Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Video review: "The Last Stand"
My favorite part of “The Last Stand” is the very end. After over-the-hill sheriff Ray Owens has fought off a small horde of Mexican gangsters invading his dusty border town, he rests on the sidewalk, bloodied and beat. He struggles to get to his feet, and a younger man offers a hand. Ray glares at that outstretched hand, peeved that it is seen as necessary. Then he gives up and accepts the help.
At 65, Arnold Schwarzenegger no longer resembles a superhero, just a tough old-timer with a few tricks left. After giving up superstardom for politics, Arnie attempted a comeback with this throwback action thriller. Audiences stayed away, perhaps because of recent revelations about his personal life.
Judged solely on its merits, “The Last Stand” is an effective if unoriginal action flick. It takes a while to get rolling, but after the 45-minute mark it’s an enjoyable orgy of gunfire and explosions.
The set-up is that a Mexican drug cartel kingpin (Eduardo Noriega) has escaped from federal custody and is zooming toward the border in a super-charged Corvette prototype. With the help of an elaborately planned escape, he’s gotten away clean, and only Sheriff Owens and a small passel of misfit deputies stands between him and freedom.
Johnny Knoxville is a hoot as a local gun-loving coot, while Luis Guzman is Ray’s overly cautious right-hand man. Rodrigo is the very recently deputized town drunk – and ex-Marine – while Jamie Alexander rounds out the cast as the lone, able female cop.
Korean director Jee-woon Kim knows how to stage action scenes so they’re exciting while still remaining grounded in the laws of physics.
And Schwarzenegger has a comfortable, easy grace playing a regular guy who becomes a reluctant hero. The box office receipts may disagree, but the Austrian Oak still has action-star bona fides.
Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions come with a decent amount of goodies. There’s a making-of documentary short and three other featurettes focusing on various aspects of production, plus a handful of deleted and alternate scenes.