The Last Stand Poster

10 years after his last starring role in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to starring in action movies. Visibly much older he plays a small town sheriff who, together with his inexperienced staff, finds himself up against the ruthless leader of a Mexican drug cartel.

Arnold’s aging is the first thing anybody will notice, as the camera closes in on his face and shows us a man who is old enough to retire. It’s a bit of a shock, seeing how he was still relatively fit in T3. Apparently politics will wear you down a lot more in ten years than the movie business does in 30.

The plot is kind of preposterous: A psychopathic cartel leader escapes from prison in a carefully orchestrated bust during his transport. The plan is to drive to the border in an experimental prototype of a Corvette ZR1, which is able to go 200mph and is apparently faster than helicopters. Don’t think about roadblocks btw, this plan is so carefully orchestrated and the pockets of this criminal so deep that every possible roadblock has been taken into account and eliminated when necessary.

This movie could have easily starred Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude van Damme, but then it would have probably been filmed in Romania and feature a cast of unknowns. With Schwarzenegger’s name still meaning something talented people like Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Harry Dean Stanton and Luis Guzmán signed up to be in this movie.

Oh, and Johnny Knoxville.

I found The Last Stand pretty enjoyable. There are a couple of good jokes and even Knoxville isn’t as annoying a I thought he would be. He’s the local loony and gun maniac who’s deputized after Arnie lost some men and realizes the challenge he’s up against.

It’s a silly little movie, with a bigger budget than it actually should have gotten. Sure, they put it to good use and stage some nice action scenes involving cars, but there are tons of better written B-movies that could use a big budget like this movie had.

This being an Arnie vehicle this is a step down from his earlier work. It’s by far not the worst from the bunch, but fans should realize that he is and plays a character that’s much older than we’re used from him. He doesn’t walk around without a shirt, nor does he have any real muscle flexing scenes. This is not the guy from Commando or Terminator, this is a guy that has trouble beating a drug lord half his size. It makes his character more realistic in an otherwise totally unrealistic story.