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The Last Stand

2013 | 107 min | R | 2.39:1

The Last Stand


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User reviews

2 user reviews

Movie appeal



Theatrical release date

 18 January, 2013
 25 January, 2013

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




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The Last Stand


Screenshots from The Last Stand Blu-ray

The Last Stand Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, January 17, 2013

It might be hard to believe, but Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t starred in a movie since 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” Sure, there have been cameos in two “Expendables” screen adventures and a weird part in 2004’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” but the once mighty action hero has laid low over the last decade, fighting different battles with a special group of villains as Governor of California. “The Last Stand” treats Schwarzenegger’s return as business as usual, dropping the star into the thick of the hunt, with only a few jokes addressing his advanced age before he’s back cracking skulls and blasting away goons. Sure, the gags could be better, the casting stronger, and the thrills continuous, but “The Last Stand” remains immensely enjoyable and occasionally freewheeling. At the very least, it’s good to have Schwarzenegger back on the screen where he belongs.

A feared cartel leader, Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has just broken out of protective custody during a prison transfer in Las Vegas, sending F.B.I. Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) into a fit of rage, consumed with reclaiming this most dangerous man. Gifted a modified Corvette to speed his way back to Mexico and a hostage (Genesis Rodriguez) to guarantee his safety, Gabriel tears off into the desert, waiting for subordinate Burell (Peter Stormare) to complete work on a makeshift bridge to ease border access. Dodging cops with his driving skills, the only town left on the map for Cortez to conquer is Sommerton Junction, with its dedicated lawman, Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger). With Bannister orchestrating bungled capture efforts from afar, it’s up to Ray and his deputies, including Torrance (Jaimie Alexander) and Figuerola (Luis Guzman), to lockdown their empty town and halt Cortez’s forward momentum, working with limited experience and armed with historical weaponry provided by local nut Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville).

To keep “The Last Stand” interesting, Korean director Kim Ji-woon has been brought in to guide the distinctly American story, having previously helmed “I Saw the Devil” and “The Good, the Bad, the Weird,” a loopy spaghetti western tribute that likely secured him the gig. Kim has a rough sense of humor and an interest in extreme visuals, making him an inspired choice to call the shots on Schwarzenegger’s comeback vehicle, with his distinctly foreign filmmaking enthusiasm enough to make a script centered on the violent exploits of a supercar and its drug-dealer driver work to a certain degree. I doubt few could pull off the same sincerity and keep the feature’s energy alive.

Actually, “The Last Stand” takes its time establishing Cortez’s chase and Bannister’s frustration, watching the F.B.I. scramble to figure out a way to stop the automobile, which, through driver skill and a deactivation of the headlights, easily evades surveillance in the night. Of course, nobody simply lines miles of Arizona road with spike strips, but let’s not start asking questions at this point. It ruins the good times. After all, Kim does an excellent job pulling suspense out of roadblocks intending to stop Cortez (who’s so evil, even his Van Dyke has devil horns), who comes armed with trucks of baddies able to shoot their way through any police blockade, keeping their boss speeding along. “The Last Stand” is more of a car film than expected, with a sizable amount of the running time devoted to Cortez’s ferocious car-fu and elaborate plans to secretly border jump, with Bannister running out of time and options before Sheriff Ray is forced to act on his own.

The screenplay has some fun with Schwarzenegger’s age, observing Ray’s need for glasses to help inspect a local farmer’s bullet wound, and his general breathlessness when it comes to street combat, with the actor generously playing up his character’s rusted sense of heroism after honing his law enforcement skills with the L.A.P.D. years ago. Schwarzenegger has never been a richly expressive thespian, but his star power is mighty here, boosted by choice one-liners and a few touching scenes of mourning when Ray loses one of his own to Burrell’s vicious bridge defense. The action legend is confident and playful, restoring some of the old Arnold magic that’s been lost to the years, selecting a project that could make the most of his steel appeal, while providing a large supporting cast to help with the heavy lifting. After all, with Knoxville, Stormare (who’s unwatchable as the second-in-command), and Guzman around, Schwarzenegger is practically Brandoesque in his work here.

The final act of the movie is devoted to the titular event, with Cortez and his men trying to cross through a moderately fortified Sommerton Junction, leading to gun fights, car accidents, and some inspired stunt work. It’s essential action vocabulary with a knowing western twist, yet Kim pulls it all off with aplomb, lacking a few necessary slam-bang punctuation points to really drive audiences wild. Considering what it might’ve been in lesser hands, “The Last Stand” is amazingly competent and always out to please, proud to be junk food with Korean spices and a leathery Austrian filling.

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peter Stormare, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, Luis Guzmán, Jaimie Alexander
Director: Kim Jee-woon

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The Last Stand, Forum Discussions

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Why do you hate X3-The Last Stand? 195 May 06, 2011

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