FlixChatter Review: The Last Stand

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Arnold Schwarzenegger never seems to get tired of saying his iconic Terminator line. But after some petty cameos in two Expendables movies, this time he’s really back. It’s not some ubiquitous revenge thriller thankfully, but in an action comedy where he unabashedly makes fun of his old, beat-up self to great effect.

When I first saw the trailer, I thought this sounds like it could be fun, but it’s not something I’m dying to see. But the positive early reviews intrigued me, so when the screening time comes along, I was kind of looking forward to it. Well guess what, it delivered!

The story is ever so simple. A dangerous Mexican drug cartel honcho escapes from the Feds on the way to federal prison. His goal is to speed away in his ZR1 supercar to the Mexican border, but not without going through the sleepy bordertown Sommerton Junction guarded by a grizzled Sheriff Ray Owens. As Owen said in the trailer, ‘I’m not going to let that guy comes through our town without a fight.’ Corny, yes, and there’s not exactly anything new or fresh in this action flick, but I’ll be darned if I wasn’t entertained from start to finish.

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The Sheriff is taciturn but friendly. In fact, he’s revered but beloved by his townsfolk and the former LAPD deeply cares about this small town. When the time comes that the town has to face the drug cartel bandits, he only has his inexperienced deputies to rely on: Mike (the always hilarious Luis Guzmán), Jerry (Zach Gilford), Sarah (Jaimie Alexander) and Frank (Rodrigo Santoro), with the help of a village idiot who curates a weapons museum (Johnny Knoxville). Fans of Jack Ass would enjoy seeing Knoxville here who’s right in his elements with his riotous zany-ness, he’s perfectly cast in this role. The movie is filled with ludicrous action sequences, alternating between insane car chases involving a 1000-horsepowered ZR1 Corvette going 200 mph and bombastic shoot-em-ups where people don’t just get shot, they also get blown up to bits!! I’d be too busy rolling my eyes if I weren’t laughing so hard. I wasn’t expecting it to be so hysterical, but believe it or not, there’s also an emotional moment at one point that I actually got choked up a bit.

Arnie’s one liners are inherently hilarious because of the way he delivers them, but Guzmán and Knoxville are the scene stealers here, there’s riotous laughter every time they’re on screen. Guzmán’s expressive delivery is the perfect complement to Arnie’s deadpan style, too bad he didn’t have a verbal face off with the inimitable Peter Stormare who plays the villain’s henchman. As the main villain Gabriel Cortez, Spanish actor Eduardo Noriega (Open Your Eyes) displays a devilish charisma, who has a crazy mano-a-mano with the Governator… er Sheriff. I think he’d be on my next year’s list of actors I’d like to see more of 😉 Not sure what Forest Whitaker is doing here though, he’s pretty much relegated to a screaming bunch of nerves as the lead FBI agent tracking down Cortez.

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I’m quite impressed by South Korean director Jee-woon Kim‘s zippy and dynamic directing style, and for someone who reportedly doesn’t speak much English, he’s able to get the most out of his actors. The script is apparently one of the 2009’s Black List, an annual list of ‘most liked scripts’ started by a Universal exec back in 2004. The seamless mix of action and comedy makes this so entertaining to watch. It’s what I think the first Expendables should’ve been, that is, not to take things too seriously. I could tell the whole theater was having a jolly good time. It’s definitely a welcome change for me after watching something as intense as Zero Dark Thirty! I’m not saying this movie isn’t violent and bloody, but mostly it’s happens pretty quick so it keeps me from flinching too often.

So if you’re looking for a pure escapist entertainment but not quite ready to check your brain at the door, this movie should satisfy you. This ain’t gonna be the last movie you’ll see Arnie in (he’ll be seen with Sylvester Stallone again later this year in, what else, an action thriller called The Tomb), but he’s chosen a pretty good vehicle for his comeback. I’m pretty generous in my ratings here as I enjoyed it immensely, I’d be renting this one again for sure.

4 out of 5 reels


Thoughts on Arnie or this film? Will you be watching it this weekend?

38 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: The Last Stand

    1. That’s what I initially thought too, Mark. But it was really a lot of fun, I gave a high rating as it was entertaining and funny. I mean that’s what we go to the movies for, right, to be entertained? 🙂 I’m not saying it’s a MUST SEE at the cinema but definitely worth a rental.

    1. I’m not familiar with Jee-Woon Kim’s style but I liked what I saw. It’s violent but at least not super gory and it was funnier than I expected. I laughed the whole time, so yeah, a fun time at the movies!

  1. Ted S.

    I might check it out this weekend, I’m not a fan of Knoxville, i thought he was annoying in a similar role in Walking Tall. But good to hear he’s funny in this one.

