Director: Kim Jee-Woon Writer: Andrew Knauer Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville Running time: 107 minutes Year: 2012
For his first starring role in over ten years you’d expect Arnold Schwarzenegger would be out to prove he’s still got it. He’s not and he ain’t. As small-town Sheriff Ray Owens in The Last Stand, he can barely muster the sincerity to utter a genuine greeting to his townsfolk. This is nothing out of the ordinary for the Austrian actor, who made a name for himself playing The Terminator; a robotic, monosyllabic beefcake. Seems Arnie is still struggling to shed that image. Obviously director Jee-Woon hoped to capitalise on what made Schwarzie so popular – his inability to convey human emotions.
Thankfully, we don’t watch his films for their reflection on the human condition. We watch for shoot outs, explosions and clunky one liners. And The Last Stand has got them all.
Sheriff Owens takes it upon himself to batten down the hatches of his small town in order to capture an escaped convict who is en route to Mexico to flee from the Feds. Coming across like Assault On Precinct 13 shagged The Wild Bunch while The Fast And The Furious watched, The Last Stand has the genetics from them all. Scenes in which the small town law enforcement come up against the baddies provide the film’s most capitvating sequences.
There’s comedic relief in the shape of Johnny Knoxville as local buffoon with the best museum that side of the Smithsonian. Massive kudos to the foley artists for the sound of a shred of beef being flicked from the tip of a fedora, which generates the biggest laugh. A quick tug at the heart strings when a junior officer is fatally struck down is the briefest glimpse at the film’s heart. And is all the reasoning Arnie’s sheriff needs to wreak all out war on the escaped convict.
It’s constantly flimsy and that mostly lies at the feet of Arnie. If the end result of the film consists of his best takes then god forbid any of the b-roll makes it onto the special features. Levered in rather clumsily are several opportunities for him to relive his glory days; firing a huge machine gun at the baddies (a la T2) and waiting a beat before delivering unconvincing one liners (T2: “I’ll be back.” TLS: “I’m the sheriff.”)
You’ll get the most from The Last Stand by kicking back, switching your brain off and revelling in fast cars, shoot outs and the barely-used Forest Whitaker as prickish Federal Agent Bannister.
[vsw id=”oc0x-jiewTE” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]Image courtesy of Ign