The Last Stand

THE LAST STAND. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville and Forest Whitaker. Directed by Jee-woon Kim. 107 minutes. Rated MA 15+ (Strong bloody violence).

Well, critics and bloggers alike are declaring, ‘He’s back’, so why not confirm to the trend! 

Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, after eight years as governor of California, has gone back to his day job.  He has brought his screen talents back (acting not reallybeing one of them), his iconic screen presence, his accent and intonations, his persona as a terminator of bad events and people.  It’s all here, with a vengeance, so to speak.

The leader of this enterprise is director Kim who has had a strong career in Korea as a director of sometimes bizarre films, with a propensity for violence.  He is the director of the pastiche of spaghetti westerns and Korean horror, The Good, the Bad and the Weird.  And, of course, he brings something of each of these to this, his first American film.

The basic plot is standard. We are in a small border with Mexico town of Somerton.  It is the sheriff’s day off.  Some truckies are at the diner. The town is quiet, but the sheriff is suspicious. He has every reason to be.  Meanwhile in Las Vegas, the FBI are about to transport the deadliest drug boss since Paolo Escobar to federal prison when he is whisked away and is heading for Mexico through Sommerton in the fastest of cars.

Will the small group of law enforcement in Sommerton stop him?  Is the Pope catholic!

Guns galore, so lots (and lots) of shooting as Arnie and co confront the drug lord and his henchmen, to the amazement of the FBI boss who arrives when it is all over.

The thing is with the former governor is that when he was a film star, he delivered a lot of his lines in dead-pan throwaway and that is what we expect from him.  In the midst of mayhem, a corny moment and a laugh. (This time here are quite a few at the expense of his age!).

We know what to expect and it is given to us Korean weird style.  If that is not enticing, then don’t go.  If it is, then you can expect some adrenalin rushes.

Forest Whittaker is the FBI chief. Eduardo Noriega is the charmingly sinister drug boss. Rodrigo Santoro is the Iraq War  veteran who is in on the act as is Johnny Knoxville, taking time off from Jackass films and TV (though keeping the spirit in his character and mock heroics).

Yes, he’s back and there are more of these movies in the offing.

Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.


Out February 21, 2013.

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