Arnold Scwarzenegger rides again.
“He’s back” with a ton of firepower, mowing down bad guys and tossing out a clever quip or two. But just like the majority of his films of the 80s, if you want to enjoy this, you have to be ready to turn the critical functions of your brain off and just enjoy some cheese.
A wealthy cartel figure escapes custody in Las Vegas and wants to hightail it south over the Mexican border. After escaping, he and his hostage get in a Corvette ZR1 and start speeding south. He’s sent his gang (led by Peter Stormare) ahead to a border town in order to build an assault bridge so he can cross a ravine and get out of the States, but what they don’t know is that the sleepy little town is guarded by Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) and his men.
I’m going to spare you the plot intricacies, because I don’t want anyone to hurt themselves trying to figure out how any of it makes sense. This film is full of things like “So wait, he can get an industrial strength crane and an electromagnet to that roof, but not a helicopter?” and “The FBI agent initially called THE SHERIFF for help, why wouldn’t he believe him now?”. All of the citizens of the one horse town are conveniently off at a football game, the mayor leaves behind a car capable of chasing the Z1, and the one prisoner they have locked up in the town jail (Rodrigo Santoro) is ex-military with a heart of gold… the perfect reserve. You get the idea.
Yeah, as far as I’m concerned this movie intentionally created so many logic gaps and whatnot so that you would tire of counting them and get the message that you’re not supposed to think during this movie. The point of no return came for me when the fleeing fugitive intentionally spun his ‘Vette so that a pursuing SUV would drive up on its hood and flip itself over. All of this at about 100 MPH. At that point, I just surrendered and didn’t ask anymore questions, obviously this was a realm where logic and physics didn’t exist as we knew them.
But what this film does offer is a star we all love, back in his element, shooting a bunch of shit up. They acknowledge Ahnuld’s advancing age sufficiently, surround him with comic relief in the form of Luis Guzmán and Johnny Knoxville, and give him a couple of worthy fire fights before the final showdown. Forest Whitaker plays the FBI agent in charge of re-apprehending the fugitive, who alternately enlists and rejects the Sheriff’s help. Together they serve up a B movie smorgasbord of characters and clichés that keeps the tone fun and light (which it would need to be to support the shaky, thin script).
It’s good to see Arnold doing what he does though, no matter how old. I actually wish they could give him a really good aging action hero role. This is the type of high concept that would work, but the details would need to be hammered out, not cast aside. As it “Stands” though, “The Last Stand” is enjoyable enough if you’re a fan of The Governator, and willing to suspend your cerebral functions for a couple of hours.