Movie review: 'The Last Stand'

Schwarzenegger does a face-first pratfall in comeback action film.

The Fresno BeeJanuary 17, 2013 

"The Last Stand" is the vehicle former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger selected to make his return to starring in action films. If this is an example of his work in the post-governor days, Schwarzenegger should seriously consider a return to politics.

What passes as the plot for this stinker has Schwarzenegger playing the sheriff of a sleepy little town on the Mexican border. It's not just sleepy but nearly comatose because most of the town's people have left on a weekend trip for a high school football game. Convenient.

The quiet's disrupted when the city becomes the spot where an escaped drug-cartel leader wants to drive his stolen missile-like sports car across the border. Only the sheriff, his deputies and a couple of rejects from "The Magnificent Seven" can stop the escape.

There are so many problems with the movie that even a month-long filibuster couldn't hit them all. Here are the really low points:

Writers Andrew Knauer and Jeffrey Nachmanoff set up an absurd premise and make illogical and stupid moves just to keep the plot going. The film grinds to a halt when an FBI agent (Forest Whitaker) explains an idiotic plot point by saying the drug boss is a part-time race car driver. This is the only reason the drug lord blows through the desert in a car that might as well have a flashing light on top that says "Escapee Inside?"

To set up a "High Noon"-style standoff, they explain that there are only two streets that go through town. No one seems to think about how it would have been easier just to go around the city of about 30 buildings.

Director Jee-woon Kim treats Schwarzenegger like he's 30 rather than having fun with his senior age. Instead of playing off the dry humor that's become a Schwarzenegger trademark, the director acts like he's got Jason Statham playing the small-town hero. He doesn't even have someone who moves as well as Jason Alexander. Even with sharp editing, Schwarzenegger looks like he's walking through mud while being tied to the dead weight of all the work that didn't get done during his days in office.

Johnny Knoxville continues to prove that, unless there's a car battery connected to his manhood, he has no acting skills. That means the only way Knoxville can play his character of a local gun lover is by channeling Murdock from "The A-Team." At least Knoxville proves that there are worse actors than Schwarzenegger.

The film is loaded with stereotypes and poorly staged action scenes. And the dialogue is laughable when it's supposed to be serious and bland when it's supposed to be funny.

Schwarzenegger always told his film fans that he'd be back. "The Last Stand" proves that was a threat more than a promise. Any future ideas along this line should be terminated.


Movie review

"The Last Stand," rated R for language, violence. Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, Luis Guzmán. Directed by Jee-woon Kim. Running time: 107 minutes. Grade: F Theaters and times for this movie | Other movie reviews

TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559)441-6355, rbentley@fresnobee.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

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