Sunday, June 30, 2013

Movie Review: “The Last Stand”

  I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.

The Cast

   Arnold Schwarzenegger has become known as one of the premier action movie actors of recent history. I have come to expect a certain performance from him and although age has taken it’s toll and slowed him down a bit, he is savvy enough to take or create roles that compliment the level of entertainment he wants to provide. This is just such a role. Forest Whitaker is an excellent actor that holds himself to the highest standard possible. Although this film isn’t an Oscar endeavor, Whitaker still delivers a serious performance. Peter Stormare is quickly cutting out a niche for himself as an underboss bad guy, and seems more comfortable with each character he plays.

The Plot: 
   Drug Czar Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has escaped federal custody and has a master plan to get himself across the Mexican border and into freedom. With seemingly every angle covered, he plans on driving a specially built Corvette ZR1...equipped with 1000 horsepower and capable of outrunning a helicopter, Cortez is headed right for the small town of Summerton Junction. 

   Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) is comfortable in his small town life. Everyday is routine, but this day is special because it’s his day off. Noticing a suspicious character (Stormare) while having coffee one morning, Owens begins to suspect something is amiss. When an old town farmer is found murdered and Owens gets a call from Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) about an escaped convict that may be headed his way, things begin to come together in a bigger picture.

   What happens next is a testament is resolute dedication to the letter of the law, and one man’s determination to uphold it. Stopping at nothing, Owens and his deputies put everything on the line to make one last stand.

The Verdict: 
   The film starts out with a scene that really doesn’t make any sense, but sets the tone for all that is to follow. I’m sorry, but I can’t see any deputy just sitting in his car when caught in the 197 mph wake of what could only be a car traveling with no lights. Instead, the call goes out to contact the FAA about an errant jet? Silly...but soon to be par for the course.

   The only real believable characters in the film are Agent Bannister and Sherrif Owens. Everyone else seems to be just filling in space with decisions that make no sense in situations that couldn’t be more obvious. One such was the deputies first encounter with the crew of Burrell (Stormare) as they continue to advance on what is obviously a bad situation (considering they were following tire tracks after leaving a murder scene) while ignoring the orders of Owens to not provoke an encounter.

   The story itself was somewhat silly as a drug czar with oodles of millions coming out of every orifice, paying everyone and their brother to effect his escape, but can’t find a better way to do it than by driving a super car hundreds of miles? Not only that, but has so much resources as to have men and equipment at every location needed to break road blocks. Really now, he could have spent a lot less and gotten a lot more done by just having a jet waiting in an open field somewhere.

   This film had every intention of capturing some of the old action movie magic Arnold is known for (and does a little bit) but doesn’t quite fit the mold unless you’re willing to lower your I.Q. considerably. The action is does have is entertaining, but doesn’t hit more than a few foul balls in search of that home run. I will say the fight scene at the end is much better than I thought I’d see from the 60 year old Schwarzenegger. Perhaps it’s my nostalgia from Arnold’s glory days, but this film could only stand 2.5 cinnamon sticks, out of 5, in my cup of tea.

Rating: 2.5/5

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