24 Frames Reviews: The Last Stand
"Get to the Choppa!"
"It's not a tumor."
"I'll be back."
"Hasta la vista, baby."
"I will destroy California!"
If Arnold Schwarzenegger is known for anything other than bankrupting the state of California, it's for his magnificent delivery of one-liners(that last one was made up by the way).
"The Last Stand" marks Arnie's return to the silver screen and the poster off to the right is a perfect encapsulation of what you can expect if you go to this movie. We aren't talking high art here, but there are plenty of car chases, cartoonish violence, and big guns to keep you company. If that sounds like a movie you would enjoy than I recommend "The Last Stand". It delivers exactly what you what expect it to, nothing less and certainly nothing more.
Arnold is Ray Owens(seriously) an ex-narcotics officer from Los Angeles Cal-e-forn-e-ah, as he says it, who got out of the big city to become the sheriff of a small Arizona border town. I kept waiting for there to be some revelation about Owens past, he seems to have more experience than even a narcotics officer in Los Angeles would, but no, these characters are as flat as cardboard. His staff consists of three local yokels one of which probably could have been Miss America, and another who makes Barney Fife look like a Navy Seal. The first 15 minutes explores every small town cliche ever committed to film. Everyone in Sommerton knows everyone else, there is a diner where everyone eats breakfast, and most of the towns people leave in the opening scene following the high school football team to state. The small town life of Sommerton and Sheriff Owens is juxtaposed against an FBI operation in Las Vegas in which they have to transport THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN THE WORLD, of course they do. This operation is headed by Agent John Bannister played by Forrest Whitaker in a role he tries to give levity to but that the script just won't allow. The FBI lose their man in a spectacular heist scene, and he hijacks a souped up Corvette and heads to Mexico. The FBI consult their google map to find that the least likeliest place for him to go is Sommerton, so of course we know as an audience that the last stand will be there. There is no logic in this film, a helicopter chases him through the night, but disappears in the day, maybe it was a vampire. There are more accents than you can shake a stick, "The Last Stand" is an equal opportunity death trap. Roadblocks are built and then destroyed by henchmen, and the local law enforcement team in Sommerton encounters a group of nasty out-of-towners building a bridge over a ravine so that THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN THE WORLD can drive his Chevy Corvette to freedom. Everyone drives Chevys, just so you know.
The action is packed, the violence is slambang, the adrenaline is fueled, and every trope is on display. Think of your favorite restaurant, and your favorite meal at that restaurant. You go in, you sit down you get your favorite waiter and order your favorite meal. Everything is exactly as you expect, you don't go home and call your friend to tell him how great the meal was, the next day you hardly remember it, it was exactly as it was supposed to be and you are satisfied, such is "The Last Stand".
In the finale of the film when the locals rally to fight of the evil bad guys Arnold is chased by gunfire and thrown through the front of the local diner. As the folks inside cower, one of them leans over and asks;
"Sheriff Owens, how do you feel?"
To which Arnold replies,
Yes! Even if Arnold feels it, I'm glad this act never does.