Last Stand is my sixth favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. It is his newest movie that came out last January. I had the privilege of watching this movie in theaters with my friend during college. We were both pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Instead of trying to make the same kind of movies that Arnold Schwarzenegger made when he was younger, they made Arnold Schwarzenegger more of a Rooster Cogburn type of character in this movie with a tough old guy at the reins and a six shooter in his hand.
Last Stand is about a sheriff who used to work in narcotics for Los Angeles but moved to a small town to get away from all the trouble that the big city can bring. However, trouble seems to follow him where ever he goes as an escape criminal speeds towards the border into Mexico to make his escape and the sheriff’s town just happens to be in the way. Now he and his small group of inexperienced deputies need to keep the criminal from escaping. They also need to avenge one of their own fallen deputies, who was killed in a gun fight, which makes catching the criminal more personal.
I thought the plot for this movie was actually really clever. I love how Arnold Schwarzenegger after playing a secret agent or terminator in so many movies has now been minimized to a simple country sheriff. However, he takes his job very seriously as you will soon see. I also like how all of these deputies are used to the small town life, but all of a sudden they have to face a large threat that is coming towards their town. It’s a simple plot, but a good, fun one that allows for lots of humor, character development and Arnold Schwarzenegger type action.
The acting for this movie is not great. Arnold Schwarzenegger as far as I can tell is the only really notable actor in this movie, and he has rarely been known for his great acting abilities. However, even though he might not win an Oscar for this movie, Arnold does bring a depth and wisdom to his character in this movie that he has rarely had before. He is moving on to his final phase for movies, which is playing the wise, older character who gives the other, younger characters advice. I wonder if they will finish with Arnold making a Shootist type movie, which would be awesome, because he certainly seems to be headed that way. His role as sheriff in this movie seems to be very similar to the tough old marshall named Rooster Cogburn John Wayne played as in True Grit. The other actors in this movie are not very well known to be, but I thought they all turned in a fine performance as a younger generation of actors around the more experienced Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The acting is great. It is not really flashy for an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, although they do use a gatling gun. However, I think the great thing about the action in this movie is that it looks so realistic. The action in this movie looks like it could have actually happened this way if some deputies and a sheriff from a small town suddenly had to take on a drug lord and his group of criminals. There is a lot of moving around and shooting at each other, which makes it actually look more like a western gun fight when they have their fight in the town. Plus there is a good fight between Arnold and the crime boss on a bridge when the villain is trying to escape the country. It looks like the way people would actually fight with lots of grappling, some punches, tricks and stabbing with a knife.
This movie is actually one of the more light hearted Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. There is plenty of humor in this movie such as the deputies making rookie mistakes, one of the deputies clobbering himself in the face with a six gun when he shoots it, an elderly woman actually taking down one of the criminals and a crazy guy with his own weapons museum, who is a pretty interesting, memorable character. I love the mood of this movie because it is so turned down from other Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. It is more upbeat, light hearted and simple, which I think works really well.
There is some good suspense in this movie with the criminal speeding towards the small town and having a hostage in his car. I think actually the most suspenseful scene in this movie, though, is when the police first encounter the criminals. They do not know what they are getting themselves into, but they are quickly shot at. One of the deputies is trapped behind a car while her partner has been shot. Then the lights go out, and they are both about to be killed before Arnold Schwarzenegger shows up on the scene to save them. Another suspenseful scene was when the criminals showed up earlier than the police had expected, and a couple of the deputies who were on the scene had to hold them off.
The protagonists are all pretty good and unique. The main character, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is pretty good at his usual role as a tough character. However, he also does a good job playing the tough, wise character who gives the other younger characters guidance, comfort and support. The three deputies are all pretty good. One of the deputies is an eager, young guy who wants to go into Los Angeles, but he quickly learns that going after the big fish might be more dangerous than it seems. The second deputy looks like a Hispanic and probably has the least developed character but has a good, dry sense of humor. The third deputy is an attractive woman who is good with a gun and might be one of my favorite female characters in all of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. She’s pretty cool. There is also a jailbird, who has a relationship with the female deputy, and despite being a trouble maker he is let loose to help the other protagonists bring down the criminals. There is also a crazy guy with a weapons museum, which’s where they get all of their weapons from to fight the villains with. He is a pretty amusing character with his crazy quirkiness.
The villains in this movie are kind of generic. The boss villain is not that memorable. As a matter of fact I think my favorite villain was the lieutenant villain, who is in charge of putting the bridge up for his boss. He actually has a pretty good sense of humor with how dry he is about taking on the police. He certainly had a memorable personality. The boss villain might not have been that developed or unique, kind of flat actually, but he did put up a good final against Arnold Schwarzenegger on the bridge. Despite not being as big as some of Arnold’s enemies in other movies, he manages to beat up Arnold pretty badly before Arnold can take him down. He is also a pretty sweet race car driver, who can speed down the highway at two hundred miles per hour, dodge around police cars and evade a helicopter.
Probably the only memorable music in this movie was the song at the end. I loved the country feel of the song, and it went well with the credits for the more influential people who worked on this movie that got their credits with flashy, drawn pictures.
One other thing I liked about the movie was the location for the movie was great. I loved the contrast between the big city where the criminal had escaped from and the small town that he was headed for and everybody expected him to bust through easily. However, nobody counted on the fact that Arnold would be waiting for him at that small town and reayd to take him on. I also love the simplicity of the small town. It looks like the kind of town you could have a great, western type gun fight in. It kind of reminded me of the small town in Tremors or a spaghetti western.
This movie was a great come back for Arnold Schwarzenegger to have. If his other movies coming up are as good as this one was, then I am eagerly looking forward to seeing those, too. I would rate this movie a good 4/5. Not bad at all…