It’s Rio Bravo
meets High Noon
, in The Last Stand
a cheap looking production that is short on budget but high on manic energy. Shot with verve and surreal appeal, debuting director Jee-woon Kim seems to come from the Tsui Hark
school of action cinema. His use of sound design and camera placement is memorable as is an almost laughable devotion to showcasing exotic heavy artillery. This is a boy show and girls are an after thought in this world, even Schwarzenegger
who typically is cast as a family man is single and apparently without much of a life outside his profession. There are caricatures galore nearly every character has some cliched quirk or conflict. All which just puts further focus on the star and his conviction to stop an escaped fugitive.
One of the most feared Cartel leaders has just been sprung from a police escort and is now behind the wheel of a souped up Corvette capable of doing 200mph. The FBI is on the trail but it comes down to Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) of Sommerton, Az to stop this fugitive from crossing back into Mexico. Early on it is explained that nearly the entire population is heading out of town to support the local football team. Leaving the streets deserted and isolated, further adding to the felling of a western. Outside the most incompetent deputies this side of May-berry, Owens deputizes an imprisoned thief with a Military background and the gun-obsessed local loon (Johnny Knoxville) to aid in his battle with the villains. Led by Peter Stormare who struggles with a wavering accent slipping in and out from Texas-drawl to Ukrainian under pronunciation. Yet, with his slicked back hair and slimy charisma he is reminiscent of a young Robert Duvall.
The Last Stand will have a special appeal to audience members (myself included) with an unexplainable fascination for every Arnold Schwarzenegger action film over the last three decades. He may have been absent from screens for nearly ten years, yet Arnold seems to be having a blast heaving large guns and uttering one-liners like it’s the 1990’s. A bit older, and sporting a thicker midsection than his Expendables co-stars, Schwarzenegger does more for this modestly produced pic than it does for him. This is the type of film that buried the careers of Charles Bronson and Burt Reynolds at the twilight of their stardom. Luckily the movie recognizes its outlandish story early and never attempts to be anything more than an entertaining genre flick. On those simple terms The Last Stand is a breezy 110 minutes punctuated by gratuitous violence and the occasional chuckle. If you do not count yourself a fan of Schwarzenegger you may want to adjust down half of a star rating.
Director: Jee-woon Kim
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville