He left the stage and tanning booths behind for Hollywood, and when that got old, arm-wrestled politics. Finally, after a brief hiatus, our beloved muscle-bound hero is back, fueled by his power-packed, senior-discounted Denny’s meal and brandishing his newly acquired AARP card. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the ageless wonder, is out to prove that he’s still got it in his latest effort “The Last Stand.“
The movie tells the story of former LAPD officer Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) who, because of a botched mission and mounting skeletons in his closet, relocated as sheriff to innocuous border town Somerton Junction, Arizona. The quiet town is rocked when the escape of drug lord and speed racer wannabe Gabriel Cortez (played by Eduardo Noriega) spills over into the desert community. Owens then uses his hero math–two and two equals Arnold smash–to deduce that a string of local incidents are all related. This rubs him the wrong way, as Collateral Damage is hitting too close to home. It takes him a bit longer to terminate these days, but Schwarzenegger eventually engages in some serious geriatric action, or geriaction.
Arnold and his lackeys, deputies Mike Figuerola (Luis Guzman) and Sarah Torrance (Jaime Alexander) and local goof Lewis Dinkman (Johnny Knoxville) set out to settle the score. Guzman’s best “meesta, meesta I can help” routine and Knoxville “Jar Jar Binksing” his way into your heart– you hate him initially, then learn to love him– may be irksome to moviegoers, but the culminating action is a doozy. The pinnacle of ass-kickery is somewhere between Schwarzenegger manning a gatling gun from the back of a bus or his, “Do you feel lucky, punk?” standoff with the film’s antagonist.
“The Last Stand” leaves you waiting for vintage Arnold, focusing a bit too much on the escaped villain doing his Fast and Furious impression and sadly devoid of Arnold’s signature grunts, but if you’re patient your appetite for destruction will be sated. The last portion of the movie is fraught with intensity and worth the wait.
As a whole, the movie is wonderfully, flagrantly over-the-top and comic-booky, but the cheese is laid on in copious amounts at times, leaving some viewers feeling lactose intolerant. Also, Schwarzenegger wasn’t the focal point he was billed as. I had such high hopes for Arnold’s big return to film. Perhaps I set the bar–which I expected Arnold to bench press to his former level–too high.
I liked the film, but because of the wait for old school Arnold and his diminished screen time, I’m giving it 3 out of 5 fists.