Director: Kim Jee-Woon
Avg. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 59%
Source: Theatrical Release
Now I know what you guys are thinking, “Hey! The Last Stand is not horror!!!” First, calm down. Second, this film was directed by I Saw the Devil’s Kim Jee-Woon, a film which was atop of several horror bloggers/horror journalists top ten lists of 2011. Third, the death sequences in this movie are so ridiculous and over the top that this could qualify as a genre film, similar to The Raid: Redemption. Forth, it’s my site so I’ll choose what I want. Fifth, get ready for the review of this underrated gem that every genre and Schwarzenegger fan should watch.The premise for this action film is as basic as it gets: a notorious drug cartel boss (Eduardo Noriega) escapes from his FBI holders and hops into a Corvette ZR1, a car faster than a jet, and makes a run for the Mexico border through Summerton Junction, a small town where Sheriff Ben Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) acts as the last stand (get it?) between the bad guy and his freedom.
If you saw the trailer for this and you think that this movie is going to be packed with pure action throughout the film, you might be a little surprised. The first 2/3 of the movie is pure set up and character development, with a couple of action sequences sprinkled in their to whet your appetite for the climactic and adrenaline packed third act. I do admit that the first hour is a little slow, as Arnold, the world’s greatest action star, is walking around in boat shoes, drinking coffee, drinking a beer, talking on the phone, visiting local businesses, visiting locals…But once the final 30 minutes kick in, BAM, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
One of the true highlights of this film are the death sequences, which are completely over the top. Here are my top 3 over the top deaths in The Last Stand:
- Arnold knocks a bad guy off of the roof of a two story building, shoots the guy point blank in the head in mid-air, and lands on top of him, crushing him.
- Johnny Knoxville shoots a flare at a bad guy, the flare gets stuck on the shotgun shells that are wrapped on his body, causing them to go off like fireworks, exploding the guy in the process.
- Arnold shoots the right ear off of Peter Stormare, which leads to Arnold spitting the signature line “I’m the Sheriff!” right as he shoots him point blank range.
Another thing I loved about this movie was the fact that Arnold was old and they didn’t have him taking out younger guys with ease (unlike you Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone). Arnold has to put on his reading glasses when looking at evidence, he complains about an egg omelet giving him indigestion, he grunts and groans and has trouble getting up. Even in the final fight with Eduardo Noriega, Arnold is barely holding his own and just kind of stands there, throwing haymakers hoping to connect. Plus, this is the first Arnold movie I can remember in a long time that doesn’t have a glamor shot of his body, something indicative of his old age.
As for the cast, they’re more meh than good. Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville have great chemistry as the comedy relief. Jaimie Alexander, of Thor and Rest Stop fame, is pretty decent here. Harry Dean Stanton’s cameo was OK as the farmer, but he could have really been played by any one. Forest Whitaker slept walked throughout the film as an FBI agent. Peter Stormare was fantastic as the lead henchman. In fact, I thought that Stormare’s villain was way more interesting and dastardly than Noriega’s drug cartel boss. Stormare seemed so sinister and had no remorse, kind of like a classic western villain. To me, this is the film’s ultimate weakness. Arnold is such a towering, intimidating figure, someone who has fought some of the best villains in movie history, from a Predator to a T-1000 to the Devil incarnate. His villain for his comeback role should be an equal to him, a larger than life villain who you absolutely loath. Unfortunately, Eduardo Noriega doesn’t fit the mold as a memorable or worth Arnold opponent.
Overall this movie is a really fun ride, one that allows you to turn your brain off and enjoy beautiful women, car chases, explosions, and grisly deaths. This movie isn’t made to win Oscars or BAFTA awards, it’s made to entertain, to distract you from the moody and serious Oscar films that are out there. I highly recommend it for anyone who loves action packed thrill rides, corny acting, and Arnold.
What say you guys out there? Are you going to check it out? Have you seen it already? If you did what did you think?