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Undemanding fun

Arnold Schwarzenegger is up against a drug cartel in The Last Stand.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is up against a drug cartel in The Last Stand.

The Last Stand (2013)
Certified: 18
Duration: 107 minutes
Directed: Kim Ji-woon
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville, Forest Whitaker, Rodrigo Santoro, Peter Stormare, Jaimie Alexander, Eduardo Noriega, Luis Guzmán
KRS release

One week after Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head, we get another shot at 1980s-style action with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand.

A Schwarzenegger vehicle featuring explosions and big guns

While Stallone was all so serious in his dour film, Schwarzenegger does not hold back from parodying his tough guy image and this serves the average action movie well.

The dialogue of this tongue-in-cheek film is inane and the characters are two-dimensional but seeing the Austrian Oak shooting and kicking the butt of one faceless goon after the other proved to be quite entertaining.

Schwarzenegger plays Ray Owens, who once had been a narcotics detective in Los Angeles. Today he is the Sheriff of the peaceful little town of Sommerton Junction in Arizona. Helping him in his day-to-day job are three deputies: Sarah (Jaimie Alexander), the bumbling Figgy (Luis Guzmán) and Jerry (Zach Gilford).

Sommerton Junction is not exactly a beehive of illegal actions. At the moment the officers’ only concern is keeping Sarah’s ex- boyfriend Frank (Rodrigo Santoro) in jail. To while away the time, Figgy and Jerry team up with Lewis (Johnny Knoxville) who is a bit of a loony and runs the gun museum. But the town will soon no longer be so quiet.

Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), an infamous drug cartel baron, escapes from the FBI’s hands, making Agent John Banister (Forest Whitaker) look like a fool. To make matters worse, the criminal takes FBI agent Ellen Richards (Genesis Rodriguez) hostage. His plan is to drive his heavily modified Corvette ZR1 to the border and across.

Burrell Thomas (Peter Stormare) and his mercenaries descend on Sommerton Junction to prepare the town for Cortez’s arrival and subsequent border crossing. As help from the FBI is not forthcoming, Ray and his deputies must make their last stand.

The film is replete with explosions, gunfire, screeching tyres and loud music. The plot simply ploughs through all the obligatory scenes which are just an excuse for more gunfire. Director Kim Ji-woon aims for over-the-top action and gets it, with grannies slugging it out with bad guys, cars outracing helicopters and Arnie in loafers fighting baddies.

Everything about the film is predictable and the cast is not given much of a script to work with.

What makes the film enjoyable are the action scenes that are a bit more old school than what we are used to today and are delivered with panache. All the supercar shenanigans were, however, stretched out too much to my liking.

The film never purports to be anything other than what it is: a Schwarzenegger vehicle featuring explosions and big guns. This fact, combined with its loopy feel, make it a much more palatable experience than Stallone’s dreary feature.

Whitaker’s part is below standard here while Stormare is literally atrocious – we have seen better villain roles from him.

Guzmán and Knoxville play stereotypes and seem to have a whale of a time at it. Considering all his feeble counterparts, Schwarzenegger’s acting skills do not seem so miserable.

However, the film is surely to be filed under the ‘dumb but fun’ category.

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