HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Last Stand
HTS Overall Score:82
After almost a decade of public service the legend has finally returned in his first full length feature film. Arnold has appeared in a couple of cameo’s over the last couple years, most notably in “The Expendables” series and a handful of others, but nothing more than a few minute cameo or two. Now that he’s out of office, Arnold has decided to step into the acting ring once more. “The Last Stand” debuts Arnold in his post “workout” phase. The last time Arnold starred in a movie his biceps were still bigger than my waist. Now it’s obvious that 8 years of political office and lack of constant exercise has left our beloved icon in a less than paragon state. However, that still hasn’t dulled his trademark one liners and loveable personality one bit. Firing on all Cylinders Arnold does a fantastic job of carrying this film over a few leaps and hurdles that mar an otherwise decent film.
Ray Owens (Arnold) is an aging sheriff in the sleepy town of Sommerton Junction near the U.S. /Mexico border. Unfortunately for him, it’s one of those days where everything just wakes up. A murder of an innocent farmer, combined with some suspicious looking truck drivers and some late night construction out in the Desert sends his spidey senses tingling. Unbeknownst to him, a psychotic drug cartel leader named Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), has broken out of FBI custody and is making a run for the border in a stolen super car and Summerton Junction is right in his way.
FBI agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) warns Sheriff Owens that Cortez MIGHT be heading his way and to let “the professionals” handle the situation. As you can already guess, this does not go over well with Sheriff Owens who can’t sit idly by and watch innocent people get hurt with this maniac on the loose. Deputizing a few more well-armed citizens the Sheriff sets up a full blockade and hunkers down for the long hall.
Arnold has never been known for making subtle action movies. Anything that he’s in inevitably is over the top, a bit dumb and chock full of one liners that make you groan and laugh out loud at the same time. Usually following a very simple storyline with minimal characters; and that pretty much has worked for Arnold over the last 40 years. The problem I noticed with “The Last Stand” wasn’t a lack of any of the staples, but rather an inclusion of MORE facets. The film just got a little too busy for its own good. More heroes than were needed are added to the cast, most likely to give some younger characters to the audience since Arnold isn’t exactly 35 anymore, and more villains and villain bosses thrown into the mix. The film flitted from one character to the next and seemed to want to try and give equal screen time to all, so as a result the film felt a bit jumbled and never fully fleshed out. Personally I think if they had trimmed out the cast a bit more and left the other characters as just side characters it would have settled the movie down and given it a bit more focus.
The main villain, unfortunately, just wasn’t very interesting. I liked the idea of a drug lord on a rampage to the border, but for some reason he wasn’t charismatic or interesting enough to really draw the audience in. The TRUE villain here was Peter Stomare, playing a para-military commander who’s tasked with subduing the town of Summerton and securing an escape route before Cortez got there. It was absolutely HILARIOUS to hear Peter Stormare attempt a Texas accent all the while doing what he does best and just chewing up the scenery and scene stealing every chance he got.
Arnold himself has always impressed me with his ability to just laugh at himself and go with the flow. Even here as he’s aging he makes no bones about the fact that he’s no longer the physical powerhouse that he once was and really goes with the flow, cracking jokes about his own age and teasing the rest of the cast about theirs. Again, this was not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, it had all the pieces for a great movie, but some of the over casting and, in Forest Whitaker’s case, miscasting dragged it down to just a fun romp rather than another epic Arnold cheese fest. The action was fantastic, the fight scenes were a blast and who doesn’t love a super powered bat mobile fight scene at 150 miles an hour. Definitely still recommended viewing for anyone who is an Arnold fan, or just a fan of the big, dumb action movie genre in general.
Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11694[/img]Lionsgate gives us another fantastic 2.35:1 AVC video encode for us to enjoy today. Colors are absolutely fantastic. Given a rather yellowish hue it still has enough pop in all the other shades. Bright greens and blues are most prominent, along with a huge variety of yellows and reds. Detail is exceptional, the only thing I noticed was that there was some digital smoothing done to Arnold’s face (most likely to cover up some of his aging signs) so there was some inherent softness to the picture as a result. Contrast was fairly balanced (although the bright yellow hue looked a little boosted at times) and facial tones looked very very good. Black levels were absolutely sublime. Deep deep, inky blacks shine in the movie, allowing copious amounts of detail to be shown even in the pitch black. I was impressed that there was virtually no black crush in any of the dark scenes to my eye. Compression was not a problem being that the movie was only 1:45 minutes long and on a BD-50 with minimal extras, so I didn’t notice any color banding, macroblocking or other compression related artifacts.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11697[/img]Now THIS is what I call an action movie audio track! The 7.1 DTS-HD MA hits you in the chest from the first few minutes and doesn’t stop pounding away till the credits stop rolling. Calling it bombastic would be an understatement. Filled with gut wrenching LFE all throughout and with some stunning use of surrounds this is a superb audio track from beginning to end. Dialogue is very well balanced and locked in the center channel as it should be. Dynamic range is very wide, without feeling like the rest of the effects are drowning out the dialogue. Gunshots sound like they are sonic attacks and shotgun blasts make you feel like your eardrums are going to rupture. The surrounds are used often and with much aplomb, whether it be the sound of footsteps scrabbling through the gravel streets, or whistling of bullets going past your ears. Each sound is impeccably replicated and presented.
• Not In My Town : Making "The Last Stand"
• Cornfield Chaos
• The Dinkum Firearm and Historic Weaponry Museum Tour
• Actor-Cam Anarchy
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
“The Last Stand” is a flawed action movie that unfortunately struggles to stand at some points, however it is still a wild ride from beginning to end. Arnold back in the saddle is never a bad thing, it just seems that this film had a little too much going on at once and as a result had some trouble staying on its feet. Still I had a blast watching it and liked it even more the second and third time I watched the film. Add the fact that this is a demo disc both visually and sonically and I see no reason for fans of Arnold or the genre in general to not pick this up.
Starring: Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare
Directed by: Jee-Woon Kim
Written by: Andrew Knauer
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1
Studio: Sony Pictures
Runtime: 107 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: May 21st, 2013
Buy The Last Stand Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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