No, he doesn’t demonstrate a lot of “Terminator”-style moves.
But, hey, he doesn’t have to. Arnold Schwarzenegger, now in his mid-60s, just needs to tote some weapons, seek revenge and utter a few one-liners, which is exactly what he does in “The Last Stand.”
This is his first starring role in a decade, and it’s good to see him back on the big screen.
This is simply a popcorn movie. It’s not a cerebral challenge, and it never pretends to be. It’s about a group of townspeople, led by Schwarzenegger, trying to get the better of a monstrous criminal mastermind. He even utters the line “I’ll be right back,” which could be taken in the literal sense as dialogue from his character, or, in a more meaningful way, a comment on his career that was interrupted while he served as governor of California. He has several movies in production or scheduled to be in production during the upcoming months.
Schwarzenegger plays Ray Owens, who is the sheriff of Sommerton, a little burg on the border of Arizona and Mexico. Ray was once a Los Angeles police officer. He has been living in the village in a kind of semi-retirement.
Nearly everyone else in town is off to support the local sports team in a big game. Ray expects peace and quiet on his day off. But Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) ruins his plans when Cortez escapes from custody and heads toward the border, where his partner Burrell (Peter Stormare) is waiting for him.
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When Ray realizes that something is up, he gathers a ragtag bunch of deputies, including Johnny Knoxville, playings the proprietor of a phony weapons museum. Stormare plays his usual psychopathic character, who immediately dispatches a local farmer (Harry Dean Stanton) who doesn’t succumb to his fake “just folks” approach.
Yes, this is a violent movie that deserves its R rating. (It’s high on body count and notably devoid of sex, as many action movies are.) It also has numerous comedic moments, many of which are served up by Knoxville while others are provided by Schwarzenegger, who comments throughout the movie on getting older. The plot is ridiculous, but it’s enjoyable if you consider it more of an adult cartoon than a drama.
Schwarzenegger’s fans will like seeing him back on the big screen. And you can be sure that this comeback does not represent the actor’s last stand as an action hero.
P.S. Attention car aficionados — particularly Chevy fans! It would be unfair not to mention two of this movie’s stars: A Camaro ZL1 and a Corvette ZR1, which go head-to-head in a chase scene.