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Movie review: The Last Stand

A few inventive scenes and moments of Schwarzenegger magic make The Last Stand a passible action flick

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate and Merrick Morton

January 19, 2013 | 12:00 p.m. CST

Enter the world of The Last Stand, a magical place where law enforcement is as effective as rookie stormtroopers, villains drive sci-fi-inspired sports cars, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is a surgeon with a shotgun. A decade since the former governor stepped off the set of his last starring role, Schwarzenegger returns (there will be no “I’ll be back” references in this review) as Sheriff Ray Owens of Sommerton Junction, Ariz., a small sleepy town nestled along the Mexico-United States border.

After a long, bloody stint as a narcotics specialist with the LAPD, Owens retreats to a more carefree town, but when a notorious drug cartel escapes the feds and races for the Mexican border, Owens is forced out of early retirement.

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The population of Sommerton Junction is about the same as this film’s I.Q., which is definitely in the double digits. However, The Last Stand doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. From the opening scenes to the closing credits, this film is a formulaic action flick, steeped in horrible dialogue, off-the-mark humor and dazzling action sequences. From Owens first introduction as the friendly, talkative sheriff, the audience immediately notices something is amiss with the dialogue. Even the actors on screen seem to fight the urge to look quizzically off camera and asking what’s going on. Perhaps just a symptom of poor dialogue, the film’s attempt at humor almost always seemed forced and amateur.

But The Last Stand isn’t without its moments. Director Jee-woon Kim provides excellent pacing through action sequences and delivers one of the more creative car chases in cinema. As for the Austian Oak, his return is a welcomed one. Yeah, he’s old, and some delivered lines are little muddled, but there are moments of real, genuine acting. Although The Last Stand won’t be considered Schwarzenegger’s finest film, it’s far from his worst. After all, Hercules in New York is pretty hard to forget.

Vox Rating: V V V

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