Since I’m always one to champion “bad” movies, here’s one for you: The Last Stand, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Forest Whittaker. Released in 2013 and relying on Arnold’s fading star power, The Last Stand exceeds expectations and proves itself an outright fun, and funny, movie.
2013 | 107 minutes | Dir. Kim Jee- Woon | Lionsgate |Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ★★★ | My Rating: ★★★½
The plot centers on a small- town sheriff (Schwarzenegger) taking it easy after an action- packed career in Los Angeles (sound like anyone we know?). Meanwhile in Vegas, a dangerous drug lord escapes imprisonment and has the FBI chasing their tails as he makes a break for the US/ Mexico border. The drug lord’s escape route leads right through Arnold’s backyard.
The Last Stand features its share of action- movie clichés: pretty girls who can’t act, fake accents, driverless cars, one- liners that induce cringes in the wrong context, plus an embarrassingly bad performance from Forest Whittaker. Luckily, it also has its share of redeeming qualities. Directed by Korean director Kim Jee- Woon, The Last Stand stylishly combines spaghetti western with The Fast and the Furious for an action movie that has a bit of everything- and, even more rarely, a bit of everything done well. The standoffs are suspenseful, the races are heart- pounding, and the guns are scary as shit. Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzmán bring their signature brands of humor to the action scene and bring some genuine laughs. And even though the one- liners are cheesy, they make you want to cheer more than cringe. After all, what’s Arnold without his one- liners?
This movie tries and succeeds at achieving a classic Arnold movie. After all, Arnold was one of the highest- paid actors for much of the 90’s for a reason. The Last Stand still can’t touch classics like Terminator or The Last Action Hero, but it promotes Arnold without embarrassing him and makes for a fun action movie regardless. Schwarzenegger might not be at the top of the heap like Tom Cruise with Mission: Impossible, but he’s still a far cry from most of his Expendables costars. Most importantly, Arnold’s sheriff character always does the right thing. His weakness is his age, but the film shows the honor in “old” values. Regardless of how you feel about the former Governator, Arnold’s off-screen shenanigans don’t come close to his on- screen righteousness.