The Last Stand (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: The Last Stand (2013)

The Last Stand (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

Shotgun action.

Arnold is back — and he’s bitter. And so is the script for The Last Stand.

After two terms as governor of “Cally-fornia,” as well as bit parts in a few movies here and there, Arnold Schwarzenegger has finally returned to his above-title billing as the action hero we’ve come to expect: The lone wolf good guy fighting insurmountable odds and blasting villains away while firing off puns as fast as bullets.

The only thing he does not utter in this one is: “I’ll be back.” And, with a film like The Last Stand, why should he be?

Schwarzenegger here plays Ray Owens, a former LAPD undercover agent who has seen enough “blood and death” and has moved to a small berg in Southern Arizona to serve as the town’s laid-back sheriff. With a cast of idiotic and/or incompetent deputies, he can finally relax and put the rest of his career on cruise control. Of course, though, if this were the case, there would be no film, so events transpire to put his semi-vacation life on hold.

For example, in Las Vegas, an FBI team led by John Bannister (Forest Whitaker, “Street Kings“), is transferring drug cartel head Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega, “Vantage Point“) to a federal death row facility, but a sophisticated escape plan gums up the works and puts the baddies on a collision course with Owens,who must take a last stand to prevent Cortez from crossing the border into Mexico as he drives a special ZR1 Corvette that can travel at about 200 MPH.

Stumbling upon the body of 150-year old Harry Dean Stanton and observing nighttime construction in the desert, deputies Jerry Bailey (Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights” TV series) and Sarah Torrance (Jaimie Alexander, “Thor“) are fired upon by what seems like several hundred heavily armed military-trained mercenaries.

How can a few lawmen, including a drunk Iraq war veteran, Frank (Rodrigo Santoro, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting“) and chicken-hearted Dep. Mike Figuerola (Luis Guzmán, “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island“) handle such an array of opponents? Easy, recruit bumbling cretin Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville, who shares comic relief duties with Guzmán, although neither are very funny), who just happens to own a weapons museum with more than enough firepower to match Cortez’s cartel arsenal. How convenient.

The Last Stand now turns into a game of cat-mouse and sledgehammer as Owens and company must stop Cortez and a dirty FBI agent at Sommerton Junction, the last US stop before the freedom of Mexico. Thrill as Arnold shakes off the rust and gets to slaughter an unknown and uncountable number of henchman before taking on the top lieutenant, Burrell (Peter Stormare, “Lockout“) and then fighting it out with el hefe atop a pontoon bridge that leads across the border. All of this taking place while Bannister and the seemingly helpless feds just sit around watching.

The Last Stand (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

A tired sheriff.

The good things about this picture are its brevity (barely one hour, fifty minutes in length) and how director Jee-woon Kim (“I Saw the Devil“) keeps things moving along at a nice clip. The film slows down, however, during the moments of unnecessary exposition story development (there’s really no story — the need for development is moot). The violence factor is quite high, with more bullets to the head than Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming flick, “Bullet to the Head.” The characters are also mostly clichéd and one-dimensional, with little or no empathy for them or their plight.

All of this aside, The Last Stand will neither enhance or diminish Schwarzenegger’s legacy (whatever that may be). It’s nice to see him back in the saddle of a lead role, although it’s a shame it had to be atop this particular horse. Audiences will see an older, creakier, quieter and maybe a bit wiser Arnold do what he has always does — fire big guns and blow up people at will — and then walk away mostly satisfied. Critics like myself are more likely to think back to the heady days of “Predator,” “Commando” and “The Terminator,” among others, when he was synonymous with action, yet fun, pictures. This one is certainly competent and workmanlike enough, but not very memorable, fun — or good for that matter.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
1 Star Rating: Stay Away


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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: The Last Stand (2013)' have 13 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 19, 2013 @ 9:33 am prillit

    Schwarzenegger looks like a walking corpse.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 19, 2013 @ 9:46 am TheButcher

    Car chase here, explosion there, firefight here, witty remark there. It’s almost like this was done like a paint by numbers watercolor, except that all the colors ran together and turned a drab brownish black.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 19, 2013 @ 10:38 am Reon

    The Last Stand is not Arnie’s best but like all his movies it is stupidly entertaining.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 19, 2013 @ 12:01 pm Odonis

    Schwarzenegger flicks are a guilty pleasure.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 19, 2013 @ 1:16 pm xsbr

    Arnold apparently didn’t take any acting lessons during his 10-year hiatus …

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 19, 2013 @ 4:55 pm Fudgemanners

    Completely run of the mill, 100% predictable.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 19, 2013 @ 9:39 pm MarkCopeland

    gunna give it a go just to see Arnie back in the biz

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 19, 2013 @ 10:18 pm denoizer

    Makes me scared for Bullet to the Head.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      January 22, 2013 @ 7:11 pm apollo76

      Bullet to the Head is going to be garbage, you think differently?

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 20, 2013 @ 6:27 am Hoff

    Movie is rubbish. No fun in watching an old guy hobble around the screen trying to act tough.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 20, 2013 @ 2:14 pm NeonStorm

    Time for Ahhhh-nold to self-terminate.

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 20, 2013 @ 6:06 pm Sam

    Its watchable, but Arnies age is definitely showing.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 7, 2013 @ 2:15 pm Von

    Never thought I’d say a Schwarzenegger movie was akin to a Spielberg movie, but when compared to Stallone’s “Bullet to the Head”, “The Last Stand” is “Schindler’s List”.

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