I grew up watching Arnold, and I think it is a great privilege to see him in movies again. You can say he isn't a great actor, but his career success says otherwise. Good on him and I hope to see many more movies in the future!
Reviewed on†February 18th, 2013
Roadshow†presents a film directed by†Jee-woon Kim
Screenplay by†Andrew Knauer and Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Starring:†Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Eduardo Noriega, Luis Guzman, Jaimie Alexander, Zach Gilford, Johnny Knoxville and Rodrigo Santoro
Running Time:†107 minutes
Released:†February 21st, 2013
If this is Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback then his best days are behind him. After ending his political career as Governor of California, this is the Austrian's first solo vehicle in ten years: a colossal fizzer that would leave his most adamant fans impatient by the halfway mark. On its first weekend in the US, the film opened at a miserable ninth place, collecting just six million dollars and never looked like improving. How did this happen to one of the most recognised action heroes in movie history?
Age isn't a factor to me. Schwarzenegger is now sixty-five, which might seem like zimmer frame territory for his work, but there are older stars like Clint Eastwood who are still raking in the dollars. Bluntly, Schwarzenegger hasn't made a great film since the Nineties. The†Terminator†films still rate as the apex of the modern action genre, but the series faded after the second movie. His best films were always boosted by a mixture of humour and technology, and the ability to soften the malice of the violence through one-liners and clever self-parody. However, these are no longer his own idiosyncratic qualities to make him seem unique again.
The high level of gory violence that marked his early films is now frowned upon by studios because it weakens the bankability and the likelihood of roping in younger demographics. Ideologically, Arnold also belongs in a bygone era too. He is a renowned Republican, who once admired Richard Nixon. His films are similarly†ingrained†in archaic, conservative values of one man, separate from government, who can save the world. But this culture of Reaganism is dead now and action films, like†The Dark Knight, have becomes infinitely more sophisticated in blurring the lines between good and evil.
Nonetheless,†The Last Stand†is as conservative a film as Schwarzenegger has ever made. He plays Sheriff Ray Owens, who guards the dusty town of Sommerton in Arizona. He's surrounded by a small ground of deputies, which include: Mike (Luis GuzmŠn), Sarah (Jaimie Alexander) and Jerry (Zach Gilford). They deal with the town's small problems and eccentrics, including Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville), who is a weapons collector and local inmate Frank (Rodrigo Santoro). Ray is also suspicious of a pair of seedy goons that are making their way through the town, one of whom is named Burrell (Peter Stormare).
Meanwhile in L.A., Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) is a dangerous criminal who has escaped custody. Pursued by Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker), Cortez uses a high powered sports car to elude capture and takes a female agent hostage. He plans on crossing the Mexican border via a bridge through Sommerton. Ray and his team have to prepare for a surge by Cortez and his mini army of highly powered thugs, who are looking for a clear exit route.
There are vague strands of a Western here, with Schwarzenegger playing the role of an honest lawman, who wants to protect his town against the more contemporary city folk. But for a long period the film is terribly lethargic, devoid of energy, and its narrative contains no surprises, lacking a unique story hook or concept. Korean director Jee-woon Kim's also makes the fatal flaw of relegating the film's megastar to the backseat. Too much time is spent with Cortez's sports car, a painfully indiscreet vehicle for someone evading the law, and having the side characters dominate the action scenes.
Arnold only becomes involved in the second half but few of the stunts seem to test his ageing joints. His first big action scenes, firing a shotgun from a truck and unloading a Gatling gun from the back of a school bus, both have him sitting stationary. His character is also caught between two conflicting tones. In the first half there are close-ups of Arnold's weathered, stony face, examining his wrinkles and fake tan, as he fires off lines like: "I've seen enough blood and death. I know what's coming."
