<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Jee-woon Kim. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Luis Guzman, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, Eduardo Noriega, Rodrigo Santoro, Zack Gilford, Genesis Rodriguez
If you grew up in the 80s and 90s you’re probably a fan of the one-man-army movie; you know the ones where the good guy single-handedly fends off an army of baddies. Those were the ‘real’ action heroes. No CGI, no blue animated alien shit, just real muscle, badass action and some tongue-in-cheek dialogue. Arnie is one such actor and I for one am glad he’s back.
All the other reviews online are talking about the same thing: Arnie is back, Arnie feels this and that about his life in LA as a movie star and Governor of California, Arnie looks old, Arnuhld deserves a better comeback movie etc. So I’m not going to bother with all that except to say in an era of pretty boys who rely on CGI and gimmicks, the good ol’ action heroes are still the ones that I love watching pounding the shit out of the bad guys and doing it with style and wit.
Small, sleepy town Sommerton on the border between America and Mexico is former LA vice cop Ray Owen’s retirement village. He’s the Sheriff here but there’s really nothing much to do. He was burned in LA and wanted to get away from it all. “LA’s not all it’s cracked up to be,” he tells a young deputy with grander dreams away from snooze town. Perhaps Arnie is talking about his own legendary career in the city of dreams. But perhaps he knows the good comes with the bad.
Simultaneously we’re transported to Las Vegas where FBI Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) is getting ready to transport dangerous convict Gabriel Cortez (the hunky Eduardo Noreiga) to… well that really doesn’t matter. Not soon after he’s left the FBI building he is broken out of his cavalcade in true professional style so deftly and magnificently that you only hope the FBI isn’t actually populated with incompetent boobs like the ones in this film. Off Cortez goes with a pretty young FBI captive (the very hot Genesis Rodriguez) zipping away in a Corvette ZR1 that apparently none of the federal agencies can stop. It’s sorta like Knight Rider, Air Wolf and Street Hawk all rolled into one. Okay, so there are some niggling plot points but the sheer subtle brilliance with which all the action is pulled off makes it all better.
But, but Arnie’s small town figures in Cortez’s plans for escape. His band of minions lead by the wily Burrell (a suitably slimy Peter Stormare) is building a bridge across a ravine to Mexico to facilitate his escape. But they didn’t plan on having Ray and his troop of misfit deputies deciding to put up a brave front and protect their ‘home’.
Arnie doesn’t pretend to be the Terminator or Commando in this one. For a lot of the scenes he depends on his younger co-stars to take care of the action. But when it really matters, he swings into battle like a leviathan bulldozing meagre bowling pins. “I’m old,” he acknowledges but gets right back up again. The scant audience for the film laughed and giggled at the jokes and the slapstick and were awed by the action and cinematic humour: one scene where Ray’s Chevy Mustang is chasing Cortez’s ZR1 through a wheat field that blurs their vision is particularly splendid.
I’d like to add that the NRA (National Rifle Association of America) will be particularly pleased with this film at a time when President Obama is rolling out stricter gun control laws. An old granny in the town sits back as a bad guy uses her house to fire on the Sheriff. She leans back behind her knitting, pulls out a shotgun and blows him out the window. Arnie thanks her. This shit is gold!
The Last Stand will probably not do too well but you should go watch it if you’re a fan of the real heroes: Arnie, Sly, Willis, Van Damme, Lundgren and good old fashioned good v/s bad gun fights.