There seems to be some confusion about this one, so here's my official two cents.
When it comes to cinema I'm a sucker for three things, cheesy 80's/90's action movies, cheesy 80's/90's horror movies and sequels to any of the above. You want to make a dozen Terminators or twenty Friday the 13ths? I expect them to suck, but I'll be first in line. While The Last Stand may not officially fall into that category, if you make an action film with the biggest action film star in history I will also be there on opening day (as I will be tomorrow for Stallone's latest). When you're basically a twelve year old boy in a man's body that's just the way it works.
After nearly a decade away from the game and at an advanced age I certainly wasn't expecting True Lies here, but when I read that director, Jee-woon Kim, was attached I actually thought that this one had a shot at transcending the genre. If you're not familiar with Kim, he's been consistently making great films in his native Korea. Stylistically The Good, the Bad and the Weird is one of the cooler looking action films I've seen in a while, and his 2010 revenge thriller I Saw the Devil was an ass kicker on another level. Since neither he nor Arnold have a very strong grasp on the English language I knew he'd have his work cut out for him, but I thought Kim might be the guy to make this comeback work. To a small extent he does.
The Last Stand isn't all bad. It's well shot, at times creative and it's fun to see Schwarzenegger on the screen again, but ironically the film suffers from a lack of it's star. I realize that when your leading man is nearly 70 years old you're going to have to pad your movie with other things, but The Last Stand is less an Arnie actioner and more a car chase film. There's a cliched story about an escaped Mexican cartel kingpin and the FBI agent tasked with tracking him (Forest Whitaker). Arnold is the small town sheriff who's the last line of defense and Whitaker's only chance at keeping him from escaping back to Mexico. But nobody really cares about the plot in a Schwarzenegger movie, we just want to see a real life action figure laying the smack down on some Hollywood bad guy. Herein lies the problem with The Last Stand, it's basically a big, expensive Chevy commercial. Our cartel boss escapes in some kind of beefed up Corvette and spends the next two hours blazing through police road blocks, outrunning helicopters and launching chase vehicles from the road all on the way to Arnold's town. By the time he makes it there the audience has long lost interest.
Don't get me wrong, I'll be lined up again for Arnold's next movie, but if you were hoping The Last Stand would be a return to his pre-California Governor form you'll likely be disappointed.
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