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Monday, 28 January 2013

The Last Stand

As far as comebacks go, Arnie's route is typical; although its concept of western parody is satisfactory in terms of popcorn entertainment.

Arnie returns to the big screen following what has been quite a successful stint in the chair of Californian Governor. Arnold bowed out of cinema after the Terminator franchise was destroyed in 2003; it was great timing to what was, in my opinion, a parody in comparison to James Cameron's vision.

Post Governor antics and events unspoken, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as Ray Owens; a veteran sheriff of Sommerton Junction who prior has served his trade as an LAPD officer in Vegas. Considered a place for retirement, Ray is unaware of the trouble heading toward Sommerton.

Modern day bad-guy Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) flees the courts of Vegas and heads toward the Mexican border. Taking a high speed chase (quite annoyingly through-out the entire movie), Gabriel is hell bent on crossing the border, however the only thing standing in his way is a big Austrian sheriff and his rookie accomplices.

Bewildered to the chaos reaching the quiet town, Ray is alerted of the danger through Agent John (Forest Whitaker) of the LAPD.

We discover a re-invented Arnie in typical fashion following a shoot-out in the outbacks of the town. Sheriff Owens discovers a connection between the oncoming fugitive, and Burrell (Peter Stormare); a stranger in the sheriff's territory.

The Last Stand is action packed - in small sequences. Arnie's presence is not what it was however you can't help but relish the fact that such an icon is still blowing heads off with a shotgun (similar to T2 weaponry). As expected, there is a mindless but simple plot. However for a relatively short movie it supplies timeless sequences as it reflects back and forward to the events in Vegas as we are treated with the same "bad guy in a ridiculously fast car" scene. At one stage it felt like he was never going to reach the town of Sommerton. Because you know the before and after events, you can't help but think the movie could have rushed the middle and slowed the end. After all, we are only there for one thing, Arnie!

There is around 80 minutes of comedic effort and western middle of the road cliche's that are told through a cast of amateurs. Depending on your taste, and taking into account what Arnie offers, actors such as Luis Guzm├ín and Johnny Knoxville become annoying. Sure, they are there to brighten up the movie, while Luis and Johnny were a tad funny, 15 minutes of Knoxville was way too long. The Last Stand is so centred on Arnie's performance that even Forest Whitaker appeared irrelevant, ultimately resulting in quite a crap acting performance.

Nit-picking at acting performances might be too harsh taking into account the simple mind-frame behind such a vivid R-rate movie. After all, Arnie doesn't have a past of Oscar material but he has certainly done better - am I living in the past? Although he does tend to revive the once pump-action madness of the early 90s. The content is similar to Stallone's Expendables however to say the Last Stand is as far-fetched would be wrong. 

There is a level of positivity surrounding Arnie's comeback, with the Last Stand offering a trip back in time. Instead of originality, Jee-woon Kim creates a very similar, yet likable role to match the cliche's of Arnie's career.

Fans of Arnold will be chuffed just to see him feature in his first starring role since 2003. Anyone heading into this flick with a logical view obviously doesn't know the history of Arnie and should some what "Wake up" in life.

Overall: The Last Stand is a typical return for Arnie. Not entirely action packed, the nostalgic good guy - bad guy concept is desperately inserted with a villain who is ever-so irritating. A dumb plot with bad actors can often be ignored by the cheesy one-liners of Sheriff Owens. Great to have him back but maybe a more intense role in the future.


See it if you like: The Expendables and Walking Tall.

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