¨We are not going to let that guy come through our town without a fight.¨
Believe me, that line sounds a lot cooler when Arnie says it. The Last Stand is his first film in a lead role since Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines way back in 2003. Schwarzenegger is getting old, but he still has the charisma of a true action star. As his character in the Terminator promised he came back and he did so in this guilty pleasure action packed film directed by Jee-woon Kim (I Saw the Devil, The Good the Bad and the Weird) from South Korea. This film shouldn’t be confused with the third film of the X-Men (The Last Stand) franchise, although it does share some similarities in that this is another mindless fun action film in which we can laugh at the craziness of it all. This is a typical Schwarzenegger film that brings back some nostalgic memories of his movies using the same successful formula he used during the 80s and 90s. He is always at his best when he is given short dialogue and can answer back with some clever and funny one liners. That is exactly the case with his role here since he seems to be making fun of himself and his old age. He always has been a good sport parodying himself, his accent and his acting chops. That is what has made him such a likeable actor over the years, and that is the reason this movie is entertaining despite the ridiculous plot and story (written by Andrew Knauer). I think Schwarzenegger fans will be very pleased with this movie and have a fun time because it is a very passable and enjoyable film.
Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a former LAPD officer, has moved back to his small local community of Sommerton Junction. He counts only with three inexperienced deputies: Mike (Luis Guzman), Jerry (Zach Gilford), and Sarah (Jaimie Alexander), but they seem to be more than enough since nothing ever really seems to happen in this quiet town. Meanwhile a dangerous drug kingpin named Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has escaped from an FBI prisoner convoy and is headed south in order to try to reach the border before the authorities catch up to him. Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) is in charge of the operation, but his men have failed to catch the elusive fugitive. Now the only thing that stands between Gabriel´s escape is Sommerton, and the Sheriff will be waiting for him, but in order to do so he must prepare his unqualified men with the help of a local weapon fanatic named Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville). Together this unlikely team will have to do what the FBI couldn’t: stop Gabriel before he reaches the border.
This gritty and violent film works really well because it decides to incorporate a lot of comedy. It kind of makes fun of itself in its way, and that self parody is what saves this clichéd action genre film. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a lot of very funny lines and he makes fun of his old age, but he hasn’t lost his physical strength. The rest of the cast is pretty interesting, although Johnny Knoxville goes a bit over the top with his performance. The secondary characters of Sommerton are the real surprise of this film as they share the funniest scenes while interacting with each other. Luis Guzman, Zach Gilford, and Jaimie Alexander all have some funny scenes, but the true star of the film is Arnie with all the gunfights and explosions going on. This mindless film is enjoyable thanks to the funny moments throughout and some entertaining action scenes. There isn’t anything that really stands out about this film; it is just your average action film, but it marks Arnie´s comeback and it´s worth it just for that. I also felt a lot of nostalgia since this film reminded me so much of the movies I watched growing up, but that is about it. This isn’t one film you have to watch, but if you are a Schwarzenegger fan then you will enjoy this movie.