Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: The Last Stand (2013)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Kim Jee-Woon
Staring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker and Johnny Knoxville
Writer: Andrew Knauer

Staring up at the television, ten year old me is excited because I’m watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. At that stage he’s one of my heroes’ and I hope he never goes away. From a barbarian to Russian cop to super spy to killer-robot-with-a-heart, I’m intrigued with everything he does. Flash forward many years and he will enter into politics, eventually becoming the ‘Governator’. Now a grown adult I find a little part of me is sad because I believed I’d never see him in movies again. So when Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) walked onto screen that little kid inside me got really excited.

The Last Stand is not only Arnolds’ big return to lead roles in film; it is also Kim Jee-Woon’s first American movie. I adored ‘The Good, The Bad and The Weird’ and was hoping that Kim Jee-Woon would bring the same kind of kinetic fun to this movie. What I got was an action movie that had some stylish elements but seemed slightly muted.

The translation from different cultures is a tough one and in some ways Kim Jee-Woon has taken the safe road by making a simple action movie with a star who was once one of the biggest draws in Hollywood. While there are shades of great things, the movie is a little bit of a waste.

Acting wise we have some great people but no one really stands out that much. It was great to see Arnold back and he still has some charisma, but the years that have passed are evident and he isn’t quite the legend he used to be. Still, the man can give a cheesy one liner like no ones’ business. Peter Stormare is great as one of the main villains of the piece, but for the life of me I couldn’t understand what accent he was using. I liked Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzman but the movie needed more of the comedic antics. Forest Whitaker was a complete and utter waste; he does nothing and adds nothing to this film.

Nothing like a shotgun pumping Arnold.
Thankfully where the story and acting let things down, the action pulls things back up again, highlighting what a great director Kim Jee-Woon is. It’s here that the visual style of the director really comes to the fore and while the movie isn’t anything excessively substantial it’s at least entertaining. Maybe if the studio had a bit more faith in the director, maybe if there was a bit more money, something really good could have been created.

Overall this film is entertaining if not amounting to much. The return of Arnold wasn’t as spectacular as it could have been and that’s a little sad for me. Still, if you are after a movie with some well shot action then you should give it a watch. Maybe the return of Arnold will be the cherry on the Action Sunday for you.

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