Friday (Movie) Review: The Last Stand

Rating: Two and a half stars

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Ray Owens, a former LA cop who is now the sheriff in a small Arizona town. Back in the big city, a drug cartel boss is busted out of federal custody (by hoisting the transit vehicle to the roof of a parking garage, no less). He escapes in a souped-up Corvette and heads for the Mexican border, a female FBI agent as hostage. Since the FBI can’t figure out where he’s headed, it falls to Ray to figure out that the bad guy is headed straight for his town, and he’s not about to have any of that. He grabs his deputies and an oddball gun enthusiast (who just happens to have a mint condition Gatling gun hanging around) and they set up a roadblock in the center of town, where, very conveniently, most of the town has headed out with the local school football team for the big game.

If it all sounds a bit ridiculous, it is. This is not a deep movie. It attempts to portray Ray as a battle-weary city cop, who just wants the peace and quiet of the small town life, but, somehow, it just doesn’t quite gel. Schwarzenegger is older and seems a bit mellower, but he just doesn’t get the tired-of-it-all aspect fully believable. Forrest Whitaker is cast as the lead FBI agent whose main function seems to be to stand around in a room full of fancy equipment and curse every time their fugitive outmaneuvers his pursuers in his fancy car. Oh, and to show up a day late and a dollar short in town, just after Schwarzenegger and crew have dispatched the cartel boss’s hired guns and prevented him from escaping across the border. He also arrests his female agent as an accomplice, something hinted at once fairly late in the movie, and really given no explanation. Money? A relationship with the drug lord? Beats me.

The movie is quite bloody with much carnage involving lots of guns and stuff blowing up. A bit too much, actually. And there are the stretch scenes designed to get a laugh, like the little old lady sitting in her room full of tchochkes and pulling out a shotgun to take out one of the bad guys when he comes through. It was far too obvious. Yes, it was amusing, but in a completely predictable way. The whole movie was essentially predictable and not a far stretch from other things Schwarzenegger has done. Trouble is, most of the other stuff was better. It wasn’t exactly terrible, and if you can get around the blood splattering everywhere, it’s watchable. Just don’t expect brilliance.

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