You know that saying about teaching an old dog new tricks? This could not apply more to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the big screen in The Last Stand. I mean that in both a good and bad way. Some of the good include the stoic stare, classic one-liners, and plain action fun. The bad being the low quality of acting, average to poor dialogue, and predictability factor but somehow all of the bad do not negatively impact the overall action experience.
A brief summary of the plot of The Last Stand is as follows: Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) is enjoying his day off on what should be the quietest day of the year when the town of Sommerton Junction’s high school football team travels out of town when suspicious truck drivers arrive. Suspicions heighten when one of the local farmers does not make a delivery followed by a call from FBI agent John Bannister warns that an escaped drug/mob leader, Gabriel Cortez, has escaped custody and may be heading to Sommerton as a means of evading to the Mexican border in a super charged Corvette. Click here for the trailer.
Looking at the credits for The Last Stand with its mish-mash of names that I would have never thought would be in the same movie, it should have been a disaster but it kind of works. Starting with director Jee-woon Kim who is most known for I Saw the Devil (2010), The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008), and A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) making his American film debut with this action/crime/comedy. Kim has proven that he knows how to shoot action scenes, craft intricate stories, and bring out great emotions from characters. The latter two do not exactly describe your typical Schwarzenegger flick. But The Last Stand holds up nice to his credits. The action was really well done which creates some tense and exciting scenes that are well adapted for an older Schwarzenegger character.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the few actors/movie stars where no matter what movie he is in I will see it and most likely enjoy it even if his characters are practically the same every movie. The Last Stand is no different except that the character is older and not as physically dominating. He still gets in his blows, punchlines, and incredibly accurate when necessary gunfire which makes his return to the big screen a positive addition to Schwarzenegger’s others.
As for the other actors, they did a fine job supporting the big man’s return. Lois Guzman, Johnny Knoxville, and Peter Stormare are excellent comic relief. By the way, I cannot help but feel when casting a villain Peter Stormare must be one of the top choices consistently because he really does come across as sleazy and evil. Whitaker borderline over acted as an over anxious FBI agent but you cannot penalize him for trying to make up for the lack of acting from other minor supporting actors which have been improved by some better writing because the dialogue was the absolute worst thing about this movie.
Most action movies suffer from poor writing especially most Schwarzenegger movies but The Last Stand may be one of the worst offenders I have come across as of late. Dialogue is practically thrown out the window to make room for one-liners and to speed through scenes to get to the action which I am okay with most the time but The Last Stand is just so poorly written that I feel sorry that Kim made his American directing debut with it.
Overall, Arnold Schwarzenegger fans will not be let down but The Last Stand since it meets the formula of a lot of his other movies even though it does struggle more than most in the acting and dialogue area than his other movies. I give The Last Stand a 6/10.