Arnold’s ‘Last Stand’ represents poor start to movie comeback

Arnold Schwarzenegger has returned, but his comeback may be cut short with poor new beginnings. Schwarzenegger’s latest starring role is in the action shoot ’em up “The Last Stand.” This attempted eighties callback tells the story of an experienced sheriff forced to stop the leader of a drug cartel rocketing to the Mexican border.

“The Last Stand,” directed by Jee-woon Kim, a South Korean director, has manufactured a film ripped from the ’80s, but not on par with classics such as “Die Hard” or “The Terminator.” Kim, along with writer Andrew Knauer, tries to inject “The Last Stand” with humor and action, but the movie rejects this experiment. The effect is a disjointed film that can’t seem to find the appropriate tone amidst bloodshed and comedy.

I want to tell you Schwarzenegger is back in top form, but that is a lie. He’s awkward in every scene. The film’s plot is weird enough, because it features an Austrian as an Arizona sheriff, but what is worse is that Schwarzenegger looks as if he’s never interacted with “normal” people before.

All his lines are clichés and layered in townie speak that is so peculiar coming from this Austrian behemoth. A better fit for this film would have been Bruce Willis, who would have been believable.

Is it so wrong to want Schwarzenegger to just once embrace his Austrian heritage? His strong dialect wouldn’t have been so distracting if it weren’t for one thing. Peter Stormare, a Swedish native, attempts a Southwestern dialect.

The dialectical difference between Schwarzenegger and his Arizonian brethren is addressed once with the line, “You make us immigrants look bad.” The biggest contradiction to this line is that the sheriff still has a suspiciously American name, Ray Owens. Arnold’s full name is Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger; that’s a far cry from Ray Owens.

The whole movie is really a big mess, but very well might be an interesting form of American myth where everyone owns a gun and an immigrant does the dirty work. As a critique of America the film works, but I don’t think Kim intended that message so the point is moot.

“The Last Stand” is instead a bloody concoction with a focus on the body count and not telling an engaging story.

Let’s hope Arnold starts bringing his A game, because he’s got seven movies coming down the pike. If he doesn’t it might be a short-lived return for the Governator.

Patrick White

Movie fan Patrick White doesn't spare anyone's feelings when deciding if the latest Hollywood offering is trash or treasure. Catch his reviews on the latest theater and DVD releases in Saturday's paper.

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