'The Last Stand' (2013) Movie Review

Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand
Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand
Photo: Lionsgate

Click-click BOOM!

Click-click BOOM!

Rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat BOOM! BOOM!

Glass tinkles to the ground, metal groans and the camera settles on the carnage... "Gimme the big gun," says the stereotypical bad guy (Peter Stormare) whose character's name I don't even remember.

Shhhhhhhhwwwwwwhiiiiizzzzzip.... KABLAMMO! A car explodes after taking a hit from a rocket launcher (the second time the same weapon has been used in the exact same way) and as far as the story is concerned, all that has been resolved is the fact a few guns have a little less ammunition and that car is certainly all blowed up real good.

The Last Stand
Grade: D+

The Last Stand"The Last Stand" is a Lionsgate release, directed by Jee-Woon Kim and is rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language. The running time is .

The cast includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peter Stormare, Rodrigo Santoro, Jaimie Alexander, Zach Gilford, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville and Genesis Rodriguez.

This is The Last Stand, a numbing, plodding, will-it-ever-end excuse to put Arnold Schwarzenegger in a film and give nostalgic fans of the aged action star a reason to shell out money they'd be better off saving. The curiosity factor here is director Jee-woon Kim (I Saw the Devil, The Good, the Bad, the Weird) helming his first English-language feature, but the ridiculous, rote nature of it all seems even he was attracted to the idea of directing an "Ah-nuld" film rather than a good film, because this is about is tedious as it gets.

Stop me if you've heard this one before... a convict escapes the clutches of the FBI while being transported and has a team of thugs prepared to help him escape the country. Only trouble is the small town in Arizona he's chosen as the last stop along his escape route is sheriffed by an ex-military man (Schwarzenegger) who has no interest in letting this man escape the long arm of the law. The end result is blood, bullets, a ravaged small town and an "I underestimated you" conclusion.

Inserted into the narrative are the inhabitants of the small town that lend a hand and provide moments of comedic and/or romantic relief. This includes, but is not limited to, Johnny Knoxville playing a wild man, big gun collector -- a character required if we're to bring in some additional artillery to increase the bullets-fired. Jamie Alexander (Thor) plays the girl, Rodrigo Santoro (300) plays the guy and Luis Guzman as the overweight "funny" man.

Schwarzenegger's role is written with his age in mind, but whether you recognize how old he is or not, it still means I'm watching an old man that can hardly move, lumber along as he does his very best to deliver his lines. Schwarzenegger's original appeal was the fact he didn't talk much. He's best known for a line made up of two words and one contraction. As a small town sheriff he simply can't convince us he's anything but Arnold Schwarzenegger in a costume. At least in the Terminator franchise the fact he acted like a robot made sense.

The Last Stand has none of the fun found in old school Arnold films and Arnold looks tired. The plot isn't at all engaging and so all we're left with are the explosions and shots fired. You can be the final judge on the entertainment value, but this is direct-to-video work if I've ever seen it.

Kim has an intriguing eye for action, but the action here is so slow and monotonous there are only so many ways you can film bad guys shooting at good guys as they hide behind cars. And my idea of ramping up to a conclusion isn't to watch two cars race through a cornfield.

I could say more, but what's the use? I think you get the gist and can decide for yourself if this is what you will decide to spend your money on. I can tell you with confidence it's not very good and you'd enjoy it far more if you waited until three months from now and watched it while sitting on your couch with your cell phone and iPad to keep you entertained while the movie plays in the background.


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  • Good Grief

    I hoped this would be the "dumb but fun" film many Rotten Tomatoes reviews had lead me to believe. I'm disappointed to hear you didn't like it, Brad.
    Now I'm wondering whether I should actually go and see it or not as I hoped the action would be solid, at least.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

    I don't fully agree with you Brad but I get your points. Jee-Woon Kim's direction was definitely above and beyond the script given to him and I was having dumb fun so I think this is more of a rental.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

    We're 0 for 3 on this weekends wide releases for ROS reviews. :(

    I think I'd rate my interest as:
    1) Broken City
    2) The Last Stand
    3) Mama

    Amour is expanding this weekend, so I'll probably watch that instead if I only make it to the theatre once.

  • Trent

    Brad, you are the worst film critic in the world. You'd be better off with a blog.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Tough, but fair. Thanks for reading.

      • Andrew

        I don't always agree with your reviews but appreciate your classy response to this guy.

        • Roger

          Yeah that one made me laugh lol Good one Brad.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Will-E/ Will-E

      Now that is some constructive criticism right there.

      • Trent

        Alright, here's the full print: you parade as this top notch critic when really are a massive suckup to the lesser known foreign flicks. You basically are a hipster.

        • Disco Paco

          Take pity, Trent. I just think Brad's #lostthepassion

        • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

          In Brad's defense, I don't think I've seen him ONCE go parading! I would've definitely gone, in the hope that he threw candy out to the audience, cheering on the big float he's on!!!

          Also, he loved Django Unchained, which isn't exactly lesser known or a foreign flick... This is lesser known than that... Same with a lot, actually. He liked The Avengers originally, same with The Dark Knight, and to a lesser extent The Dark Knight Rises... Lots of big ones he liked. Just not this one.

          Get over it.

        • Ben

          What do you mean 'parade as this top notch critic'? Did you dream that or something? Brad is a great reviewer.

          I think you're just annoyed that he didn't like a film you liked. Sour grapes is a bitch.

    • Newbourne

      Umm, this is a blog.

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    This is definitely a dumb but fun movie - I found it much more entertaining than Brad did.

  • Disco Paco

    I was really excited for this given how much I enjoyed I Saw The Devil and The Good The Bad The Weird. I was also excited but ultimately delusional that Arnold might be back and his old self again. Sometimes you've got to leave the past well, in the past.

  • http://www.moviezonemagazine.com Shawn Gordon

    I have to admit Arnold Schwarzenegger's big screen return isn't all that I had hoped. It is a big and dumb, but often just too stupid to be fun. It's really a contemporary western vision of "Rio Bravo" with Arnold as John Wayne and Johnny Knoxville as Walter Brennan. It even has a drunk who is redeemed by becoming one of Arnie's deputy. The cliches are thick enough to cut like butter. There are several laughably bad scenes and what is up with Peter Stormare's accent, it's southern fried American via way of Sweedan.

    Still the direction is good and the action scenes are mostly serviceable. It's good to have Arnie back, but he should have had a better vehicle than this. Little better than any number of direct to Dvd actioners. Although paced and reasonably entertaining for one viewing by Arnie's fans. Besides any film with Harry Dean Stanton in it can't be all bad. C+

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    Sounds awesome. Can't wait.

  • Stephen

    I saw this earlier today and I must admit that I really enjoyed it! It is just a crowd-pleasing fun action movie. I wasn't expecting much but I was really entertained. That's all I can ask for a January release, I suppose. It sure beats the hell out of Gangster Squad! Now that movie was a mess!

  • http://www.allkindworld.com wordpress

    movie super hite

  • http://www.blackcloudbooks.com scott mallory

    This movie was like a giant Pro NRA and Chevy commercial that tried to hide behind some "good immigrant vs. bad immigrant" message.

  • Roger

    Looks like fun. I agree, probably best enjoyed at home though. But I'm sure it's a decent action flick.

  • Thornsy

    I thought it felt like two different movies: A generic action movie on Ahnold's end, and an equally generic but more interested in watching crime thriller on Forest Whitaker's end.