Review: The Last Stand / Cert: 15 / Director: Jee-woon Kim / Screenplay: Andrew Knauer, Jeffrey Nachmanoff, George Nolfi / Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eduardo Noriega, Forest Whitaker / Release Date: January 25th
He's back! His stint in politics over, Arnie saddles up for action once again in this high-octane film that will please his long-term fans and maybe even earn him a few new ones.
Sentenced to death row, underworld drug kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Noriega) escapes an FBI detail headed by Agent John Bannister (Whitaker). To make matters worse, he’s taken a female agent, (Genesis Rodriguez) hostage and has an army of ex-commandos protecting his journey towards freedom across the Nevada and Arizona deserts and into Mexico in a stolen prototype stealth car. Unfortunately, he has to pass through the quiet border town of Sommerton, Arizona, where ex-LAPD detective Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) is the eagle-eyed sheriff. Hasta la vista, baddies!
The story is by-the-numbers stuff that’s been done many times before, but Jee-woon Kim (The Good, the Bad and the Weird) still manages to deliver an entertaining '80s-inspired film with a touch of American International Pictures '70s movies thrown in. Moving things along briskly throughout the entire 107 minutes, the Korean director choreographs more than enough explosions, shoot-'em-ups and novel twists to keep the audience gripped, and if you can overlook a few plot holes you could drive Arnie’s Humvee through, it's a pretty decent way of spending a Friday night.
After being stuck behind a desk all these years, Arnie looks a little seasoned in a Clint Eastwood-ish way, but that’s not a bad thing. Luiz Guzman, Rodrigo Santoro, Zach Gilford, Jamie Alexander and Harry Dean Stanton round out the cast with some good scenes and amusing dialogue, and there's a standout turn from Johnny Knoxville as a quirky antique arms collector (love to know if he did his own stunt during one harrowing sequence involving a lamp post).
Whatever you think of Arnie's two terms as the Governator, he's been missed in action-adventure films, and The Last Stand proves that this is where he belongs.
Expected Rating: 5 out of 10