Arnold is back! He returned briefly in the Expendables 2 but The Last Stand is Schwarzenegger’s first leading role in over a decade. I will be the first to admit that he is a little rusty on the acting side but fortunately that can be overlooked in this film. The Last Stand is the farthest thing from a serious movie. The plot is ridiculous, the characters are unbelievable, and the violence is insane. Thankfully, director Jee-woon Kim knows that and he doesn’t take anything in this movie too seriously. Normally, that would be a bad thing but for this type of movie, it is an advantage. If The Last Stand was a serious movie, it would have been dreadful. All this movie is though is campy, over the top violence with awesomely bad one liners. Anyone can tell that everyone involved in the making of this film was having blast and therefore the audiences members watching it are having a great time as well.
The Last Stand stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator) as the sheriff of a small town called Sommerton. Sommerton is a place where nothing happens but that’s how the sheriff likes it. He’s old and not in the best of shape so he enjoys the quiet life. However, a complication involving the FBI is about to bring a lot of noise to Sommerton. While the FBI is attempting to transport the leader of a drug cartel in Vegas to a stronger holding facility, he manages to escape. His plan is to race to the Mexican border in one of the fastest cars in the world and he happens to have a lot of men with a lot of firepower working for him. The only thing standing in the way of this drug lord and the Mexican border is the tiny town of Sommerton. When the sheriff hears that this drug lord is going to be passing through his town, he gathers up his band of misfit deputies, including Luis Guzman (Boogie Nights) and Johnny Knoxville (Jackass), and a lot of guns to take one last stand to stop the escaped convict.
As mentioned before, the acting is horrendous in The Last Stand. Arnold is Arnold, Luis Guzman plays the same character in every movie he’s ever been in, and Johnny Knoxville is crazy. But that doesn’t matter. All of them are hilarious and are perfect for their roles. If The Last Stand had good actors but still contained the violence and unlikely plot structure then it would have been terrible. The actors would have tried to give a meaningful performance in a film that has no meaning. Instead of having something that is awesome and fun like Expendables 2, you end up with something like Gangster Squad. Fortunately, The Last Stand is more like Expendables 2. Physics is tossed out the door and the studio spends more money on buckets of blood than production value. The violence and action are well choreographed but it is so over the top in such a good way. Director Kim treats The Last Stand like it’s a comedy and it works so well. I won’t spoil anything but there’s one scene involving Johnny Knoxville and a flare gun and it’s just spectacular. That scene defines the type of movie The Last Stand is. There’s also a scene involving a car chase through a corn field that’s pretty intense. I only have one real problem with the movie and it involves the entire first half. The film takes a little bit of time to set everything up and get everything going. Also, some drama is thrown into the mix which was a little irritating. The first half of the film is definitely too serious but the second half of the film makes up for the slow start and completely redeems itself. The second half of The Last Stand is what you pay to see.
The Last Stand is what I like to call a good bad movie. This means that it was so bad that it’s actually enjoyable. It’s not the type of movie that will go down into your collection of outstanding films and it’s not the type of film that the Academy will recognize. It’s the type of movie that attracts you to the theater to eat popcorn and have a good time. Overall, The Last Stand is just plain fun. Plus, it’s a very welcoming return for Mr. Schwarzenegger. B