Arnold Schwarzenegger is back — officially. The veteran action star returns in his first starring role with Jee-woon Kim’s The Last Stand. Like most January releases, one would consider this another throwaway movie devoid of any entertainment. Thankfully, The Last Stand is good old-fashioned cheesy fun.

The Players

The Plot:

Sheriff Owens (Schwarzenegger) watches over the quiet town of Summerton Junction and has settled into early retirement. When a drug kingpin (Noriega) escapes FBI custody (with a hostage), his goal is to run for the border. To get to Mexico he has to go through Summerton and Sheriff Owens. With a small staff at his disposal, Owens and company prepare to keep the kingpin from crossing at all costs.

The Good:

  • Arnold in True Form: If you’re an action fan, you have to have some love for Schwarzenegger. He was one of the biggest stars of the ’80s. In this film, he proves that he’s still got it — despite his age. He’s the same Arnold we all knew and loved, walking around with plenty of weapons, spouting cheesy one-liners as he puts bullets into the nearest bad guy. Bless you Jee-woon Kim for letting us have this version of Arnold back in movies again.
  • From Point A to Point B: The story is pretty simple. We’re not bogged down with complex backstories. All we’ve got are our heroes, the bad guy and a scheme that’ll connect them in a way that guarantees bullets will fly.
  • Our Ensemble Cast: We shouldn’t put all our focus on Mr. Schwarzenegger. The rest of the cast was just as great, especially Forest Whittaker. He hams it up playing the eternally pissed off but slightly dimwitted FBI agent who struggles to get his hands on the drug lord. Also, there’s Knoxville being a ball of energy, Jaimie Alexander being a gorgeous badass and the goofy but wonderful Luis Guzmán. We want to see them all team up again. They each got their moment to shine in the film and it works.
  • Don’t Worry, Jee-Woon Kim’s Got This: If you’ve seen the director’s previous work (The Good, the Bad, the Weird) then you understand he can make a solid action-comedy. When he was signed to direct The Last Stand, audiences were in for a romping good time. The camera is weaving in and out of gunfire. We had a great time seeing the big fight transpire in front of us. He was an excellent choice.

The Decent:

  • Engine’s Not Starting Up Right Away: Did someone forget to tell the screenwriter that the movie should begin right away? We aren’t introduced to the villain or the main dilemma until a good 20 or so minutes in. Once it starts, it’s fantastic, but prior to you’re scratching your head wondering when it’s going to start.
  • What Time Is It?: Another flaw in the script was the time frame. At one point an FBI agent said it would take the villain an hour to drive over to the border. Three hours later in their world, the villain barely arrived. Inconsistency in a script is really bothersome and more so easy to fix. We don’t get how you can forget to tweak lines like that.

Overall:

While The Last Stand isn’t an action masterpiece, it still gets the job done. We’re greeted with blood, bullets and Schwarzenegger doing what he does best.

The Rating:  7/10

The Last Stand opens in theaters January 18.

Photo Gallery:

Trailer:

Will you be seeing The Last Stand this weekend?