When Governor of California and former Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he would be back (pardon the pun) in an acting capacity, I can only imagine a resultant split between audiences. On one side, the Schwarzenegger action fans, those that remember his glory days in Commando, Predator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Big budget action fans, explosions galore, encasing themselves in a cocoon of catchphrases from a pillar of the action film glory days. There is of course the dark underside though, those that realised The Last Stand would not be able to affectionately cling to those days gone by, and would find themselves facing off against the likes of Killing Gunther and this, the Kim Jee-woon directed action flick.
I’ll give him credit though, Schwarzenegger’s ability to continuously churn out action films is rather impressive. He’s not missed a beat, and comes back in resounding force, even if at times it feels like he’s playing a cliché of himself. Bringing to life the role of Sherriff Ray Owens, Schwarzenegger feels more like he’s delegating action set pieces to a resoundingly poor supporting cast than actively engaging with what the film has to offer. Much of the action is delegated to a poorly assembled group of characters that give varyingly limited performances. Luis Guzmán somehow lands himself a disproportionatly large role throughout, which is strange given his inability to act. He shares a handful of scenes with Jaimie Alexander, who also provides little to the proceedings of the film. I’m pretty sure Forest Whitaker is in this film as well, providing a similar role to that of his antics in Taken 3.
The Last Stand leaps away from barely engaging and becomes a film rife with very basic issues. The editing is extremely poor. Scenes are cut far too early at times, other times they linger for far too long or utilise scene transitions on a similar tier to the introductory effects on Microsoft PowerPoint. Swooshes, cuts and loitering shots are thrown in without a care in the world. Jee-woon’s direction doesn’t help much either, and his attempt at sewing together a competent action film fall extremely short of anything engaging. At the best of times, the action is revoltingly boring, with no real jolt of excitement or energy on display from a cast which includes the likes of Johnny Knoxville, who seems to be clutching onto his Jackass stunts by climbing lampposts and wearing kooky costumes.
Incoherent at the best of times, boring at the worst of times, The Last Stand heralded Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the world of action blockbusters with a flimsy narrative and the horrendous modern conventions of the genre. A comeback vehicle for Schwarzennegger that doesn’t utilise him in one feasibly interesting way, while at the same time trying to call back to the glory days of his Total Recall years, The Last Stand is offensively boring, one note filler that even the most hardened of action fans will struggle to plough through.