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The Last Stand

The Last Stand

Movie
Studio(s): 
Director(s): 
In Theatres: 
Jan 18, 2013
Grade:
B
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 47 Minutes
RISE OF THE SCHWARZENEGGER:

The Last Stand is the first leading role for Arnold since 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

It's been 9 long years. 9 years of duplications, cheap trademarks and political campagining. Is 9 years too long to return to your true calling? Jee-woon Kim plans to answer this question for his leading man, the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger in his new movie, The Last Stand.

The people of Sommerton, Arizona have traveled to support their football team, leaving behind a few fellow residents and the Sommerton law enforcement, led by their ex-DEA Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger). With the town mostly uninhabited, Ray plans to take a few days to relax. These plans are soiled, however, as drug kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has escaped custody from the CIA and fled for the Mexican border in one of the world's fastest cars, easily topping 197 MPH. Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) is given no other motive but to call and warn the only town Cortez has to pass through to reach the border: Sommerton. Hearing the news, Ray must form his group of misdemeanor deputies, including Figgy (Luis Guzman), Sarah (Jaimie Alexander) and the town fool who runs his own personal gun mueseum, Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville). With little time and a lake of ammunition, Ray must protect his town from one of the world's biggest criminals. Just another day off for the sheriff. 

The Last Stand represents a lot of landmarks in American cinema. Firstly, this is the American debut of director Jee-woon Kim, a man responsible for such works as The Good, The Bad and The Weird and the excellent I Saw The Devil. Deciding to start a career overseas, Kim chose The Last Stand to be his first work. Along with that picture, he was able to bring along a man who hasn't seen a starring picture in almost a decade, which is where we meet our second and most important landmark for The Last Stand: The return of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's a move that many saw coming but few saw come so quickly. He promised he'd be back, but the real question isn't whether or not he'd come back but if he'd come back in true Schwarzenegger fashion. Was his ride back to stardom a triumphant one?

For his first leading role back into cinema, The Last Stand spends a lot of time focusing on the story, the supporting characters and the town of Sommerton more than it's sheriff. This is not a problem, as it helps expand The Last Stand into a stable action flick, rather than a collection of explosions on screen. However, it's an interesting choice on Schwarzenegger's part seeing as he will be all people are looking at. After all, the Governator has returned! But, in a move that makes one have hope for Hollywood, Arnold takes a step back and lets the director guide him where his character needs to be. It's a move that may confuse some audiences, but gains a lot of respect from a man who could have taken any project on the table. 

Being a person who absolutely adored I Saw The Devil, The Last Stand had me scratching my head. Kim's style has a significant change, but not necessarily for the worst. Any director who can film a noir near-masterpiece, turn around and make a shoot 'em up action flick with huge laughs is a man who has a massive amount of respect behind him. Many won't be walking into The Last Stand with the idea of I Saw The Devil or Tale of Two Sisters on their minds, so this is an issue I'll gloss over as it pertains to a handful of movie lovers. 

Say what you will about his direction during dialogue, Kim can shoot the hell out of an action sequence. School bus turrets, rocket launchers, jet plane-esque sports cars, The Last Stand has it all. As soon as you feel that things have become too tame, bodies start splitting in half. Put all your faith in the Governator: He still knows how to please his audience. Even if it's with his quirky dialogue delivery (My personal favorite being how he thanks a shopkeeper for her contribution at a shootout). 

Over the top, cheesy and just enough fun to keep audiences happy, The Last Stand is a welcome return for Schwarzenegger and a solid U.S entry for director Jee-woon Kim. Now, let's start talking about Jingle All The Way 2. 

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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