Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Last Stand (2013)

Genre: Action, Thriller
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Luis Guzman, Peter Stormare, Johnny Knoxville
Director: Jee-woon Kim
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10
My Rating: 7.2/10
Runtime: 1hr 47mins


'What will we watch?'
'The Last Stand?'
'Who's in it?'
'Arnie, Forest Whitaker and Johnny Knoxville'
'Jesus, Johnny Knoxville'
'Yeah, I know, and Expendables 2 was okay but I think Arnie's best is behind him'
'Sure, it's a bit of brain candy, throw it on there'

Boy were we not disappointed! The Last Stand is the perfect action film where you get to switch off your brain and allow the images on the screen go through your cornea and pupil and sit there drooling with your tongue hanging out, and thankfully, Johnny Knoxville isn't in it that much at all. It's a bit of a return to form for Arnie who thankfully avoids throwing in quotes from old films such as 'I'll be back' and has some great new one-liners. When I laughed during the film about the idea of a sheriff in a sleepy backwater town near the Mexican border having an Austrian accent, I was reminded that a recent Governor of California also had an Austrian accent, touché. 

The plot is basic enough, but also, considering it's an action blockbuster, is relatively realistic. Sheriff Ray Owens (obviously his ancestors amended their surname from Opfens to get jobs many years ago), is settling into the quiet life in rural Sommerton after a career in the LAPD. Meanwhile, a Mexican drug cartel boss, who Forest Whitaker describes at a briefing to FBI agents as 'the most notorious drug lord since Pablo Escobar', escapes custody en route to prison from the courthouse in Los Angeles. In a well planned operation, he flees the authorities and makes a hasty getaway toward the Mexican border, and yes, you've guessed it, it's up to Arnie and his rag-tag band of local police officers to stop him. 

The film speeds by at electric pace, you barely notice the hour and 45-odd minutes pass by and is thoroughly enjoyable. It wasn't until the credits rolled at the end that I realised the director was Jee-woon Kim, director of three amazing Korean films, A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), I Saw The Devil (2010) (a highly-rated thriller one critic hailed as the best serial killer film since Seven) and my personal favourite, A Bittersweet Life (2005), which is one of the most enjoyable revenge-action films I've ever seen (I've included a trailer below for this last film to give you a taste). Don't get me wrong though, I know as much about Korean cinema as Justin Bieber, but it's definitely full of gems if Kim's work is anything to go by. Okay, so enough of my adulation for the director. It did make sense at the end though as one of the most enjoyable aspects of the film for me, for a big budget American film, was the inclusion of a nice heap of blood and guts and people losing limbs, a trademark of Kim's, even if it's a bit toned down for the audience. 

Well, it's coming up to the weekend and I see that The Last Stand is available to rent in all good video shops, if you feel you can't handle subtitles or a David Lynch film over the next few days, look no further than here, it may very well be Arnie's last watchable action film, I promise you won't be disappointed. 

A Bittersweet Life (2005), trailer

I am on anti-depressants and suffer from severe anxiety, should I watch this  film on a Sunday night? There's never a bad time to watch Arnie.

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