|to watch the Governator return from politician to film star in a typically rather mindless bullet-ridden thriller
|Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christiana Leucas, Eduardo Noriega, Forest Whitaker, Genesis Rodriguez, Jaimie Alexander, Johnny Knoxville, Luis Guzman, Peter Stormare, Rodrigo Santoro, Zach Gilford
|25th January 2013
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is the Sheriff of the sleepy Arizona border town of Sommerton Junction, with only three deputies (Luis Guzman, Zach Gilford and Jaimie Alexander), one man in the cell for being drunk (Rodrigo Santoro) and a crazy local guy with a barn full of guns (Johnny Knoxville).
Meanwhile, in a city far away, a brutal killer Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) escapes from custody while being transferred to the prison where he is due to face execution.
The FBI (led by Forest Whitaker and Genesis Rodriguez) lose Cortez as he breaks for the border – in a very fast car – on a route that can only take him through Sommerton.
With the FBI miles behind their fugitive, Sheriff Owens and his ragtag group of inexperienced, hopeless or hopeful law enforcers are all that stand between Cortez and freedom in Mexico.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
This is the Governator’s first lead role since swapping the film industry for politics – he’s graced the screens in supporting roles in the Expendables films, but this the first time he’s had to carry a film since Terminator 3, ten years ago, so the big question is whether he can still cut it.
As with the Expendables – and a range of upcoming films from its co-stars, including Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis – The Last Stand doesn’t pretend that its protagonist is as young as he used to be. Here, Arnie’s character – the peculiarly Germanic-sounding Ray Owens – has long since quit the LA police for a quiet life – a quiet life that film convention is to be denied him.
But while this particular character might be nearing retirement, his responsibilities to save the day are every bit as evident as the genre requires. There’s a law enforcement crisis and only he can save the day. The most evil killer in the western hemisphere is on the loose, the FBI are totally out of their depths and and only Arnie can stop them, with just a little help from a bunch of no-hopers.
While the story is as simple as it is nonsensical and the supposedly comic supporting characters come right out of central casting, the South Korean director Kim Jee-Woon and his team treat the audience with respect and don’t take it at all seriously, and the fun they are having rubs off.
Knowing one-liners and preposterous action set-pieces are the order of the day – which is just what anyone seeing this voluntarily would expect. It’s not big and it’s not clever, but it’s good-natured, unchallenging entertainment.
It’s a modest re-entry to the film industry for Arnie – nothing to be embarrassed about but easy to improve on.