But late in the film, Kim also tests his hand with slapstick comedy and then fetishising those high powered weapons. It doesn't gel and Kim's choppy visual style leaves the action cold too. The only distinct set pieces are the two climaxes: one in a cornfield with hidden cars and then a clumsily staged and embarrassing showdown on a bridge. This over-edited fistfight combines the worst of†Lethal Weapon†and World Wrestling, on top of a cringing, conservative message about keeping illegal immigrants at bay.
Perhaps with all that gunfire though, Arnold's film didn't fail because it was dated. Instead, maybe his most lead-heavy films, especially this one, are a sad reminder of those real would-be cowboys today, who'd like to look down the scope of their guns and say: "I'm the sheriff."
Have you seen The Good, The Bad, & The Weird? Korean western-homage†action film by the same director but†was much better than TLS in all categories.
Also worth noting that TLS is already in the Top 10 for Biggest Theater Drops†since 1982.
I figured this was gonna be a bomb.† Arnie's star has definately faded.† Ironic that all three of them (Arnold, Sylvester and Bruce) all released big "come-back" films at roughly the same time.† Maybe they should stick to running their Planet Hollywoods and leave the action films to a younger cast.
This comment has been deleted
@Suikogaiden†Willis†stared†in several good and†successful†films last year. the other two yes but Bruce seems to be going fine (die Hard 5 not†included†obviously).
@Suikogaiden stallone and willis are still making awesome movies why the hell should they retire again?
I loved watching his older movies just for the corny one liners. Running Man, Total Recall,†Commando and Predator. But I would have to say True Lies was his last good movie. End of days was ok. But not as bas as "I am Turbo Man"
Actually, what made the Terminator movies so great (the first two at least) were not Arnold.† Any one person could have been a terminator, it didn't have to be him.† What made it so great was fantastic, suspenseful pacing.† Both movies followed the same formula, but there were high stakes involved and great characters in those movies who were hunted by a terminator in both.
Arnold's best movies are the two Terminator movies because they ultimately don't require him to act as anything more than a machine.† He was never a good actor and I would never watch any of his other movies save for those two and Predator, which again did not require him to act.
He is not a good actor and any script writen with him as the main character will not be good because he simply doesn't have the chops to pull it off.† He was an actor based on his looks and his role in Terminator was never one of significance.† He had no true characterization (there was a bit T2, but that's besides the point), he was basically himself when chosen to play the role of a machine.
This raises an important question: why would anyone ever pay money to see a man who can't act, act?† Apparently most people had the same view as me.† Arnold never had "his best days."† His best days were playing a monotonous robot who fired shotguns at people who actually had character arcs.
@NeonNinja†He has great screen presence (or at least had) and that is the reason he became so popular. His face, muscles†and pronounciation are trademarks too. He was lucky enough to star in some excellent action films, but he is a star himself. You say anyone could play his roles. Well, I disagree. Look at how many Arnie-wannabes came after him. The Rock, Vin Deasel, Jason Statham... Who became as famous as Arnie? No-one.
He is not a good actor and any one could have played his roles.† Certainly, he had a presence, but that was why Terminator worked with him.† Not because he could act but because he was this hulking, imposing figure who was involved in the hunting of people with actual character arcs.† That era is behind us though, when Jean Claude Van Damme, Stallone, Lundgren and others were in those types of movies and entertained us.
basically we all can agree that he was not a good actor but was just casted perfectly for his roles.
@NeonNinja†@alien33†I never said he†was a good actor. We agree on this. However, I don't agree that you could put any other actor in his place in Terminator, Conan, Predator, True Lies, Total Recall†and have the same outcome.†I mean†these movies would still be good, but Arnie had a big part in turning them to pure†awesome.
Me and my family had a few laughs (and cringes) watching this one. Lots of dull cheesy lines.
I have to agree with you. Times have change.
"This over-edited fistfight combines the worst of†Lethal Weapon†and World Wrestling, on top of a cringing, conservative message about keeping illegal immigrants at bay."
Enjoyed that for some reason (;