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This is it Arnold Fans our long wait is finally over. Our favorite
action hero is BACK! But after being out of the spotlight in a leading
role for over a decade, (as fun as Expendables 2 was, it doesn't count)
is Arnold really returning to the silver screen with the same flair for
action and entertainment that he used to? Read on to find out!
Schwarzenegger plays Ray Owens, a former LAPD Narcotics Agent who left the big city excitement after a bad incident to become the sheriff of the sleepy New Mexico border town of Summerton Junction. Summerton is a town where nothing exciting happens, except for the occasional drunk and disorderly, or petty theft arrest, but this sleepy town is about to get a rude awakening. A notorious drug lord Gabriel Cortez, portrayed by Eduardo Noriega, escapes from FBI custody and starts making his way towards the Mexican border at 250 mph in a stolen, custom Corvette ZR1. Its faster then any chopper. Cortez also has an FBI agent hostage in tow as he dodges police barricades and evades helicopters, usually with very bloody aftermath.
The FBI task force leader Agent Bannister, played by Forest Whitaker, thinks it's a slim chance that Cortez will pass through Summerton, but Arnold's character knows something isn't right. Immediately suspicious of some visitors (one being played by the amazing Peter Stormare), the Sheriff knows they clearly don't belong there.
In his recent autobiography, our favorite action hero describes his part in Last Stand as "a great, great role." "The sheriff knows if he succeeds," he writes, "it will mean everything to the town. His reputation is on the line. Is he really over the hill or can he do it?"
With 'Last Stand,' Arnold has his own reputation to re-solidify as leading man. Again, the Megastar and Governor of California hasn't anchored a movie since 2003′s 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines', and at 65, some worried that he's past his prime as an action hero. Is Arnold over the hill or can he still do it?
From this Arnold fans perspective, the answer is, "Hell Yes!" The action looks great; the acting gets better and better as the film runs, and there are a few gruesome kills that will make any gore fan happy!
The screenplay by Andrew Knauer doesn't give Arnold as many of his signature one- liners. Many of them, such as "How are you, Sheriff?" to which he replies "Old!", was already given away in the trailer. But don't worry, there are a few more hidden gems.
Arnold and his team, who consist of the moody veteran played by Luis Guzman, the rookie cop played by Zach Gilford, the beautiful but skilled deputy played by Jaimie Alexander, her screw-up ex boyfriend (who is stuck in the towns single jail cell) played by Rodrigo Santoro, and of course, the crazy, eccentric goof-ball, who happens to own a small museum of artillery, played by Johnny Knoxville, ban together to become the 'Last Stand' between Cortez and freedom.
The shootouts are all high tension, and there is plenty of high octane car chases for you Fast and Furious fans, plus there are some amazing visuals as well. Kim Ji-Woons entry into US theaters keeps his edgy style engraved within the heart of the picture, and is just as much fun as 'The Good, The Bad, and the Weird', yet still manages to capture traditional Hollywood flair.
There is one thing about this picture that I want to warn you about, it takes a little while to really get going. It's a large cast, so each one needs a bit of an introduction and story to make you care, so I understand. But the great juicy Arnold action starts little more then half way in. And at times, I felt myself wishing there was just a LITTLE more Arnold. But all in all it's not a huge deal. Our Hero still steals the show here, as he should.
Overall, I really liked this film. I cheered, I winced, I threw popcorn in excitement! Is it as good as, say... Terminator? Of course not, but it's on par with, if not better then, the likes of Eraser or Collateral Damage! And I really liked Eraser.
Arnold is Back! With this being his first entry into cinemas in a long while, and it turning out so well, I'm now very excited for his next pictures 'The Tomb', 'TEN', and of course 'Legend of Conan'! Get your ass to the Theaters!
8 out of 10 stogies