At the Movies: The Last Stand

If you’re expecting me to begin this review with some variation on the phrase “He’s back” — go elsewhere. I’m sure there are 3.47 million other reviewers on the Internet doing that gag. I may be lazy, but I’m not that lazy.

After a 10-year diversion in politics (among other things), Arnold Schwarzenegger has returned to leading man glory in the action movie genre that made him a star. “The Last Stand” is an ’80s-throwback extreme action thriller which proves that while Schwarzenegger may be a little older and a little slower, he’s still pretty much unstoppable.

380444_270611209719441_1181288031_nSchwarzenegger stars as Ray Owens, the sheriff of a sleepy little border town. As you might expect, Owens has an impeccable background in big city law enforcement but after years of stress and bloodshed he moved to Sommerton Junction for the quiet life.

Meanwhile up north in Las Vegas, FBI Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) is heading up a prisoner convoy to relocate notorious drug kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) to a more secure location. Cortez has an elaborate escape plan and an army of armed thugs to carry it out.

Soon Cortez is making a run for the border in a specially souped up Corvette. As he barrels down the highway taking out SWAT teams, barricades and police helicopters with ease, it’s clear that the only thing standing between Cortez and freedom will be Sheriff Ray Owens.

“The Last Stand” is unbelievably stupid, terribly cliché and kinda fun. In short, pretty much what you’d expect from an Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie. It’s not one of the great Arnold movies — it’s no “Terminator” or “Total Recall” — it’s more along the lines of a “Commando.” There’s humor, there’s violence, there’s a little bit of heart. Schwarzenegger has been out of the movie spotlight for a while but he’s still a compelling presence on screen.

In the old days this movie would’ve been relegated to summer so it’s nice to see Hollywood expand its horizons. Sometimes you need a dumb, explosive popcorn movie in the dead of winter. And if that’s what you’re looking for, “The Last Stand” delivers.

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