Once upon a time Arnold Schwarzenegger was the biggest movie star on the planet. Regardless of the quality of the film, his name alone opened a film to huge numbers. Schwarzenegger left the game at the top, having starred in the mediocre, yet financially successful Terminator 3. However, that film was ten years ago and the film landscape has changed drastically since then and a decade is a long time to be gone from the spotlight, moonlighting as a politician. Regardless, Arnold is back, headlining The Last Stand, and picking up exactly where he left off.
Directed by Jee-woon Kim, the man behind the masterful I Saw the Devil, The Last Stand is an action film based on the most absurd of premises. Cartel leader Gabriel Cortez, played by Eduardo Noriega, is headed for death row when he makes a daring escape from a federal convoy, gets in a concept model Corvette and makes a run for the border. Arnold, plays Sheriff Ray, an ex-LAPD cop living out his golden years in a sleepy border town that just happens to be the spot picked for the escape crossing. Obviously this means bad things are going to happen.
Arnold carries the film, he shows he still has the magnetic personality that made him the star he was. Unfortunately a good half of the film is spent in the car with Cortez or with Agent Bannister (Forest Whitaker) as he tries to “track” Cortez down and they drag it down from being the absurdly fun film it is when Arnold is on screen.
To his credit, Kim handles the action scenes expertly, delivering exciting and often gory confrontations tinged with a great deal of humor from Arnold and his ragtag group of cohorts, specifically Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzman. Arnold deadpans his way through the film, dropping some great one-liners, while Knoxville and Guzman ham it up. There just is not enough of the good stuff to go around and make The Last Stand the glorious return to the top that Arnold rightly deserves. Instead it ends up being a fun but mostly forgettable film.