Arnold’s Back in “The Last Stand”

Nathan Fisher

After the break, I wanted to start off the new year with a bang. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the big screen as the sheriff in “The Last Stand” seemed like a good bet. Unfortunately, the Governator’s comeback flick after a 10-year hiatus did not deliver the pop I had anticipated.

“The Last Stand” is primarily set in the quiet border town of Sommerton, where Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) enjoys a life of peace and quiet after his hectic years of work on the LAPD narcotics squad. The leader of one of the biggest Mexican drug cartels, Gabriel Cortez, escapes from FBI custody, and Sommerton’s sleepy existence is shattered when Cortez and his men try to cross through Sommerton to Mexico. After easily crashing through one FBI blockade after another, the last things standing in Cortez’s path are two small town deputies (Jaimie Alexander and Luis Guzman), a newly deputized eclectic gun aficionado (Johnny Knoxville of “Jackass” fame) and the sheriff. Yup, you can pretty much guess what happens … lots of guns and bullets fired.

Admittedly, Schwarzenegger is not a great orator, but his one-liners like “I’ll be back” in “Terminator” are second-to-none. If you’re an Arnold action fan, you won’t be disappointed because the old guy hasn’t lost his ability to deliver a zinger. However, when the governor tries to emote and conjure up sad memories and mourn his dead friends, the big guy struggles. Forest Whitaker, playing FBI agent John Bannister, who is in charge of capturing Cortez, also struggles with words and seems to talk under his breath or simply be out of breath after the exertion. Surprisingly, Knoxville, playing a crazy gun collector, is one of the highlights of the movie. Knoxville was hysterical, seemed to enjoy shedding his “Jackass” persona and appeared in awe of starring in an action movie next to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Although I had high expectations for Arnold’s first leading role since leaving politics and returning to the big screen, the movie was not great, but also not a bust. The violence was comical and unrealistic and whenever someone was shot, a cloud of misty blood would linger where the now dead body used to be standing. “The Last Stand” is enjoyable as long as you don’t have high expectations and don’t think about what you’re watching. The beginning of the semester is a perfect time for a formula action movie with great car chases and little to analyze. “The Last Stand” is worth seeing just to welcome Arnold back from the land of the suits.