The Last Stand, directed by Jee-woon Kim, is a good shoot em’ up but has moments where it drags its feet.
The plot is straight-forward. Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), a notorious drug lord and former South American race car driver, escapes from FBI custody and makes a run for the Mexico-U.S. border in a Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1. The director seems to love this sports car because no expense was spared to show off the 200 mph Corvette speeding through Nevada and Arizona.
When the FBI fails to recapture Cortez, it’s up to former LAPD narcotics task force member and sheriff Ray Owen (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his fellow officers to make one final stand against Cortez and his heavily armed gang heading for Sommerton Junction. The first half of the film establishes the characters but some of the inconsistencies leave me scratching my head in confusion.
One example is the hostage subplot involving Cortez and Agent Ellen Richards (Genesis Rodriguez). The first half of the movie establishes her as a hostage, and the second half establishes her as a double agent without leaving any mystery of what side she is on. It would have been better if the hostage subplot was dropped and the movie just focused on establishing Cortez as a character rather than just presenting him as a two dimensional antagonist with a simple goal.
The action scenes are intense and well put together. The heroic one-liners Schwarzenegger is best known for were present. His dialogue is balanced with his actions. By far my favorite character, other than Schwarzenegger’s Owen, has to Deputy Mike Figuerola (Luis Guzmán) for his hysterical and likeable personality.
The movie really gets going in the second half. One notable action sequence in this film has to be the stand-off between Burrell (Peter Stormare) and his gang, who are helping Cortez escape. This sequence is what makes this film great. The amount of action and suspense thrown at the audience doesn’t make the movie feel rushed, predictable or too short.
Overall, The Last Stand will hold any audience member’s attention and leave Schwarzenegger fans happy to see him in a lead role once again on the big screen.
I give it: 3 out of 5 stars
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