Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Peter Stormare (The Big Lebowski), Luis Guzman (Boogie Nights), Jamie Alexander (Thor), Johnny Knoxville (Jackass)
Director: Kim Jee-woon (The Good, the Bad, the Weird)
Writer: Andrew Knauer
Runtime: 1 hour 47 minutes
Release Date: 18 January (US), 24 January (UK)
The legendary king of action has returned to his roots for his first leading man role in 10 years. Can an old dog still learn new tricks, or should Arnold have never said, “I’ll be back”?
Let me get this out of the way quickly: this movie is f***ing stupid. Ridiculously so. But that by no means it is bad. This is classic dumb fun, and no amount of nitpicking can stop it from being so. Sure, there are plot holes abound and moments where the laws of physics takes a nap, but the film’s complete lax attitude towards common sense means it never bothered me. The dialogue, however, is another story. Action movies like this are rarely the work of Shakespeare, but the exposition dumping here is colossally clunky and never feels natural. On the other side of it, the film lacks good one-liners; for an Arnold movie, that’s majorly disappointing. The film is also quite slow at the start, but sitting through it is worth it to get to the last half hour, which is an action extravaganza that will constantly leave you in both shock and laughter.
I hate to say it, but it’s true: Arnold Schwarzenegger has never been a good actor. I love the guy, faults and all, but age and experience hasn’t exactly done much to improve his acting ability. Regardless, it’s great to see him back. The rest of the cast are capable, but none of them truly shine that bright. Whitaker often looks like he’s going through the motions, whilst Stormare gives the usual strange performance he gives in 95% of his movies. Guzman and Knoxville often lighten up the film during its duller moments, but the film really needs much more Arnold that it has.
When The Last Stand gets into action mode, it goes straight for the highest gear. The stuff on display here doesn’t exactly break the mould like The Raid, but it is still crazy and bombastic enough to entertain thoroughly. The cinematography really livens up the action, though it is still occasionally too close for comfort. That combined with some choppy editing can sometimes ruin the flow of the carnage, and that’s disappointing. When will action filmmakers take a hint and film action from a distance? For every film like Skyfall or Jack Reacher that does it right, we get a dozen movies edited in this nausea-enducing fashion. Despite this, the film delivers on what it promises.
The Last Stand is loud, idiotic, violent trash…and bloody great fun! I went in not asking for anything thought provoking and came out with a smirk on my face. Arnold is back on screen and, though maybe not in the best shape or in the best film, I couldn’t be happier.
FINAL VERDICT: 7/10