Review: THE LAST STAND (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Review: THE LAST STAND (2013)

I'm old but I'm back!
A would-be huge comeback for Arnold Schwarzenegger but THE LAST STAND only sizzles in the action-packed final 30 minutes.

Arnold's back, but don't expect at his best here. Instead his first leading star vehicle in THE LAST STAND since 2003's TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES is nothing more than a disappointingly formulaic shoot-’em-up modern western.


Once a hotshot LAPD narcotics cop, Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has seen enough bloodshed and now retreated from the city to become a sheriff at a sleepy town of Sommerton Junction, which located on the US/Mexico border. Sommerton Junction is practically a crime-free zone until Ray's fellow deputies -- Mike Figuerola (Luis Guzman), Sarah Torrance (Jaimie Alexander) and Jerry Bailey (Zach Gilford) -- spend most of their time easing around.

But troubles about to come when infamous drug-kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has made his daring escape from an FBI convoy, and he is now races south to the Mexico border in a souped-up Corvette ZR1 that capable to outrun anything on the road. Agent John Barrister (Forest Whitaker), who is in charge of the FBI convoy, determines to stop Gabriel at all cost. Otherwise, if Cortez manages to cross the Mexico border through Sommerton Junction, he might be gone forever.

THE LAST STAND only comes alive during its final 30 minutes worth of stylish shootout, over-the-top mayhem and graphic violence. Here, Kim Jee-Woon and cinematographer Kim Ji-Yong are technically proficient enough with fluid direction and innovative camerawork. From the massive gunfight at the middle of Sommerton Junction town, the high-speed car chase through the cornfield and right down to the climactic mano-a-mano fight between Ray Owens and Gabriel Cortez at the bridge of the US/Mexico border, the action is ceaseless enough to keep you occupied. If only the rest of the movie could match the intense finale, it would have been a solid entertainment.


Well, I hate to repeat myself but the final 30 minutes is obviously the most memorable moment in this otherwise creaky action movie.


Sheriff Ray Owens: You f--ked up my day off.


On the surface, THE LAST STAND supposed to be a great comeback bid for the once-bankable Arnold Schwarzenegger who mostly dominated the action genre during the early '80s right up to the mid '90s. It has one of the most celebrated South Korean directors on the helm, and he is Kim Jee-Woon. A genre specialist in his native country, he has made a number of highly-acclaimed efforts ranging from horror (A TALES OF TWO SISTERS), gangster (A BITTERSWEET LIFE), western (THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD) and thriller (I SAW THE DEVIL) with equal ease. But in his first bid to conquer Hollywood, he's hardly at his best here. His direction is surprisingly less assured than he used to be. This is due to Andrew Knauer's bland screenplay which wastes too much time on subplots involving different characters' personal agendas.

Another huge problem suffered in this movie is its erratic pace. The movie takes far too long to get to the point -- the titular showdown, that is -- and frankly, the result is mostly frustrating to sit through. Then there's the acting parts, which ranging from average to plain bad. At 65-year-old, Schwarzenegger is obviously creaky here and he is not what he used to be. While he's still capable to perform some hard-hitting action, his Sheriff Ray Owens character comes across rather flat and tedious. As Gabriel Cortez, Eduardo Noriega has to be one of the lamest screen villains I've ever seen in a long while. Problem is, he is not fearless enough to justify his so-called character who's not afraid of death. Forest Whitaker looks twitchy most of the time here playing Agent John Barrister as if he's overdosed on too much coffee, while the rest of the supporting cast are as forgettable as they get.


 How come nobody told me I bump into Schwarzenegger's little town? Idiot! Idiot!

No doubt THE LAST STAND is a forgettable effort that doesn't justify Arnold Schwarzenegger's once-supreme action icon status. So much for the comeback.

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