Former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has finally put political aspirations aside and made his return to the big-screen.
The Last Stand does not only mark an official comeback of the, now visibly ripened, action star, but it also celebrates the first English-language film for South Korean director, Kim Jee-Woon.
What’s it all about? Sommerton Junction, a sluggish town near the Mexican border, is home to Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger). As an ex-LAPD officer, the worn-out law-enforcer finds solace in the peaceful and crime-free setting; an occasional rescue mission – usually involving cats stuck in trees – is as far as excitement in Sommerton generally peaks.
However, the sleepy town gets a wake-up call when Owens receives information from FBI agent, John Bannister (Whittaker), about an escaped death-row convict heading his way; Mexican drug-lord, Gabriel Cortez (Noriega). Behind the wheel of a power-boosted Corvette, Cortez is making a beeline for the border, but in order to get there, he needs to pass through Sommerton. But the Sheriff is not alone; loyal deputies, Sarah Torrance (Alexander), Jerry Bailey (Gilford) and Mike Figuerola (Guzman), as well as bad-boy drunk, Frank (Santoro), and local gun-loving nut, Lewis (Knoxville), make up his group of support.
The plot, written by Andrew Knauer, Jeffrey Nachmanoff and George Nolfi, is simple, forthcoming and provides a fitting premise to welcome the sixty-five year actor back to Hollywood. For those who are familiar with the director’s previous works such as A Tale of Two Sisters and I Saw the Devil, it might be a little hard to appreciate the simplicity of his latest flick.
Kim’s generally uncompromising and bloody filmmaking style is absent in The Last Stand, but that doesn’t mean that his softer side is no less entertaining. Fast-paced cars, exhilarating action scenes and massive shootouts, with a good dose of good-old-folk humour, is what makes this film undemanding and thoroughly entertaining.
Fans will be pleased to see Arnie back in the saddle; the veteran very much acts his age and yet still manages to throw around a a fair amount of punches and one-liners. The supporting cast, including Whittaker – whose on-screen presence is always welcomed – along with MTV’s Jackass leading man, Knoxville, provide vitality and a much-needed kick to the story.
Slightly fluffy and cheesy around the edges, The Last Stand still manages to provide a thoroughly pleasing experience. He said he’d be back and now he is.