Part time race car driver and full time drug cartel boss (Eduardo Noriega) escapes the Feds in a hot car (the Corvette ZR1) and heads for Mexico. Bummer for him that the small-town of Summerton stands between him and the border. Ya see, the resident Sheriff there is Arnold freaking Schwarzenegger (playing Ray) and he’ll have none of it!
I was pumped for THE LAST STAND
for varied reasons. 1- It was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to leading action man status after 9 years of being MIA. 2- It was genius Korean director Jee-woon Kim (I SAW THE DEVIL)
USA directorial debut. 3- Having visited the set (here
), witnessed scenes being shot and having had lunch with Arnie, I felt a somewhat personal connection to the film. With that, to be honest, the trailer didn’t sell me 100%, I was a bit underwhelmed by it, it made the flick look too goofy in my opinion (too much Johnny Knoxville looking like a dufus). But having now seen it, I can safely say that THE LAST STAND is one of the best action films I’ve seen in the last 5 years. And no I didn’t expect that… at all! NOTE: Lions Gate doesn't seem to know how to market its Rated R flicks. First DREDD
, now this one...sigh...
THE LAST STAND’s story was a classic one, following the old Western motif. A small and quiet town ran by a likeable Sheriff, a threat kicks in, small-town locals unite to beat the big, bad odds. Simple and pure. In the hands of a lesser director, this could have all played out in a sterile and 1-2-3 fashion. But in the claws of Jee-woon Kim (who cut his teeth on another hybrid modern western with THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD in 2008), he took the familiar and spun it on its severed head with his particular sense of humor and unique visual aesthetics. The comedy here was organic and not forced down my throat; it came out of the situation and the characters so it went down smooth for me. Even the expected Arnie-ish quips were kept to a minimal (he almost said “I'll be back”... but didn’t) which I felt was a wise move. On the action front, Jee-woon Kim went all out with the crazy shots and zany angles. His action scenes vibrated with high octane energy and his out of the box stylistic touches made them all the more special. For example, at a certain point, the villain does a fancy move with his car to take out some cop vehicles, so what does Jee-woon Kim do? He goes full on SILENT at just the right moment to give the “move” and the scene more impact. I was floored! It was those kind of tendencies that elevated this flick above from being just another action movie. It had flair and balls!
Oh and action fiends rejoice, cause variety was the name of the game here. We get countless visceral shoot-outs, badass hand to hand fights, some crazy stunts and some car shenanigans that had my mouth gape in awe. Talk about a full chow down! And to say that THE LAST STAND was a fast paced affair would be an understatement. At an hour 40 minutes the film just breezed by. It surely helped that it wasted no time in setting up its situation to then build it, build and build it until all hell exploded. The fact that it was populated with endearing characters (with slick dialogue to back them up) was an asset as well. Forest Whitaker was intense as the FBI Agent on the case, Peter Stormare chewed the scenery like it was Krusty Burgers (fun times), Eduardo Noriega was genius as the pretty boy bad-guy with a need for speed, while Luis Guzman acted as the subtle comic relief. On their end, Jaimie Alexander and Genesis Rodriguez brought in the sexy (Rodriguez was sizzle on a grill) and shit even the great Harry Dean Stanton showed up in a small role! You couldn’t ask for a better cast than that! And what about Arnold Schwarzenegger? Well as a huge fan, it was amazing to see him on the big screen again doing his thing. Yes he’s older now (and the flick slylly didn’t ignore that fact) but he still had his charisma, was likeable, made for an imposing figure and could still wield a shotgun like nobody’s beeyatch. It's still Arnie man!
Any complaints? Some but very minor. Johnny Knoxville’s character got on my nerves. Am just not keen on these types of dumbasses stock sidekicks, specially in my action movies. Fortunately they didn’t overplay him, so the pain was kept to a minimal. Then there was Arnie himself who was a tad rusty in places in terms of performance (after 9 years of absence, I don't blame him), nothing too severe as he owned it 85% of the time, but it had to be pointed out. Finally, where the hell was that “car slides down a highway rail”
scene that was so owned me in the trailer? I hate it when they do that! Put something really groovy in a trailer but it's not the final cut of the movie. I kept waiting for that’s scene and it never came. On the whole though, as you can read, my peeves with THE LAST STAND were on the low jive. I personally had a freaking blast with it! It all greased me right! The set up, the execution, the violence, the car, the action, Arnold back doing what he does best… hard to go wrong in my bubble of a world! So you gonna take a stand for old school Rated R macho goodness or what?!!!
There was more gore here than in the recent horror film MAMA. Go figure! We get grisly bullet hits, lots of blood splashes, brains sprayed out, nasty stabbings, a dude blown up in half and more! I loved its excessive tendencies!
Genesis Rodriguez looked so damn yummy, and she was wearing clothes. Imagine undressed? DAMN SHE’S FINE!
THE LAST STAND was more than a great Schwarzenegger movie, it was an amazing action movie period! The flick had a furious pace, stand out action scenes, a novel visual style, gore galore, some genuine laughs, insane car stunts and Arnie back as a gun slinging lead. I had a un-adulterated blast! Sure Knoxville’s character was not my cup of blood and it showed a bit that Arnie hadn’t tackled a lead in a while, but hey, who gives a shite If you love real action, go support it in theaters! PS: In 1980, after five years of retirement, Arnold made his "comeback" in bodybuilding by winning his seventh Mr. Olympia title. And now after 9 years of absence, he attempted a comeback as a leading action man. If I go by the weekend’s box office, he failed (the flick only grossed 6 Mil) but in my world he succeeded, cause he came back with such a solid movie. Off to finish reading Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story
The Corvette ZR1 has 638 horsepower and a zero-to-60 acceleration time of 3.4 seconds, it is the fastest, most powerful Vette on the block.
Look out for the Conan sword cameo!
The Last Stand was initially set to star Liam Neeson.