BY DAN METCALF
Clipper Film Correspondent
Rated R for graphic violence and language.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville, Rodrigo Santoro, Zach Gilford, Forest Whitaker, Genesis Rodriguez, Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzmán, Peter Stormare, Eduardo Noriega, Harry Dean Stanton.
Directed by Kim Ji-Woon.
Written by Andrew Knauer
Arnold is back, and depending on who you ask, that may or may not be a good thing. Following his foray into politics and his well-documented marital/paternal issues, it was only a matter of time before the action movie icon returned to his roots (despite a few cameos in the Expendables movies). His first starring role comes in The Last Stand, in theaters on January 18.
Schwarzenegger stars as Sheriff Ray Owens (not exactly an Austrian name, but most audiences gave up on explaining why Arnold has played so many “Americans” with thick accents years ago), a former Los Angeles special forces and narcotics officer who has found peace serving as the primary law enforcement in the small town of Summerton Junction, on the Arizona-Mexico border. As county sheriff, Ray commands a small force of deputies, including Sarah (Jaime Alexander), Mike “Figgy” Figueroa (Luiz Guzman) and the baby-faced rookie deputy Jerry Bailey (Zach Gilford).
Miles away in Las Vegas, FBI agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) falls prey to an elaborate scheme to help Mexican drug cartel lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) escape. During the escape, Cortez also kidnaps a lovely female agent and keeps her as a hostage while driving a stolen supercharged Corvette toward the border in Summerton Junction. Cortez's men, led by the evil Burrell (Peter Stormare), have set up a makeshift bridge over a nearby narrow canyon to allow their leader to simply drive unnoticed into freedom while border agents assemble at a more likely crossing miles away. When Ray's deputies discover Burell's scheme, the hardened sheriff determines to stand up to Cortez and his small army, with a little help from a local firearms enthusiast (Johnny Knoxville) and a former marine (Rodrigo Santoro), who is sitting in his jail.
A great battle in the streets of Summerton Junction ensues, with bloody and action-packed results.
The Last Stand is in many ways the perfect vehicle for Schwarzenegger to re-enter the action film world, since the movie closely resembles a majority of his movie resume. It's full of macho one-liners, improbable stunts, and the kind of comedy Arnold and his fans became accustomed to over the years of his heyday.
Sure, the acting is over-the-top, the script is inane and the story is completely implausible, but people willing to plop down their hard-earned cash to see Schwarzenegger movies aren't really expecting Citizen Kane, are they? So, if a lot of gory gun play, some harsh language and a silly story don't bother you, go ahead and see The Last Stand. If you're waiting for another Citizen Kane, keep waiting.