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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in his first leading role in ten years (I honestly cannot believe it has been that long). The Last Stand was released this weekend in theaters nationwide, and, much to my surprise, it has been bombing at the box office. I would have figured that Schwarzenegger’s return would have at least put this film within the top three. What went wrong? Perhaps that is a question for Zack.
Anyway, in The Last Stand (not to be confused with 2006’s X-Men movie), Schwarzenegger plays a small town sheriff near the Mexican border who discovers a fugitive in a supped-up car is going to cut through his town to flee US authorities. Hijinks ensue.
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: The Last Stand is not game changing movie, and it is not a very good film if you are looking at it with a critical eye. The characters are thinly developed, the story is somewhat formulaic, and Schwarzenegger is, well, Schwarzenegger. However, it is an incredibly fun movie which is full of pure escapism. The Last Stand knows exactly what kind of movie it is and revels in it.
The action in this film is, honestly, top-notch. Director Kim Ji-woon throws so many action set pieces into the movie that it seems to cover every kind of action genre. From intense car chases and shoot outs to fist-fights and stealth bits, The Last Stand has it all and the kitchen sink. The interesting thing is that everything is very balanced and integrated well that you do not feel that the movie is bloated in any way.
What I really enjoyed about this movie is that it really has the genuine feeling of a Clint Eastwood western (only set in 2013). Many films try to pull the “modern-day western” and many fail horribly. This is mostly because they are trying to emulate the old west while forgetting the year the story takes place in (see: Once Upon a Time in Mexico). The Last Stand, however, fully takes advantage of being in 2013 and having 2013 characters making 2013 decisions). The spirit of those old spaghetti westerns is still there.
I enjoyed the movie and am very happy I saw it. And while it is a nice comeback for Schwarzenegger, it does not reach the height of some of his classic films. Not that it needed to necessarily, but for a guy who was one of the biggest action starts of all time, I was expecting a bit more. I suppose that is just my personal hang-up. See it, but wait for the rental. Skip it in theaters (which it looks like people are doing anyway).