The Last Stand (review)

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The Last Stand red light Jaimie Alexander Arnold Schwarzenegger

I’m “biast” (pro): have enjoyed Arnie’s heroic schtick in the past

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

This Arnold Schwarzenegger guy, who totters around this clunky excuse for an action flick in apparent geriatric pain, shoulda stuck his day job (he is the former governor of California). The grimaces of what I can only assume is his arthritis flaring up in the running-around and shooting-up sequences are uncomfortable to watch; the painfully obvious stunt double in the preposterous climactic hand-to-hand fight scene is inexcusable; but mostly he’s just a stilted actor who cannot bring the slightest hint of plausibility to the awkward exposition the terrible script dumps all over the viewer. I know, I know: it’s just a dumb mindless action movie, so none of that should matter. But the action is pretty unforgivably dumb and mindless, too, and with nary a hint of wit or humor about it. Schwarzenegger (The Expendables 2) is Sheriff Owens of a tiny, sleepy Nevada border town and a former Los Angeles narcotics cop, which we learn when one of his deputies likens something not even remotely similar to “like when you worked narcotics in L.A.” during the slow, sleepy ramp up to the alleged excitement. This will consist of an escaped Mexican cartel drug lord (Eduardo Noriega) in a stolen high-performance sportscar racing through town to get to the temporary bridge his hired army — headed up by Peter Stormare (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) — is erecting over the ravine to Mexico just outside town. Korean director Kim Jee-woon shoots much of the film as if it were a sexytime autoporn advertisement for the car the escapee is driving; perhaps we’re meant to see him as way cool? (Did I mention he was on death row? Such a noble sort of anti-hero!) And then there’s the gunporn: Johnny Knoxville’s (Fun Size) embarrassing town clown is hoarding weapons under a dubious interpretation of the Second Amendment, which is naturally a good thing, because you never know when an escaped death-row Mexican cartel drug lord is going to breeze into town. This is also why, the film lets us know, grannies should be armed at all times. If I thought it was all making fun, in a bleak, black way, of America’s love of guns, I’d feel better about it. But it isn’t.

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Fri, Jan 25, 2013 4:27pm

Ah, hell. This looked as if it had potential – Arnie always seemed to have more of a sense of humour than Sly – but I guess not.

Commando was a dumb mindless action movie, but it didn’t forget to be fun, or to have a plot, or to have some characters.

reply to  RogerBW
Fri, Jan 25, 2013 7:37pm

 Hey Roger! When I didn’t see a post by you early (in my time zone) this morning, I was worried. :-) So, Nvrmnd.

reply to  LaSargenta
Fri, Jan 25, 2013 7:43pm

Still here but I don’t always have something today. :-)

Jonathan Roth
Fri, Jan 25, 2013 6:14pm

That was almost exactly what I expected from the trailer. (And heck, I even liked Last Action Hero… so Austrian cheese soup isn’t exactly off my menu)

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 11:47pm

Nevada does nor border Mexico

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Anon
Sat, Jan 26, 2013 12:25am

Frankly, I was not paying all that much attention to the film’s geography. Maybe the town is supposed to be in Arizona? It hardly matters to the awfulness of the movie, though.

Tonio Kruger
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Jan 31, 2013 10:58pm

…And all those Western states look alike, anyway. :-)

Sat, Jan 26, 2013 1:54am

The only thing I found intriguing about this movie’s trailer was the question of who performed the cover of “Boom Boom” used in it.

(Big Head Todd and the Monsters.)

Paul Wartenberg
Sat, Jan 26, 2013 5:50pm

But.. but it has Luis Guzman!  Wielding a sword!  That’s gotta count for something…

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Paul Wartenberg
Sun, Jan 27, 2013 6:30pm

He doesn’t wield it so much as consider it and then discard it.

Paul Wartenberg
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Jan 27, 2013 10:45pm

He doesn’t keep it?!  Blaspheme!  (heart breaks) GUZMAN, NOOOOOOoooooooooo

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 10:41pm

I went to the cinema last night and watched Zero Dark Thirty, though it was between that and The Last Stand. So I’m glad I picked the better option! (saying quietly – I think Arnie’s lost it a little bit. shshh!)

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 10:33pm

Autoporn and Arnold…i think i get the idea. LOL

Fri, Feb 01, 2013 4:32am