The Old, The New and The Bad-Ass
Having been part of the narcotics squad in Los Angeles, Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) was more than happy to head out to the quiet border town of Sommerton Junction where the most dangerous thing his police force get up to is rescuing cats from trees. But that is all about to change when the whole of the U.S. law enforcement, including Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker), arrive in town as drug baron Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has escaped from an FBI convoy taking him to court and is racing for the border in a modified Corvette ZR1. Less than happy about the big boys landing on his doorstep and having his nose put out of joint because of the disrespect his small town force is shown Owens decides it is going to be up to him to make a stand.
As I watched "The Last Stand" I thought to myself; has Arnie been having chats with Clint whilst he was in power as this feels like a movie which Clint Eastwood might have made with that mix of several things from the ageing lawman to the inept younger cops around him right down to him eventually making a stand. Except what "The Last Stand" also has is a style which with a pimped Corvette ZR1 is flashier almost a bit "Fast & Furious". It is a mix which allows the movie to appeal to split generations; those like me who grew up on the macho action of Arnie during the 80s and 90s but combined with the flashy effect driven action spectacle of the quick edit generation.
In many ways the success of "The Last Stand" lies in Schwarzenegger himself because rather than coming back as the 90 minute action hero after his stint as the Governator he has embraced his age and does a nice job of playing the older lawman who walks about in sandals and is slow to enrage. In fact you could say that with Arnie toning down his performance the comedy side of it is now stronger than ever as instead of pulling faces with every line he allows those around him which include Johnny Knoxville and Luis GuzmĂˇn to provide the humour. Of course we still get what we want from Arnie with big action but as I said it is in a more controlled manner.
But we also have that mix with the modern and the snappiness of the spectacular escape to avoiding capture in the seriously fast Corvette ZR1 to moments of action it will appeal to modern audiences. In fact much of the action is still spectacularly over the top, it is just Arnie isn't the one running around and looking past it doing it. It actually makes "The Last Stand" a very well thought out movie whilst keeping things simple so that you can just sit back and enjoy the humour and action.
What this all boils down to is that "The Last Stand" is a nice action movie combining aspects you expect from Schwarzenegger but also aspects you expect from a modern action movie but done in a way which embraces Schwarzenegger's advancing years which adds something extra to it.