Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Take: THE LAST STAND starring Arnold Schwarzenneger

"I'll be back … "
I can't write in dialect, of course, but we all remember when Arnold famously said this in the first TERMINATOR movie. Right? Well, in that film he came back, as promised. And he kept coming back in, in a whole string of action-packed movies that made him one of the most popular stars of the 80s and 90s.

Then he took a wrong turn into politics and an even worse turn in an adulterous affair that ruined his marriage and made him look like a complete jackass.
Hopefully (not to mention thankfully), he has now put that foolishness behind him and guess what?
He's back.
And THE LAST STAND is damn near the perfect vehicle for him to make his full-fledged return (as opposed to the teaser cameos he did in the recent EXPENDABLES movies).

Here, once again, is the ass-kicking, English language-butchering, wise-cracking, nearly invincible Arnold we remember so fondly. He's a little older, a little crustier, and a little thicker through the middle (but still with massive arms). In fact, when the action kicks in you could say he packs the biggest guns in the movie, and mean it in more ways than one.
The plot, loaded with improbabilities and strained logic (incidentals that don't really matter in a film like this), has to do with a highly dangerous, filthy rich drug lord who escapes Federal custody in Las Vegas and makes a daring run for the border in a super-modified Corvette that can reach insane speeds and outrun anything (even a pursuit helicopter) the Feds send after it. And it doesn't hurt that Cortez, the drug lord, has a whole force of motorized thugs running interference for him.
At the finish line is the sleepy little town of Sommerton Junction, where Cortez is intending to break across the border and where an advance team of thugs are preparing a mobile assault bridge spanning a narrow ravine that will allow him to do this.
One problem: Ray Owens, a disgraced and guilt-ridden former LAPD cop (as played by Schwarzenegger) is the sheriff of Sommerton and he doesn't intend to just let Cortez blow through his town without trying to stop him.

The acting is quite good for a film of this type, with some very interesting quirks given to several of the characterizations. There is lots of bloody action, much of it grimly and intentionally humorous in the various creative ways the hordes of bad guys meet their ends. Yet in one death scene (one of Arnold's deputies) there is also some surprisingly deep emotion.
But the over-the-top action — and seeing Arnold back in the thick of it — is the big selling point here.
THE LAST STAND delivers quite nicely, thank you.
Go knowing what to expect and you won't be disappointed.

No comments: