The Last Stand


Arnold Scwarzenegger rides again.

“He’s back” with a ton of firepower, mowing down bad guys and tossing out a clever quip or two. But just like the majority of his films of the 80s, if you want to enjoy this, you have to be ready to turn the critical functions of your brain off and just enjoy some cheese.

A wealthy cartel figure escapes custody in Las Vegas and wants to hightail it south over the Mexican border. After escaping, he and his hostage get in a Corvette ZR1 and start speeding south. He’s sent his gang (led by Peter Stormare) ahead to a border town in order to build an assault bridge so he can cross a ravine and get out of the States, but what they don’t know is that the sleepy little town is guarded by Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) and his men.

I’m going to spare you the plot intricacies, because I don’t want anyone to hurt themselves trying to figure out how any of it makes sense. This film is full of things like “So wait, he can get an industrial strength crane and an electromagnet to that roof, but not a helicopter?” and “The FBI agent initially called THE SHERIFF for help, why wouldn’t he believe him now?”. All of the citizens of the one horse town are conveniently off at a football game, the mayor leaves behind a car capable of chasing the Z1, and the one prisoner they have locked up in the town jail (Rodrigo Santoro) is ex-military with a heart of gold… the perfect reserve. You get the idea.

Yeah, as far as I’m concerned this movie intentionally created so many logic gaps and whatnot so that you would tire of counting them and get the message that you’re not supposed to think during this movie. The point of no return came for me when the fleeing fugitive intentionally spun his ‘Vette so that a pursuing SUV would drive up on its hood and flip itself over. All of this at about 100 MPH. At that point, I just surrendered and didn’t ask anymore questions, obviously this was a realm where logic and physics didn’t exist as we knew them.

But what this film does offer is a star we all love, back in his element, shooting a bunch of shit up. They acknowledge Ahnuld’s advancing age sufficiently, surround him with comic relief in the form of Luis Guzmán and Johnny Knoxville, and give him a couple of worthy fire fights before the final showdown. Forest Whitaker plays the FBI agent in charge of re-apprehending the fugitive, who alternately enlists and rejects the Sheriff’s help. Together they serve up a B movie smorgasbord of characters and clichés that keeps the tone fun and light (which it would need to be to support the shaky, thin script).

It’s good to see Arnold doing what he does though, no matter how old. I actually wish they could give him a really good aging action hero role. This is the type of high concept that would work, but the details would need to be hammered out, not cast aside. As it “Stands” though, “The Last Stand” is enjoyable enough if you’re a fan of The Governator, and willing to suspend your cerebral functions for a couple of hours.


Daniel Fogarty

62 thoughts on “The Last Stand

  1. Pingback: The Filmster

  2. I think this is exactly what it needed to be and nothing more, nothing less. It’s Arnold being Arnold, Ji-woon Kim being Ji-woon Kim, and a great cocktail for curing the post-end-of-year blues. It’s maybe worth discussing how this film fits into our social consciousness in the wake of Newtown– there’s something odd about a movie which depicts members of the fringe arming themselves and saving the day when the reality is we’d all rather not see the fringe armed– but I also think Kim is just a human being and not a seer, so it’s not something that needs to be hemmed and hawed over.

    What I dug most here is that perfect blend between self-awareness and self-seriousness. The Last Stand has its tongue planted firmly in its cheek, but it’s also really realistic about the sort of film it is and it attacks its material in earnest. I think most movies that celebrate 80s action iconography in the way The Last Stand does tend to be way, way too smugly self-aware, like they’re patting themselves on the back for their own ironic use of bygone action stars in modern movies. I find that to be insufferable, but Kim doesn’t really do that here.

  3. Man, I thought Whitaker was a total dick to Arnold over the phone. Like, really, the sheriff of a town is telling him that he just got into a firefight with a group of men sporting assault rifles and they’re building a bridge to Mexico, but….nahhhhh what does that Podunk dipshit know?

    I was pretty thankful that Knoxville’s role was as minor as it was. From the trailers, I assumed he would be the sidekick and be there the whole time. I like how it turned out otherwise. The part where Arnold bails out his deputies in the middle of the night with his SUV….fucking awesome.

    I really enjoyed this one. It was great to see Arnold back at it, and I’m pretty upset that more people didn’t go see it opening weekend.

    • Yeah, I saw your post on MILF with him crying about it. LOL

      I dont know how upset I am, he has plenty more chances lined up. This would have fit right in in the 80s, I’m not sure that people want this much cheese in their action flicks anymore.

      Whitaker WAS a dick for no reason, the sidekicks were obviously just there to be comic relief…. there’s a lot of things that were standout to me, even though I did enjoy it well enough.

      I hope he has a genuinely good movie up his sleeve still somehow.

    • Thanks Erik!

      Yeah, he’s got “The Tomb” coming out in September with Sly. Sly’s “Bullet to the Head” underwhelmed and underperformed, so I think theyre BOTH hoping the Tomb is a winner.

      I know I am too, I enjoy seeing them back.

  4. Ohh yes I read the reviews of Bullet to the Head, lets just say they are not great, lol I haven’t seen it yet tho. Anyway…lets hope The Tomb will be something to remember in the future 🙂

  5. Pingback: LAMBScores: Mama's Last Stand in the Broken City | The Large Association of Movie Blogs

  6. As a Schwarzenegger fan, I’ll have to catchup with this on DVD in the future In the meantime, I watched Red Heat recently with Jim Belushi. 80s Arnold is an action fix.

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