Arnold Schwarzenegger is back!! He told us he would be! And not just in a cameo appearance like The Expendables. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive, after all the guy was born in the 40’s (!!) and I thought possibly a stint in politics might make him a little more reserved? All I knew is that a new Arnie film was out, I had to see it. I had never seen an Arnie film in the cinema before so this was going to be a milestone in my own personal movie history. Having loved him since I first saw Predator at the age of 12, my excitement was brewing!
The plot is nice and simple, Ray Owens (Arnie) is the Sheriff of a quiet town called Sommerton. When a highly dangerous Cartell boss Gabriel Cortez escapes from the FBI, he has to pass through Sommerton to make it to Mexico. The Sheriff and his small town team are the only ones who can stop him from crossing the border, and boy do they give him a run for his money.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. It was a little slow to start, but once the action kicked in, and Arnie was in his comfort zone it was brilliantly entertaining. It has a fantastic cast, the most memorable being Luis Guzman, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, Eduardo Noriega, Jaimie Alexander and Peter Stormare. Everyone loves a bit of Guzman, in fact Tom kept referring to The Last Stand as ‘the new Luis Guzman movie’. He is typically funny and charming as ever in this film, playing the Sheriffs Deputy who enjoys the quiet life. He gets stuck into the action though when he is needed and even plays the hero! My personal favourite bit was when he kits himself out with a morning star weapon in his belt and a giant sword which looked sneakily like Conan’s sword, a nice nod to Arnie’s next endeavour no doubt! Well you have to be prepared!
Johnny Knoxville was a huge surprise for me, I don’t enjoy Jackass very much and didn’t rate him in Movie 43 but he was fantastic in The Last Stand! I guess he plays the village idiot to give him a title, but he was very funny, lovable and crazy. He had me routing for him the entire last half of the film. Also love his attire, flappy hats and pyjama bottoms, standard. He is a gun wielding maniac but has some great ideas (maybe not well executed) but really proves himself as part of the team.
Forest Whitaker played the high and mighty FBI agent who doesn’t think much of Sheriff Owens and his small town. He is proved wrong though when he finds out that Owens became a Sheriff after losing his partner in a drug bust for the LAPD, turns out he has seen some shit go down in the past and is more than capable of protecting his patch! I am not a fan of Whitaker, and I didn’t much like his character in The Last Stand either. He is far too emotional and highly strung to be a top dog in the FBI! However, he turned me around near the end when he gives the Sheriff his do’s and takes the guilty party back in to custody.
Eduardo Noriega makes a great upper class bad guy. He gets to drive a SEXY car around for the majority of the film, and has some pretty shady morals. But over all I actually found this bad guy very likeable! I especially liked the badger-esque white streak in his hair. Jaimie Alexander similarly was really fun to watch. It took me ages to place her and then I finally shouted THOR! Her character in this though is very different, and it was good to see she can pull off the scared yet determined small town cop. Plus the main evil henchman Peter Stormare would make any body frightened, he is a scary motherf*cker.
The meat of this film though is in the second half, as Cortez races his way to the Mexican border and finally hits Sommerton. Little does he know there are 5 heavily armed police (some of them honorary) with a plan. The shoot out in the middle of the town is fantastic. I had a big grin on my face and was laughing with excitement the whole way through. Everyone gets to play hero and kick the bad guys ass. A particularly awesome bit is when the Sheriff pushes a man off the roof, falls with him and shoots him in the head on the way down. It seemed so unnecessary but was really cool!
Schwarzenegger was completely on form, he apparently did all his own stunts (crazy bastard) and there were a few old jokes thrown in there which put a smile on the audience faces. The interactions between Owens and the town folk were spot on, and actually kinda made me want to go live in a little American town with a Sheriff and become a waitress. Arnie’s delivery was much better than I had expected too, I actually felt like he was playing a character rather than reciting lines as could some times be the case. I loved his character and really felt he cared for his county.
The best part has to be the car chase nearing the end of the film. Cortez and Owens race to the border in two super cars and end up in a corn field. Visually these scenes were so exciting and I was actually pretty tense through out! I haven’t seen anything like that before so it was a refreshing change from the normal car chase through town or city. Also, the one on one fight between Cortez and Owens I thought was very well done. We know Arnie isn’t what he used to be physically (although I wouldn’t say that to his face!) so having the two of them practically wrestle was brilliant. Scrambling around on the floor, getting each other in head locks and leg locks and generally writhing around was really fun to watch! Also a little more believable than having a 65 year old jumping around playing fisty-cuffs.
Overall, obviously The Last Stand is not an astonishing piece of cinema but it is most definitely worth a watch, and worth seeing at the cinema! It is for all the Arnie lovers, Luis Guzman fans and generally people who like to have fun when they watch a movie. Go and see it 🙂