The Last Stand  (2013)    50/100

Rating :   50/100                                                                     107 Min        15

This has been touted as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the big-screen after his two term, eight year stint as governor of the state of California. Of course, it’s not entirely accurate, as he also appeared in ‘The Expendables’ (2010) and its more action stars per bullet sequel ‘The Expendables 2’. Nevertheless, here he is the main character, the sheriff of a small American town near the Mexican border; a semi-retirement from the horrors of solving crime in Los Angeles. Cue entry of one on-the-run criminal looking to escape south of the border (from the clutches of FBI agent Forest Whitaker), and no second guesses over where he decides to cross.

The film opens with a shot of a police officer in his car eating donuts, from which we can infer it’s either going to be full of stereotypes, or something that perhaps turns those stereotypes into satire. Sadly it’s mostly the former. This really is a step in the wrong direction for Arnie, harking back to films in his early career such as ‘Commando’ (85) rather than classics like ‘Predator’ (87) and the Terminator series (though it has been confirmed he will return to that franchise as per his catchphrase {which, incidentally, was actually a botched line – he was meant to say ‘I’ll come back’}, whether they’ll be able to pull it from the depths of ‘Terminator Salvation’ 09 is another matter).

The film features some unbelievably bad tactics by both the criminal gang orchestrating the escape attempt and also the cops led by the big man himself. Though it is good to see him on the big-screen again, as his acting creaks into gear like a huge, rusty, ahem, machine before he eventually gets into a rhythm and delivers some of the one-liners we would expect, but never with full conviction. I’m pretty sure he shoots one of the bad guys in the head at point-blank range at one point, and then launches himself of a roof with the, presumably, deceased for company. Most amusing.

The film also stars Johnny Knoxville of Jackass fame, who seems to be relaunching his movie career too with a spate of films made in 2012. Perhaps his main selling point is being able to save on stunt man costs, as in at least three of those films, including this one, he performs some ridiculous stunt for no reason other than he wants to remind everyone he is as far removed from a character actor as you can get. This is the first American film for South Korean director Jee-woon Kim, who has a critically and commercially successful backlog of films, but unusually he didn’t write the screenplay for this project (no less than three people are credited with that glory), a story which could have worked, but ultimately, really doesn’t.

Ends with a painfully unbelievable final fight sequence too.


Quotes

“I’m the sheriff.”   Arnold Schwarzenegger/Ray Owens

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