The Last Stand
dir Kim Jee-woon
scr Andrew Knauer
prd Lorenzo di Bonaventura
with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Rodrigo Santoro, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, Zach Gilford, Luis Guzman, Eduardo Noriega, Genesis Rodriguez, Peter Stormare, John Patrick Amedori, Harry Dean Stanton
release US 18.Jan.13, UK 25.Jan.13
13/US Lionsgate 1h47
The Last Stand
You shall not pass: Schwarzenegger, Alexander and Santoro

whitaker knoxville guzman
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Last Stand As with his 2008 Western pastiche The Good the Bad the Weird, Korean filmmaker Kim takes a high-energy approach to this raucous American action movie. A mix of vicious violence, comical silliness, wacky action and sardonic wit, it's far too uneven to come together into anything beyond a possible guilty pleasure.

In a sleepy town on the Arizona-Mexico border, Sheriff Owens (Schwarzenegger) has his quiet routine disrupted when a stranger (Stormare) comes to town. When his deputies (Gilford and Alexander) look into it, things turn violent very quickly, and he deputises a drunken veteran (Santoro) and an idiotic gun nut (Knoxville) to help. Meanwhile in Las Vegas, FBI Agent Bannister (Whitaker) is chasing escaped drug lord Cortez (Noriega), who is leaving a path of destruction as he heads towards Mexico. Can Owens stop him before he gets away?

There are the bare bones of an intriguing plot here, but the filmmakers seem to have become bored with trying to make any sense of it, so they just indulge in one implausibility after another to ramp up the action in every way possible. Much of this is achingly cool to watch, as Cortez outwits the Feds with a ludicrous prototype super-car that travels "faster than a chopper" on roads that are miraculously pothole-free. (Insert plot-hole joke here.)

Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger lumbers across the screen like a bulked-up Clint Eastwood, growling about these pesky kids while barking out one-liners that are only funny because we can't quite believe he's still doing this same schtick. That said, he still has more presence than anyone else on screen. Whitaker never does anything but bluster as he remains one step behind all the action. At least deputies Santoro, Alexander, Gilford and Guzman all get to have some fun.

Knoxville, on the other hand, is so annoying that he snaps us out of the film every time he's on screen. It's a deeply misjudged role (both the performance and how it's directed), even more distracting than a couple of corny emotional sequences or the predictable gags that pile up around the story. In the end, it's loud and obnoxious enough to hold our attention, but the chaotic camera work and frenetic pace leaves us feeling as battered and bruised as Arnie.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 9.Jan.13

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... The Last Stand Laurie T, Minneapolis: "Laughed our butts off - it was silly and entertaining and funny! I did not really care if the plot had holes - it does and did. But we were entertained and had a couple hours of escape from reality. Have told all my friends it is silly and funny and go see it if they wanna laugh." (25.Jan.13)
© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall