Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as a leading man at the movies after several years of running California, and not much has changed.
Stuff blows up, and bad guys are blown away. The English language is murdered, as well, with "I'm the sheriff" becoming "I'm duh sheriff" and "Oh, Jesus" definitely sounding more like "Oh, cheeses."
"The Last Stand" possesses the mind of a B-movie with regard to its level of violence, and the heart of a Western - a bad man and his gang is coming through town en route to Mexico, and Sheriff Ahnuld and his deputies are all that stands in the way of his escape.
‘THE LAST STAND’
Forest Whitaker, Johnny
20, Cinemark Tulsa, Cinemark
Broken Arrow, Starworld 20,
RiverWalk, Owasso, Eton
Square, Sand Springs
1 hour, 46
R (strong bloody
violence throughout, and
(on a scale of
zero to four stars)
I think we all know how this is going to go down when a Mexican drug cartel leader eludes FBI custody in a souped-up Corvette, the finale of an elaborate escape that looks like it came straight out of a 1980s action movie.
So does Eduardo Noriega's self-obsessed villain, as a young cartel hothead who in the opening minutes is shown to be the kind of sadistic wacko that we know we will all relish watching the Governator beat the snot out of late in the movie.
Equally as predictable is that the sheriff's deputies will be a motley crew of colorful characters, including the town drunk (played by Rodrigo Santoro), a one-liner sidekick in Luis Guzman, and a gonzo vintage-weapons freak played by Johnny Knoxville. When he brings a World War II-era swiveling, ammunition-feeding machine gun to the party, the picture is complete.
Hot cars, big guns and Arnie saving the day.
It ends up not mattering that "The Last Stand" has a string of writing credits ranging from "story" to "screenplay" to "rewrite" to "story supervisor" among four people, or that none of them belong to director Kim Ji-Woon, the South Korean writer-director making his U.S. debut (his foreign-language film "Changhwa, Hongryon" was adapted in America as the 2009 horror-thriller "The Uninvited").
Schwarzenegger has always enjoyed great success in bringing audiences to the point of a willing suspension of disbelief, and the writers seem to embrace this packaging as much as the big guy's co-stars.
When the firefights begin, and the sheriff's deputies are all marksmen and women while the bad guy's army can barely hit the broad side of a barn, it takes me back to "Commando" with Arnie blasting dozens of armed guys in a courtyard while sustaining nary a scratch.
As for the co-stars, they all look giddy to be part of Schwarzenegger's return to silly cinema. There's certainly a nostalgia factor to the on-screen action, and whether that will translate to teen audiences is in question.
The star doesn't look like he has a lot of these kinds of films left in him. His sheriff is meant to have that world-weary look to him, but Schwarzenegger simply looks weary.
He looks to be in fabulous shape for a 65-year-old man, but he also looks old enough that I couldn't help thinking: Ouch, that must have hurt. I was a little worried for him.
This is not what anybody should be thinking about when watching an action-movie star.
Those attending "The Last Stand" are likely in nostalgia mode, and you'll get what you paid for. But you better get it before it's gone.
Original Print Headline: Arnie's back, in full nostalgia mode
Michael Smith 918-581-8479