The Last Stand (2013) Review

???????????????????There’s something reassuringly retro about Arnie’s comeback film, his first starring role since 2003’s forgettable “Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines”. “The Last Stand” goes right back to basics, with Arnie playing a small town sheriff whose sleepy little community just happens to be on the escape route being used by an escaped drug dealer who busted out while he was being transferred to his execution.

There’s some classic, old-school narrative tricks of the trade at work here: we know the bad guy is very bad because we see him do nasty, merciless things, so we’re all set for him to have his ass handed to him by Arnie. There’s no room for shades of grey here, this is a black and white movie in all but film stock. Schwarzenegger seems like he’s never been away and, if anything, seems fresher and more energised than he has in any film since “True Lies”. He seems completely at home as Sheriff Ray Owens, the aging sheriff of Sommerton Junction but luckily for us, and unluckily for drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), he used to be a member of some LAPD special ops squad. Ray rounds up a rag tag band of deputies and deputised townsfolk and prepares to face down the escapee. The supporting cast including the likes of Jaime Alexander, Luis Guzmán, Johnny Knoxville provides both firepower and fun as they face down the hired goons and their leader Burrell (Peter Stormare) while Cortez races towards the town in a conveniently appropriated special edition sports car capable of speeds of up to 200mph. Only Forrest Whitaker, who pops up as a hapless and unnecessary FBI agent trying desperately to recapture Cortez but is outwitted at every turn, seems unnecessary and out of place in this otherwise streamlined joyride.

Director Kim Jewson keeps things simple, allowing the story to motor along without any pause for the fashionable angst and self-reflection. This is the film equivalent of a muscle car and it doesn’t care about your feelings, it just wants to get the bad guy and f**k him up. It’s action packed, clever without being gimmicky and there are a few choice one-liners to chuckle over. There’s even an old granny with a shotgun, just for fun. I’d grown to accept that they just don’t make them like this anymore. God-damn it’s good to have Arnie back!

7/10 Score 7