Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Last Stand (2013)

**This review contains spoilers**

After an elaborate escape from FBI custody, international drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) makes a run for the small town of Sommerton Junction, Arizona with FBI agent Ellen Richards (Genesis Rodriguez) as his hostage. With the help of his lead henchman, Thomas (Peter Stormare) and his team of mercenaries, Cortez plans to use land space in Sommerton to build a secret bridge leading into Mexico.

After suspecting something fishy from Thomas and another one of Cortez’s men at the local diner, the town Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) orders his deputies to run a search on Thomas’ license plates. Deputy Jerry Bailey (Zach Gilford ) and Deputy Sarah Torrance (Jaimie Alexander) investigate the farm of a cranky old local, which also happens to be the building site for Cortez’s bridge, and the deputies find the dead body of the old man with a nasty gunshot wound to the head. Jerry is fatally wounded during a firefight with Thomas and his men, and Sheriff Owens vows to avenge Jerry’s death.

Refusing the orders of FBI agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker), Sheriff Owens assembles his own team of deputies to take down Cortez, and foil Cortez’s attempted escape. With the help of Sarah and Deputy Mike Figuerola (Luis Guzman), Sheriff Owens deputizes the local gun nut, Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville), and Sarah’s jailed ex-boyfriend and Jerry’s best friend, Frank Martinez (Rodrigo Santoro). Out-numbered and out-classed in weaponry, Sheriff Owens will lead his team in the fight of their lives to stop Cortez, and honor Jerry’s memory.

I think it’s safe to say Arnold’s mystique as the “Action God” is gone. He’s not the same guy, who covered himself in mud, and fought the Predator. He’s not the same guy, who terrorized Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, and he’s not the same guy, who challenged Benedict in Last Action Hero. Yeah, I thought The Last Stand did a good job of presenting Arnold as the aging and scrappy veteran, who won’t go down without a fight. Arnold really embraced the role, he was good for a few laughs, and the usual cheesy one-liners fit him like a glove (“I’m the Sheriff!” or “you fucked up my day off‘). But Arnold is not a believable bad ass anymore. Hell, I don’t even think it’s realistic to expect Terminator 3 Arnold now a days.

Unfortunately, Noriega’s character and perfromance fits into the mold of the usual “foreign bad guy with a thick accent" character (you can say the same thing about Peter Stormare), and Rodriguez is just eye candy as usual. A trio of decent performances from Forest Whitaker, Jaimie Alexander, Rodrigo Santoro, and you can give the credit for some great comic relief to Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzman.

The Last Stand is good mindless fun for action junkies. Lots of impressive, jaw-dropping stunts, Arnold’s cheesy one-liners, bloody hardcore action, and the final one on one showdown between Owens and Cortez is predictable, but it’s still enjoyable. In more ways than one, Arnold isn’t the indestructible action machine anymore (and the box office flop for this movie proves that), but adjusting to the “old warhorse with something to prove” character isn‘t a big problem for me, and his cameos in The Expendables still bring out some good feelings of nostalgia.

Final Rating: 6/10

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