Film review: The Last Stand (spoiler free)

Watch out Hollywood, Hercules is back…


Starring:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville

Directed by:  Kim Jee-Woon / Written by:  Andrew Knauer

What’s it about?

Arnie is Ray Owens, sheriff of the sleepy border town of Sommerton Junction.  A former LAPD officer, Owens has become used to the quiet life dealing with what little crime takes place in Sommerton.  When a notorious drug lord escapes FBI custody and attempts to head cross the Mexican border Owens and his staff must hold their ground and protect the town’s citizens until U.S. Law Enforcement arrives…

In review

 With his tenure as ‘Governator’ (sorry, Governor of California) over few would have been surprised when action legend Arnold Schwarzenegger declared his intentions to return to Hollywood.  Of course, first out the gate was a part in pal Sly Stallone’s ageing action star vehicle The Expendables 2 where Arnie put in an enjoyable (if at times cringe-worthy) ‘performance’.

The Last Stand came next with Arnie playing a small town sheriff in a manner not too dissimilar to other roles (it reminded me a little of Raw Deal in this respect).  We’re certainly not talking Copland here but The Last Stand is a snappy little piece of passable entertainment.  It’s well paced even if the tone feels a little uneven at times – earlier scenes attempt to be more dramatic but the film eventually descends into bloody mayhem and cartoon violence whilst interspersing little character moments (a romantic sub-plot between two of the supporting characters doesn’t really grab you).

Arnie (showing his 60+ years) is supported mainly by the gorgeous Jaimie Alexander (Thor’s Lady Sif) as Deputy Sarah Torrance and Johnny Knoxville as the town’s kooky deputised arms collector Lewis Dinkum.  Eduardo Noriega serves the part of the villain of the piece, Gabriel Cortez and some much needed acting chops are provided by the ever excellent Forest Whitaker as FBI agent John Bannister.

So, there’s a serviceable story with some characterisation and humour (including a self-deprecating reference to Arnie’s age) but that’s not necessarily what you came here for is it?  Well happily or not there are lashings of the afore-mentioned cartoon violence – limbs are blown off, torsos are ripped apart (in one scene due to a shot from a flare gun!) and bullets litter the screen as Cortez and his gang wreak havoc.

Direction is well handled by Jee-Woon and there are some notable Fast & Furious-esque car chases, a stand out scene being a nifty chase through a corn field.

It’s unlikely that people will still be talking about The Last Stand in years to come, it’s as fun as Commando but nowhere in the same league as Predator and T2 but hey, it’s good to have Arnie back and kicking some backside.

The bottom line:  Seeing The Last Stand won’t change your life or affect you profoundly but I doubt you’d expect that and on those grounds I’d say it’s a slice of easy Saturday night entertainment that’s worth a rent.

See it if you like… Commando, Raw Deal

The Last Stand is out on Blu-ray and DVD now.


2 thoughts on “Film review: The Last Stand (spoiler free)

  1. Hmm…sounds interesting….still wary but looking forward to a viewing! And you never know, look what happened to Commando, it aged well if not matured with its audience! (Basically it’s awesome)! So as for Arnies comeback? I welcome him, but after 3 successful careers I would of prefered him retire respectively! (It’s not like he needs the money)! Anyhow after reading this I live in high hopes for “Last Stand” as well as Arnie too! Just hope there isn’t over-the top gore….actually then again there was RAMBO IV……..

    • It’s definitely worth renting for a bit of easy entertainment but I can’t see people looking back on it as they do with Commando when Arnie was in his prime. But, yes, good to see Arnie back and maybe his team up with Sly in the forthcoming “Escape Plan” will be a treat!

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