The Last Stand
What She said:
The Last Stand is exactly what you expect that it
will be, or at least exactly what I was expecting it to
be. First of all, let me say that I stand by my belief
that this movie was created purely as a way of making money
off the success of The Expendables franchise.
Suddenly, cheesy 80s-style action movies were back in as a
fad, and the movie execs wanted to utilize this to make some
serious coin. Credit to Arnold Schwarzenegger, he took
this role seriously and is in decent shape for it.
However the movie is just your average brainless action
flick. Actually, it also serves as a bit of a parody of
itself, although not quite smart enough to be a full on
The movie is about the small town of Sommerton Junction,
where nothing interesting ever happens. Schwarzenegger
plays Ray Owens, sheriff of this sleepy southwestern
hamlet. The place is so quaint; it actually looks like
something out of an old Wild West movie, fake store-fronts
and all. But the world of Sommerton Junction, its
residents, and its police force are rocked when there is a
mysterious murder of the town’s dairy farmer. In the
meantime, Sheriff Owens is notified that there’s an escaped
fugitive named Gabriel Cortez, a notorious drug kingpin, on
his way and that he may come through town in an effort to
cross into Mexico. Coincidence? I think
not. Owens, smarter than your average bear, begins to
put all the pieces together, and with very little help from
the FBI, as he decides to try to stop Cortez. His only
support is from his rag-tag police force. Can Arnold, I
mean Owens, stop the bad guy before it’s too late?
So there ya go, there’s your premise. It’s very
basic. Most everything about this movie is basic.
It seems the writers didn’t have the capacity to dig too
deep. I think the biggest plot twist involves the
reveal of a double-agent hostage at the end of the movie but
it’s so poorly done that you’ll sort of just shrug and forget
that it ever happened.
Let me tell you the good of this movie. It’s a little
funny, filled with action, and surprisingly unboring.
Now, let me tell you the bad. It’s sooooooo poorly
written. From the characters to the dialogue to the
general storyline, it’s bad. Laughably bad at
times. Forest Whitaker, who plays the head FBI agent,
is quite awful. Some of the things they have him say
actually made me giggle. Of course, Arnold is provided
with some one-liners and such, but even those are not as
clever as those in his past movies. The worst part of
the film is probably the bad guy. He actually doesn’t
even have to say that much to be bad. It’s his demeanor
and the fact that he drives some souped-up Chevy that can
travel at 190 mph, easily. It houses something like a
1,000 horse power engine. Because he has this super
car, which seems to run on jet fuel, he’s able to
continuously outrun and outsmart the police, and pretty much
runs circles around them.
There are several lapses of logic in this film. For
one thing, wouldn’t the bad guy just run out of gas?
He’s traveling from Vegas to Mexico in a car with a 1,000 hp
engine. That baby has got to get the worst gas mileage
imaginable. I’m thinking something like 4 mpg. And
yet, the FBI can only think of really dumb ways of catching
him. How about waiting for him to pull over for a fill
So, anyway, this movie is super stupid, and yet I did not
hate it. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t. I feel
like that knocks me down a few notches on the IQ
classification. But I could not help but be mildly
And I mean mildly. Let’s not give this thing too much
credit. I think what allows this to get by is the
nostalgia that it creates for class 80s action flicks.
It feeds on that, and this enables the movie to not be flat
Thumbs half up.
What He said:
I was excited about this movie for a few reasons. First,
it officially marked Arnold’s return to the big screen. His
appearances in The Expendables movies were nothing
more than cameos. This was the first movie where he was back
in the spotlight since Terminator 3 over a decade
ago. Additionally, I felt this simply looked like a better
movie than either of the Expendables movies. Plus,
this is Arnold we’re talking about here. As much as I love all
of the action heroes of my childhood, he was always the
biggest name, so his return is attention worthy, especially
considering the genre’s struggles in recent years.
Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) seems like a
pretty relaxed guy. He seems very content with the lifestyle
in the small town of Sommerton Junction, Arizona. He used to
be a member of the LAPD, but has resigned himself to the quiet
life in rural America; where the biggest thing he has to
worry about is an illegally parked car.
That is until the day infamous drug kingpin Gabriel Cortez
(Eduardo Noriega) escapes from FBI custody and races across
the country in an attempt to cross the border near Sommerton.
What this chump doesn’t know is that nobody walks into
Arnold’s town and decides to use it as a means for committing
illegal activities. Nobody!
Ray is joined by a number of sidekicks. Deputies Jerry
Bailey, Sarah Torrance, and Mike Figuerola are the bulk – if
not all – of the police presence in Sommerton. Jerry (Zach
Gilford) is dying for some action. He wants to leave town and
head to LA, where he knows Ray used to work, and do some real
police work. Sarah seems content staying in Sommerton and
takes her job as a law enforcement officer – even if it is in
the middle of nowhere – very seriously. Mike is a lot like
Ray. He’ll do what needs to be done when the time calls for
it, but he’s perfectly content being a cop in a small town.
Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville) is a local dealer of antique
weapons. Though he’s not a cop, he hangs out with them often,
due to the fact they all share an interest in shooting things
with the stuff he has in his vast collection.
I thought this movie started off pretty good. The villains
escape was well-executed and there was some decent chase
scenes after that, but after a while, they got less and less
exciting. Plus, the guy was just a cheeseball. He wasn’t
intimidating or even fun to laugh at. The guy was just corny.
The rest of the performances were a mixed bag. Forest
Whitaker was horrible as FBI Agent John Bannister. There
wasn’t a thing he said or did that came off as believable.
Luis Guzman was pretty funny. I usually like him. Jamie
Alexander was ok. She was trying a little too hard at times.
So was Johnny Knoxville, but he was good for a few laughs.
Peter Stormare was a little bizarre. He’s better than this
performance. I’ve seen him be downright frightening in movies,
but he was just strange in this role. Arnold wasn’t bad. He
played the aging hero well, but also looked really old at
Overall the movie was ok. It seems like writers and
directors nowadays are more interested in making spoofs of
old action movies rather than movies in the vein of them; and
sometimes that approach just comes off as trying too hard.
There were some scenes that were entertaining enough, while
others were a little flat. It wasn’t bad overall, it just
could have been better with some fine tuning. I thought it
could have been pretty good if they simply tightening some
Rating: Thumbs half up.
This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on
June 7, 2013.