Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville
You may like this if you liked: The Expendables 2 (Simon West, 2012), A Good Day to Die Hard (John Moore, 2013), Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)
Former LAPD narcotics officer Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) has turned his back on the mean streets of LA and now resigned himself to the post of sheriff in the sleepy border town of Sommerton Junction, being responsible for the very little crime that occurs there. However, after spectacularly escaping FBI custody, notorious drug kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) is hurtling towards the town in a souped-up Corvette. The FBI see no reason why he is heading there as unknown to them Cortez has had his henchman lead by a more bonkers than ever Peter Stormare build a bridge over a gauge that crosses the Mexican border. With only him, a small group of police officers that have never fired a gun before and Johnny Knoxville (!), Sheriff Owens must make a stand. Indeed, The Last Stand between Cortez and freedom in his country of Mexico. My god that is a clever title!
So, with his political career behind him and two appearances in The Expendables films our favourite all action hero is back and looking very old. Thankfully though he has certainly gained a few wrinkles, but has not lost his sense of humour. There is a light tone that dominates throughout the narrative and it is this feeling of knowing its place and capitalising on that which produces a very entertaining and very fun film. If you were expecting anything deep and meaningful then let’s face it, you are not going to watch Arnie’s latest are you? Arnie looks like he is enjoying himself and so does director Kim Jee – Woon and so do we providing we have the right expectations.
My main criticism of this film is that it is perhaps a little too long and takes a while to get going. The version I watched was 109 minutes and no more than 90 minutes is truly sufficient for this type of film in my humble opinion. There maybe a little bit too much of an attempt at ‘serious character development’ and setting the whole scene which does perhaps feel a little grating at times. These moments also require a cast to do some ‘serious acting’, which let’s face it is not their forte. It also feels that Forest Whitaker’s FBI agent is more there to get his name on the poster.
It is when The Last Stand enters its final third and the action kicks in that is at its best. Even here the fun tone is kept with some action set pieces being ridiculously over the top, with the odd Arnie one liner and madness from Johnny Knoxville there to keep it all together. Naturally a lot of the humour revolves around poor old Arnie’s age, and though with Stallone and Willis doing that too this is all already a little too tired a concept but as the film is this much fun, that is forgivable. The final chase scene involving supercars charging through a cornfield is as audacious as it is fun.
The Last Stand is predominantly pure escapist fun that certainly knows its place. It is of course instantly forgettable and could have been a little shorter, but on the whole Arnie still has it and if you enter with the right expectations then you will not be disappointed.