The Last Stand


Shrewd ex-politico that he is, Arnold Schwarzenegger has made his comeback movie after a decade-long hiatus a modestly scaled action programmer—more Raw Deal than Terminator—that does exactly what it should: It leaves us wanting more. Still sporting (at age 65) the kind of Charles Atlas brawn not much seen at the movies in the no-carb era, and still able to deliver a catchphrase with deadpan savoir faire, Schwarzenegger here plays an ex-LAPD narcotics cop lying low as the sheriff of a sleepy Arizona border town. When a vicious cartel lord (Eduardo Noriega) escapes from FBI custody and heads for Mexico, only lawman Arnold, his posse of crooked-shooting deputies, and a local gun nut (Johnny Knoxville) stand in his way. A veritable feature-length advertisement for assault weapons and the Second Amendment, The Last Stand marks the Hollywood debut of prolific Korean genre director Kim Jee-woon (The Good, the Bad, the Weird, I Saw the Devil), who seems to have tamped down his florid extravagance for American consumption—particularly during the movie’s dreary, expository first hour. Then Kim finally lets loose, and the imaginatively choreographed mayhem that ensues—culminating in two fast cars chasing each other across a pesky cornfield—can be a wonder to behold. Scott Foundas