Unless you’re ten years old, you may remember that former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was once a famous lump of muscle who starred in many terrible action films. Now that studios are looking for more old meatheads to star in more terrible action movies (thanks, The Expendables) and Arnold is out of office, apparently he’s decided to pick up where he left off with The Last Stand.
The sheriff of a small Arizona town and his deputies must stop an escaped drug lord from crossing back into Mexico.
As you might expect, it’s dumb, action packed, and dumb. If that’s what you’re looking for in a movie, congratulations! You just found the movie you should see this week. However, if you’re like me, you want your action movies to be logical, tense, and be populated with interesting characters, none of which describes The Last Stand.
The movie begins with a truly humungous FBI task force failing utterly at hanging on to Mexican drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega). Despite the secret preparations agent John Bannister (Forrest Whittaker) has supposedly taken, two minutes into the operation to transport Cortez to death row, he is liberated by dozens and dozens of flunkies in an elaborate scheme that would be more believable if Cortez was Cobra Commander instead of a drug lord.
Kinda makes you wonder how Bannister caught him in the first place.
Operating on action movie logic, Cortez reasons that the best way to get back to Mexico is to steal a one of a kind Corvette and run over every traffic cop in two states who missed lesson one of traffic school: don’t stand in front of speeding cars hoping to stop them with your body. Cortez is, of course, quickly located so that the FBI support staff can give each other advertising blurbs on how awesome the Corvette is.
This movie brought to you by the number money and the letter Chevrolet!
So what does this have to do with Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) of Ass-End-of-Nowhere, Arizona? Nothing. At least not until he discovers some goons are building a bridge over the gorge separating their town to Mexico and puts it together with Bannister’s manhunt. Unfortunately for Ray’s town, Bannister is too much of an idiot to send help when Ray CALLS UP AND ASKS FOR IT.
BANNISTER: For the sake of the plot I’m going to pretend you’re a big fat liar.
RAY: Also for the sake of the plot, I’m going to ask all my friends to line up in the streets like sandbags.
Ray enlists his bumbling deputies (Luis Guzman, Sarah Torrance, and Zach Gilford) and some people who happened to be walking past the police station at the time (Johnny Knoxville, Rodrigo Santoro) and together they blockade the town themselves.
As my friend Angella says: “I never thought I’d be able to say this, but: ‘Luis Guzman to the rescue’!”
This movie smacks of being written by people who had no clue about anything. They had no clue that convoluted criminal plans invariably end in capture. They had no clue how things like cars, gravity, explosions, bullet wounds, or night vision goggles work. And they sure as hell had no clue that FBI agents are not dopey morons who scream at their staffs like overworked mothers on the day their kids finger painted all over the walls.
See this right here? This is where I’m gonna pop a cap in your ass if you don’t do all my work for me.
If the plot is bad, the dialogue is worse. The Last Stand contains such unintentionally comic gems as a moronic FBI agent rhetorically asking “Do I look like an idiot to you?” (answer: yes), a pep talk featuring the words “I’ve seen enough blood and death. I know what’s coming.” (how inspiring) and a climactic showdown where the hero demands that the villain “put these on or I will,” implying that if the Cortez chooses not to cuff himself, Arnold with happily lock his own hands together.
By the same token, if you don’t stop moving I will be forced to ‘freeze’ and ‘get down on the ground.’
Sometimes bad writing can be made up for by good acting, but there’s none of that either. It’s loaded with absolutely appalling fake accents and shallow stock characters. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the casting people had actually read the script, but as it is we’ve got a homegrown Arizona sheriff played by an Austrian, a Mexican drug lord played by a Spaniard, and an American Iraq war veteran played by a Brazilian with a spotty fake Southern accent.
FRANK: Howdy darlin’!
JAIMIE: This is an action movie. You really don’t need to talk.
This movie could not be over soon enough for me. Unfortunately, I had to sit through 107 minutes of destructive silliness which included drug runners somehow getting hold of a rocket launcher and Johnny Knoxville wielding a Vickers gun in his pajamas, before I could leave.
Hurry up, we must destroy the houses of everyone in town before
they return from their conveniently scheduled vacation!
Obviously I’m not going to recommend this movie to you. The Last Stand is moronic. But apparently there are lots of morons out there because the last time I checked, The Last Stand had a 7.6 out of 10 rating on IMDB, which is better than the far superior films R.E.D., Iron Man 2, Top Gun, and X-Men, so what do I know?