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Movie Review: “The Last Stand”

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He told us that he’d be back… and, goddamn it, he made good on that promise. However, if truth be told, I’m pretty sure nobody seemed to miss him.

“The Last Stand,” as you probably already know, was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s big return to not just movies in general, but to the action genre, as well. Being that he’s been on an extended hiatus playing politician in Cal-lee-forn-ya. I guess what everybody who has either seen the trailer or the commercials for “The Last Stand” wants to know is – does Ah-nuld still have it.

I’m sure the former Governor will be delighted by my diplomatic and political answer of – “yes and no.” Well, mostly no.

Now, granted, Arnie was never in danger of winning any awards for his acting talents, except maybe a Razzie or two, but he did have one thing going for him on the big screen – he was an oversized, swollen human being who could bench-press a Honda Civic. That being said, he also did possess a certain charm that only a former bodybuilder with a ridiculously thick Austrian accent could possess. In other words, the audience could believe him in one or two roles – either Arnie could play the cop/soldier/spy hybrid-role or he could play the hulking robot/barbarian with very limited dialogue role. It was very rare that he strayed away from either of these two categories.

And “The Last Stand” is no exception. Arnie plays, not only a cop, but a Sherriff. What a stretch. Get the 2014 Best Actor Oscar polished – now.

And that is the problem. We’ve seen this movie before, a million times. In fact, we’ve seen this Schwarzenegger movie before, a million times. “Why is that a problem?,” the Arnie fan might ask, because, we’ve seen Arnie, himself, do it better before, a million times. 

Arnie meets his fans.

Arnie receives his next script from a fan at “The Last Stand” screening. Get ready for “Return of Eraser.”

 

That is not a good thing – for the viewer or for Arnie’s resurrected movie career. In my opinion, this was the main reason that people stayed away from this movie so much so that it only managed to snag a ninth-place box-office finish in its first weekend in theaters.

I think that moviegoers who saw the trailer or the commercials, like I did, probably were thinking, “I’m pretty sure I saw this movie already” or maybe even, “I liked it better the first time I saw it, when it was called “The Fast and the Furious” or “Con Air” or “The Expendables” or the millions of other various action films that “The Last Stand” blatantly rips off, okay I’ll be nice about it, blatantly borrows from.

I mean every death scene, car chase, back story, villain, good guy, plot twist, catch phrase, piece of dialogue and explosion-filled shoot-out has been done better in another movie. Usually, when I watch an action movie, no matter how generic they are, I find one scene or even a moment that makes me go, “YEAH” or “OOH” or at least crack a smile. This film induced exactly ONE of these expressions from me – ONE. And the only reason it did was because the moment in question was so excessively violent that I was genuinely taken a back.  Although, it was only because I thought I was watching a PG-13 movie, but I was wrong – it was R.

One more thing before I go – the cast is okay, considering the paper-thin roles they have to play. Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzman had some funny lines. Arnie dropped a couple of “F-bombs,” for apparent shock value. Forest Whitaker, and his half-open right eye, was sufficient.

Here’s a little bit of useless trivia for you – this film happens to reunite Arnie with his “Predator” co-star Sonny Landham, who played the bad-ass, knife-to-the-chest Billy. Dutch… now that’s a movie role I wouldn’t mind Arnie returning to. Somebody call fellow, former Governor Jesse Ventura and Carl Weathers. Shane Black could write and direct it.

However, I did notice that a lot of the actors in the film had accents. I mean, thick, hard to understand accents – and not just Arnie. Basically, if you thought a small-town Sheriff with a crazy European-based diction is unbelievable, then just check out ever-present, action bad guy Peter Stormare in his role. He goes in-and-out of a Southern drawl and back into his Swedish real-life accent, like it’s his job, which makes you wonder why he had this job to begin with. It’s terrible. I’m not sure if it was on purpose, but for his sake, I hope it was.

If I were you Arnie, I’d call “take-backs” and strike this film from your permanent film record right away. I’m pretty sure enough people either didn’t see it or immediately forgot they did, so it might be possible for you to erase it from your resume. I hear there’s a new “Conan” vehicle for you to star in for your “big return to films” (wink-wink) … maybe even “Jingle All the Way 2.”

We can dream, can’t we?

 

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