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Ellen Sterling sterling

Movies: The Last Stand

Friday, January 25, 2013

Your approach to The Last Stand may be directly related to the way you view Arnold Schwarzenegger telling us, “I’ll be back.”

Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger, left) is a small town sheriff who, along with his deputies (including Johnny Knoxville) tries to keep a drug kingpin from escaping through is town into Mexico.
Photo: Merrick Morton/Lionsgate

Well, he is back. In the time he was gone from our movie screens he went from Terminator to Governator and, now, to sheriff.

This time, he plays a sheriff in Sommerton Junction, a sleepy town on the US-Mexican border in Arizona. It’s a quiet place, leagues away from Las Vegas, where federal agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) is leading a transport team of elite law enforcement personnel on the transport of vicious criminal Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noreiga) to federal prison. But, of course, the transport is interrupted when an elaborate escapee plot is carried out and the criminal gets away in the fastest Corvette ever made. To escape to Mexico, he’s got to go through Sommerton Junction. And that is where Sheriff Ray Owens will be to capture him.

Oh, about that “Ray Owens” thing: It is never explained why someone name Ray Owens with a very marked Austrian accent is actually named Ray Owens but any logic that might have been used to explain is lost in a barrage of gunfire, in cars going very fast, in blaring sirens and in Arnold’s efforts to get the bad guy and save his townspeople.

The Last Stand is, though set in 2013, an old-fashioned western. It isn’t a great return for a great actor, but it’s not too bad. Schwarzenegger seems to be having a great time The supporting cast — Whitaker, Luis Guzman and, even, Johnny Knoxville — help a lot by carrying a much of the action and getting off some amusing one-liners.

Director Jee-woon Kim shoots some bang-up action sequences that are fun to watch.

At 65, Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t the guy we met in 1969’s Hercules In New York or, even, in the Terminator movies. Now he’s just a good senior citizen with skill trying to save the people and the town he cares about. That ain’t half bad.

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