The Last Stand
If you had a neighbor who had a massive gun collection, would you trust him? What if he was mentally unstable? Luckily I don’t know anybody like that, though I understand why people like to own weapons. Besides providing a sense of security, there something very masculine about them. It’s been a while since I’ve gone shooting (probably during my days in the scouts when I needed my marksman merit badge), though I remember the experience being fun. When I destroyed the paper target I aimed for, I felt like that all that built up stress was gone. I felt better when I found that release.
Like the movie I’m reviewing, I come from a small town. I’ll admit that things are quiet. I understand why a lot of young people want to leave. By being restricted to a life of tranquil, then they will cry for something more exciting. If they can’t find it in their town, then it’s off to the closest city for some fun. I’m surprised that the rate of return is about 50/50. Some find something better for themselves, while some become overwhelmed by the opportunities and darker reality and chose to come home. The Last Stand is about someone’s former life in the city coming back to him in a small town.
In Sommerton Junction, Arizona, Sheriff Ray Owens (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) keeps the peace in this sleeper town. Like a classic western sheriff, he seems to enjoy the frontier of the desert while not dealing with much more then some parking violations (okay, John Wayne never gave out a speeding ticket). Ray was once a member of the LAPD who left after a mission gone wrong that left his partner crippled and his team disgraced. What he wanted was something he knew would be stress free while keeping a law enforcement job.
One night, the FBI was transporting an international drug lord named Gabriel Cortez. His group makes a daring escape using a magnet and some high wires that lead him to his car. The problem is that racing is in his blood and he high tails it into the desert with an agent as a hostage with the intent of crossing the Mexican boarder. When FBI agent John Bannister (played by Forest Whitaker) contacts Ray about the incoming drug lord, he starts investigating a murder that leads to a mob that is building the bridge over the wall to the South. With the help of a deranged gun enthusiast Lewis Dinkum (played by Johnny Knoxville), he leads a western-like stand off to stop the bad guys.
The problem with The Last Stand isn’t the action; there are plenty of gunfights, explosions, and car chases to please action fans. It’s just that the story is not only simple and predictable; it very jumbled.
The sequences of Sommerton and the FBI trying to find the drug lord don’t go together at all. While the Sommerton scenes feel like a modern day western, the moments with the FBI look like another episode of CSI. It feels like two different movies.
The other problem is that with something that has Schwarzenegger, I felt underwhelmed. He serves the story just fine, with his usual performance of being a badass. But the story doesn’t serve him. This “stop the drug lord” story is very basic and predictable that honestly could have had any other action star taking the lead. If anyone had stood out, it was actually Knoxville who is more of a cameo then a supporting character. His insane love for weapons his shown off with a funny mix of large action with Jackass-like pranks. Why couldn’t the story have been about him having to save his town?
I’ll give this three school busses out of five. This movie may appeal to Schwarzenegger fans, but I think most find this too familiar. I want to see this guy in more work, but he needs to do something different. And I mean a different action movie.