Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘The Last Stand’ Review: A Fun, But Not Fantastic Arnold Film

Let’s be clear, “The Last Stand” is not really a good film by any means, but it’s certainly good to have Arnold Schwarzenegger back up on-screen where he belongs! Arnold fans, like myself, have long waited for his next starring role. In 2012, he had a small, but essential role in “The Expendables 2” and the last starring role he had was in 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” So, it’s been a while.

Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) keeps watch over the small, uneventful town of Sommerton, Arizona, close to the Mexican border. Years back he worked in LA, but left after a failed mission, which left him defeated and his partner crippled.

FBI prisoner and the most-wanted drug lord in the area Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), escapes during his transportation from one prison to another and now he’s headed towards Sommerton. Why? His plan is to cross the border in his supped-up Corvette ZR1. Makes sense to me.

When FBI Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) calls Owens, he is reluctant to help at first, but when a disastrous event involving his police team happens, Owens vows to take Cortez down.

The film’s first half is slow and more importantly, does not have enough Arnold presence! We should not be asking ourselves, “Where is Ah-nuld?” in an Arnold movie! The supporting characters and Arnold’s police team played by Zach Gilford, Jaimie Alexander and Johnny Knoxville are not nearly as interesting as the Sheriff himself, but they make do with what they’re given. I will say Luis Guzman (“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”) is always hilarious and enjoyable; he saved several of the scenes here.

The “bad guy” presence of the film is pretty good and even when they aren’t on-screen the characters are never lost in the story. Actors Eduardo Noreiga (“Vantage Point”) and Peter Stormare (“Lockout”) both do an excellent job as the token bad guys we need in an action film.

The main problem with “Stand” is the several missed opportunities for Arnold one-liners. Whether Arnold kicks butt or fires off some guns, there are so many times the screenplay could’ve allowed him some memorable lines, but it never did. It’s certainly disappointing growing up with lines like, “I’ll be back,” “Stick around,” and “It’s not a tumor” to find nothing here.

Thankfully, the film’s second half picks up and includes the glitzy action sequences Arnold fans will love. I will say, the crowd was hootin’ and hollerin’ during the last 45 minutes, so maybe Arnold is back after all; I just wish this screenplay gave him more to play with.

“The Last Stand” is an enjoyable Arnold flick, but some fans may be disappointed with the use of one-liners and the slow first half.

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