Ahh-nold Schwarzenegger is getting a bit long in the tooth, despite the resurgence of him and his aged 80’s action movie buddies in the popular Expendables series. His small-town sheriff, Ray, seems to know this as well. Ray goes to the town diner, and practically sighs as he orders breakfast and coffee on his day off. But Ray is always a man of the law, even when the badge is at home. It only takes a couple of shifty looking truckers, hunched whispering in a corner booth, for Ray’s Terminator-eyes to shift from one side to another in full-suspicion mode.
But nothing ever happens in Sommerton Junction, Arizona. Nothing. Which is kind of odd, considering it is on the border with Mexico. But whatever.
In the meantime, Forest Whitaker and his team of FBI agents have just lost their Number One Dangerous Man, Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), a Mexican drug kingpin who is broken out of an armored truck in a spectacular way. Before you know it, Cortez has kidnapped a hot female agent, and a brand-new, space age Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1. You see, it is noted several times exactly what kind of car it is, how fast it goes, and how smooth it is when driving 197 miles an hour with the lights off down a deserted road. As the film continued in this manner, with Cortez racing hundreds of miles toward the border (via, yes, Sommerton Junction), you may as well have put a warning in the corner of the screen: “Professional driver on closed course. Do not try this at home.”
The Last Stand switches from a clunky FBI thriller, with Whitaker and a team of extremely attractive young agents sitting at headquarters with furrowed brows and state-of-the-art walkie-talkies, and a goofy, small-town sheriff’s posse getting read for a carnage-filled last stand on an Old-West empty small-town Main Street. The out-of-their-league group of officers and newly minted deputies includes a couple of ex-football heroes (each on opposites sides of the law) with a love interest in between, a goofy weapons collector (Johnny Knoxville playing Johnny Knoxville), and the bumbling comic relief (Luis Guzmán).
There are a few laughs to be had in this mindless shoot-em-up, and there is a surprisingly entertaining car chase through a corn field. But overall it just isn’t as clever as it pretends to be, and Arnold, maybe because one full-on fistfight with the villain is enough, chooses to engage in many wince-inducing dramatic monologues that show off his weakness as an actor. Ouch.
In the meantime, if you enjoy really, really wet sound effects from extremely graphic, brain-splattering gunshot wounds, well this is the movie for you. As for me, I think I’d probably have more fun dropping rotten, pulpy melons from my balcony to achieve the same effect.