Director Kim Jee-Woon helmed the excellent Korean serial killer flick I Saw the Devil. He’s made other movies, but that is the only one I’ve seen. And now his Hollywood debut is toplined by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Last Stand straddles two time periods: the 90s with its B-movie action tone and the present with its look, feel, and bloody violence. There are scenes of sudden violence in this movie that are so well executed that it should probably trouble someone somewhere that movies like this make gun violence look so…colourful.
The plot is really quite simple: Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) is a well-recognized figure in a tiny town close to America’s border with Mexico. The town is so small when folks drive out to an away football game, only old folks and Owens’ three deputies are left behind.
Meanwhile in distant Las Vegas an FBI transfer of a deadly drug cartel boss (Eduardo Noriega) goes horribly awry when he escapes with a hostage and a souped-up car. Cortez—the mob boss—is headed towards Owens’ town and it is up to the sheriff and his deputies to stop the man before he crosses over the border and escapes into Mexico.
This is not the type of movie where one can discuss performances, or narrative choices. Because there really is only one outcome in a movie like this one, and there are certain well-worn routes the filmmakers can travel to arrive at this final outcome. The journey is scenically satisfactory, and that is pretty much what one should expect out of a movie like The Last Stand.
Final Analysis: Mr. Schwarzenegger is softer and slower but he still has that mean thousand yard stare that could scare the crap out of certain people. As a comeback vehicle this is far from the worst thing he could have chosen.
My Advice: The next time you’re in the mood for some cinematic adrenaline, throw this movie on.