Rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat BOOM! BOOM!
Glass tinkles to the ground, metal groans and the camera settles on the carnage… “Gimme the big gun,” says the stereotypical bad guy (Peter Stormare) whose character’s name I don’t even remember.
Shhhhhhhhwwwwwwhiiiiizzzzzip…. KABLAMMO! A car explodes after taking a hit from a rocket launcher (the second time the same weapon has been used in the exact same way) and as far as the story is concerned, all that has been resolved is the fact a few guns have a little less ammunition and that car is certainly all blowed up real good.
This is The Last Stand, a numbing, plodding, will-it-ever-end excuse to put Arnold Schwarzenegger in a film and give nostalgic fans of the aged action star a reason to shell out money they’d be better off saving. The curiosity factor here is director Jee-woon Kim (I Saw the Devil, The Good, the Bad, the Weird) helming his first English-language feature, but the ridiculous, rote nature of it all seems even he was attracted to the idea of directing an “Ah-nuld” film rather than a good film, because this is about is tedious as it gets.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… a convict escapes the clutches of the FBI while being transported and has a team of thugs prepared to help him escape the country. Only trouble is the small town in Arizona he’s chosen as the last stop along his escape route is sheriffed by an ex-military man (Schwarzenegger) who has no interest in letting this man escape the long arm of the law. The end result is blood, bullets, a ravaged small town and an “I underestimated you” conclusion.
Inserted into the narrative are the inhabitants of the small town that lend a hand and provide moments of comedic and/or romantic relief. This includes, but is not limited to, Johnny Knoxville playing a wild man, big gun collector — a character required if we’re to bring in some additional artillery to increase the bullets-fired. Jamie Alexander (Thor) plays the girl, Rodrigo Santoro (300) plays the guy and Luis Guzman as the overweight “funny” man.
Schwarzenegger’s role is written with his age in mind, but whether you recognize how old he is or not, it still means I’m watching an old man that can hardly move, lumber along as he does his very best to deliver his lines. Schwarzenegger’s original appeal was the fact he didn’t talk much. He’s best known for a line made up of two words and one contraction. As a small town sheriff he simply can’t convince us he’s anything but Arnold Schwarzenegger in a costume. At least in the Terminator franchise the fact he acted like a robot made sense.
The Last Stand has none of the fun found in old school Arnold films and Arnold looks tired. The plot isn’t at all engaging and so all we’re left with are the explosions and shots fired. You can be the final judge on the entertainment value, but this is direct-to-video work if I’ve ever seen it.
Kim has an intriguing eye for action, but the action here is so slow and monotonous there are only so many ways you can film bad guys shooting at good guys as they hide behind cars. And my idea of ramping up to a conclusion isn’t to watch two cars race through a cornfield.
I could say more, but what’s the use? I think you get the gist and can decide for yourself if this is what you will decide to spend your money on. I can tell you with confidence it’s not very good and you’d enjoy it far more if you waited until three months from now and watched it while sitting on your couch with your cell phone and iPad to keep you entertained while the movie plays in the background.