Posted by: greercn | January 25, 2013

The Last Stand

So many original and comic touches make this enormous fun to watch. Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger is old and has a funny accent. The script deals with those issues deftly, featuring Arnie commenting on his age and telling one bad guy that he “gives us immigrants a bad name”.

South Korean director Jee-woon Kim announces his arrival in the American action genre with style and gusto. He’s seen a lot of Westerns and he loves car chases, explosions and needless fistfights.

It’s his humour and the outsider take on the events that keeps the viewer entertained throughout. You won’t see another film this year with a granny providing a fabulous action moment.

Arnie is the sheriff in a sleepy little town on the U.S. border with Mexico. He’s moved from Los Angeles after his police career went wrong. Meanwhile, In Las Vegas, Forest Whittaker’s crack FBI team are transporting a Mexican cartel leader to a maximum security prison.

Yes, there are a few stereotypes but – hey – this is Arnie.

Peter Stormare plays Burrell, one of the bad guys. I think there’s a new rule that says that Stormare has to be in everything I see. It sure feels like that but I never get tired of his menace and brilliance.

Burrells’ chief bad guy boss is Cortez, played well by Eduardo Noriega. Luiz Guzman, Sonny Landham and Jaimie Alexander all have super moments, as Arnie’s local cops. You just know that the warnings from the FBI to Arnie to stay away will be useless.

Amazing car chases, big guns and explosions and predictable but gorgeous twists make all 107 minutes very satisfactory to view. The preview audience at the Stratford Picturehouse all enjoyed it a lot. This is a safe bet for a fun movie to go see. Traditional action conventions are served up with a great twist of outsider style and I will look out for Jee-woon Kim’s future movies.

Johnny Knoxville and Harry Dean Stanton didn’t annoy me, in this, and they usually do grate on my nerves.

And there’s a small but glorious part played by Brazilian star Rodrigo Santoro.

If you like Arnie and big action thrillers, you’ll love this. Even after all these years, Arnie’s presence lights up the screen.

Original music by Mowg and superb use of settings shifts you from city to highway to small town to border location with ease. This director and Arnie make the formula look easy. Yes, reader, there’s a formula but hardly anyone makes it feel this great to just stare at the screen.


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