    The more films Arnold makes the better, he’s not getting any younger. I still remember when I a kid, every Arnold’s films always had big anticipations like most of the big superhero films today. I remember seeing the teaser for Total Recall, T2 and The Last Action Hero, there were the equivalent of Nolan’s Batman films in today’s blockbusters.

    1. Y’know, I’m not a fan of Knoxville either but he’s actually pretty funny here, less annoying than I thought he’d be, ahah.

      Yep, Arnie is no spring chicken anymore and the movie really played on that notion well. He’s fully aware of it, too, which makes it funnier.

    1. Not exactly, though there’s a video intro of him and Guzman where he said it. If you’re a big fan of Arnie, then you’ll enjoy this. It harkens back to his action hits of the 80s and 90s.

  2. Hi, Ruth and company:

    ‘The Last Stand’ looks and sounds very much like Arnie’s bigger than life, stellar trash roles in ‘Predator’, ‘Terminator’ and ‘Commando’ from which he never should have strayed!

    It’s nice to see that the Gunslinger is back!

    1. Indeed! This is the kind of roles he does best, Jack, and combine with the ‘old fart’ jokes, it’s a winner. The script is fun, but not as brainless as people would expect.

  3. Wow! Don’t mind a good action comedy, but I didn’t expect that much love for this. I’ll probably check it out on DVD. This weekend I should be seeing Broken City, but I also want to see Silver Linings Playbook again and check out Mama and Gangster Squad soon.

    1. Ahah, believe me, I didn’t expect to either but I enjoyed it for what it is, a fun action movie. I’m not interested in Broken City despite the cast, I reckon it’d be as disappointing as Gangster Squad. Curious to read your review. Mama looks too darn scary for my taste.

  4. I’m shocked. Well, okay, mildly surprised at the 4-star review. I don’t doubt you, though. I know better ;-). I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to take this in soon, but I will see this because of your review, Ruth. Thanks.

    1. He..he.. I figure people would be shocked as I’m generally not a huge fan of Arnie and never even heard of this director. But I had so much fun watching it, Michael, it was a blast. I know some will pick it apart, plot holes what have you, and surely it’s not without flaws. But to me, it’s a solid action comedy that aims to entertained and it hits the bulls eye. Car fans should have fun too with that ZR1, wow! Like Jim Gordon said, ‘I need to get myself one of those.’ 😀

  5. I like films like this from time to time, so I’ll probably watch it on DVD. Both Expendables movies were fun, but of course it could have been the Statham factor 😀

    1. I hated the first Expendables movie, almost walked out of the theater. But the second one seemed to be funnier, I only caught about 10 min of it on the plane though. This one however is so much fun because it doesn’t take things too seriously.

  6. I wasn’t really expecting much out of this, although I was hoping it would be fun. Sounds like it is. I’ll have to check it out when I get the opportunity. Thanks for the review, Ruth!

    1. Yeah, quite enjoyable for an action comedy. Doesn’t look like it’s a hit though, which is too bad as I think it’s a pretty decent comeback for Arnie.

  7. Hi Ruth, this movie sounds like a nice surprise. Arnold + Johnny Knoxville doesn’t seem like it should work, but now you’ve got me interested in seeing this. Hopefully we can get more surprises like this to get us through winter.

    1. Ahah, Arnold + Johnny Knoxville does seem like a very odd couple indeed, but some of the time Arnie is paired with Luiz Guzman also, to hilarious effect. I really didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but it’s nice when that happens.

  8. Pingback: The Last Stand Review: AMERICA!!!! (F*ck Yeah) | Rorschach Reviews

  9. I know you’ve been over to my review, and you know where I “Stand” on it (Ha! Hah ha! LOL Ok, sorry 😉 ) I thought it was silly and fun, but it does ask you to forgive a lot/slash turn off your disbelief. I enjoyed it, I’m a big fan of Ahnuld, so it was good to see him back in business!

    1. Ahah, I pardon your pun, Fogs 😉 I think the disbelief part is to be expected in movies like this. I mean that darn ZR1 never seems to run out of gas despite being driven to the max, y’know? But to me, the humor made it more than bearable. I really like Luis Guzman and Ahnuld poking fun of himself is fun to watch 😀

  10. Glad you enjoyed this Ruth 😀 This is actually pretty decently reviewed in the critical community for an Arnie action flick, I will definitely give it a watch when it hits Netflix, not sure I want to go out and see it in theater though, it’s really cold outside ahah.

    1. It certainly helped that I didn’t pay for it, Castor 🙂 Yeah it’s super cold outside… I’m actually working today and even getting to my office from the car is excruciating!

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