The Last Stand (tbc)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/01/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 106 mins

Entertaining, pleasingly old-school Arnie action thriller, enlivened by stylish direction, strong performances and some nice ideas.

What's it all about?
Directed by Kim Jee-woon (The Good, The Bad, The Weird), The Last Stand stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Ray Owens, the small-town sheriff of Sommerton Junction on the Arizona border. When vicious Mexican drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) breaks free from his FBI escort and speeds towards the border in a souped-up Corvette, Ray discovers that he's the only thing standing in the cartel leader's way, so he gathers together a rag-tag band of locals to stand against him, including loyal deputies Figgie (Luis Guzman), Sarah (Jaimie Alexander) and Jerry (Zach Gilford), as well as jailbird Frank (Rodrigo Santoro) and eccentric, heavily-armed gun nut Lewis (Johnny Knoxville).

However, Ray and his posse quickly discover that Cortez isn't acting alone and that a troop of trigger-happy goons led by Burrell (Peter Stormare) are busy building a bridge to aid his escape across the border. And when Burrell and his men discover that the sheriff is onto them, the stage is set for the mother of all Western-style shoot-outs.

The Good
The fundamental question surrounding The Last Stand is whether Arnie can still cut it as an action hero and thankfully, the answer is an unqualified yes, even if the script has to throw in a few token jokes about him being too old for this sort of thing to keep it looking plausible. At any rate, the Austrian Oak is on good, solid form throughout, tossing off the odd wisecrack and pulling off some extremely impressive action moves (a rooftop tussle is a particular highlight).

The supporting cast are equally good, particularly Knoxville and Guzman (both very funny), while Alexander more than holds her own in such testosterone-fuelled company (she does, at least, get a few ass-kicking moments of her own) and Noriega and Stormare both make good villains. In addition, the script is decent, giving each character a chance to shine and chucking in a few unexpected jokes along the way, such as a line from inexplicably Austrian-accented Ray about Cortez giving immigrants a bad name.

The Great
Korean director Kim Jee-woon (making his US debut) keeps things ticking along at a decent pace and orchestrates a number of terrific set-pieces, ranging from humorous stunts (which Knoxville apparently did for real) to blazing shoot-outs and some brilliantly-timed comedy violence moments that it would be churlish to reveal here. In addition, the film is stylishly shot throughout and Kim has a good eye for off-the-wall detail, such as a car chase that takes place in a cornfield, with the husks thumping down onto each of the cars.

Worth seeing?
While not perhaps on the level of Arnie's previous hits, The Last Stand is nonetheless an entertaining action flick that proves the Governator still has the action chops for the job. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 20/07/2019 21:00

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