quickly picks up pace with lots of high-powered action and stunts. It’s fairly clichéd and predictable, but the script is surprisingly solid – most elements have reasonable cause and effect. The characters aren’t always the smartest bunch, but then they aren’t always supposed to be. Hollywood tends to be a bit prejudiced in its depictions of the rural life.
There is, however, very little character development. All the characters are represented in broad stereotypical strokes. You get the brand you’re buying with the major players and they deliver the behaviours they are known for. Naturally, Schwarzenegger does a lot of action (the man appears amazingly strong for a 65-year-old) while simultaneously delivering cheesy one-liners. Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville are comedians who stick to their particular shticks.
The creators of The Last Stand were clearly trying to add humour to the mix by featuring two prominent comedians. But those efforts inevitably fail: Arnie delivers the truly amusing moments, but even those are sparse.
The production is fairly high quality, as is expected of a high budget action film. The stunts are decently choreographed and well shot. But it is interesting to see Hollywood try to hold onto the action heroes, as quite frankly, they get old.
Dir: Jee-woon Kim; US action/thriller, 2013, 107 mins; Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville
Premiered March 7