So here it is, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s long awaited return to action man status… but is it any good? Well, in short, yes it is. After a brief cameo in the disappointing The Expendables 2 it’s genuinely good to see Arnie back in a leading role. Thankfully The Last Stand keeps the tone fairly light and does not take itself too seriously.
He may be a legend, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that Schwarzenegger is a 65 year old man who does not have the build he once had. That’s not to say he doesn’t bring it to the screen this time round, he absolutely does, just a little less than his fans may be used to. Jokes are made about his age and, due to his character being an ageing sheriff, they are funny throughout and used sparingly. Whilst the one-liners on display aren’t up there with the best of them, fans will not be disappointed.
What shouldn’t be forgotten is the other first that The Last Stand brings with it; it marks the English debut of South Korean director Jee-woon Kim (The Good,the Bad, the Weird). His trademark frenetic visual style is the other star of the film. The set pieces looks absolutely fantastic, the car chases and the fight scenes have a sense of flare that is so often missing from the Hollywood action output of recent times.
It’s not flawless though, the bad guys aren’t the strongest. Peter Stormare is entertaining enough as the lead henchman but he has put in better work elsewhere in similar roles. Coming fresh out of last year where we were treated to the delights of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), the cardboard cut out cartel boss (played well enough by Eduardo Noriega) just does not seem a good enough match to come up against such a larger than life hero – which is a shame because with a scene chewing villain and a little more face to face screen time with Schwarzenegger this could have been something quite special.
Support comes from a fair few other players, the trailer focused heavily on the relationship between Johnny Knoxville and Schwarzenegger but this really isn’t the focus. Whilst he is amusing in certain scenes there a few too many supporting characters to really engage with him or any of the other deputies.
So, whilst it’s not a classic and doesn’t do much that is new, the visuals and sense of humour that this brings with it make a thoroughly watchable and fun film. It’s a fitting return to the big screen for Schwarzenegger and a great calling card to Hollywood for the work of Jee-woon Kim. Genre fans should check this out at once.