“The Last Stand” is a dumb action movie through and through, and as long as the viewer accepts that going in, they should enjoy it.
The plot is pretty straight forward: The leader of a drug cartel, played by Eduardo Noriega, escapes police custody and flees towards the U.S.-Mexico border. Several attempts to catch him fail, and the only thing standing between him and freedom is the sheriff of a sleepy border town, played by legendary action hero and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s formulaic and clichéd, but it’s entertaining.
The quality of acting isn’t very important in this kind of movie, but the performances given by the cast, including Schwarzenegger, are good enough for this genre.
The film’s action scenes are plentiful and entertaining, with plenty of explosions and shoot outs, and its digital and practical special effect shots are combined much better than many of the other recent action movies I’ve seen.
The film also does a good job with its comedic elements.
Schwarzenegger delivers some great cheesy one-liners, and the other cast members chip in their fair share as well. It has some cringe-worthy moments, but as a whole, the film succeeded in making me chuckle more than it failed.
The only real problem with “The Last Stand” is its flabby storytelling.
It’s trying to tell two separate, but related stories, each with its own hero and villain.
One story is based around Schwarzenegger’s character, in which he spends most of his time fighting the druglord’s henchman, played by Peter Stormare, and is what the movie’s trailer and marketing focused on.
The other is the less important one about an FBI agent, played by Forest Whitaker, trying to catch Noriega.
Whitaker’s plot and many of the scenes involving Noriega’s escape feel unnecessary and draw away from what should be the film’s focus—Schwarzenegger and his bumbling team of deputies and their conflict.
Schwarzenegger is the intended star of the film, but because the film is trying to clumsily combine two stories into one movie, we end up with him fighting both major villains; neither of which gets enough screen-time to make their separate inevitable showdowns with our hero as satisfying as if there had only been one major antagonist.
This isn’t to say “The Last Stand” isn’t enjoyable, it just could have been better if the story had been more focused.
This isn’t Schwarzenegger’s best work, but considering he’s 65 years old and hasn’t starred in a movie since 2003, it’s a solid effort and definitely worth seeing for any of his fans.