The Last Stand (3 stars)

The Last Stand

Schwarzenegger's comeback vehicle is a genuine guilty pleasure

Arnold Schwarzenegger rolls back the years and rolls off the one-liners for his return to leading man status in The Last Stand. A throwback to his own violent back catalogue as well as the classic Western style of High Noon and Rio Bravo, The Last Stand is a genuine guilty pleasure (if a little craggy around the edges like its leading man).

Schwarzenegger stars as ex-big city cop Ray Owens, now living the quiet life as sheriff of the Arizona border town of Sommerton, who suddenly finds himself in the path of a notorious drug cartel boss (Eduardo Noriega) making a break for the border. Resolving to do what a good man's gotta do and enlisting a rag-tag group of inexperienced deputies (including Johnny Knoxville's gun nut and Thor's Jaimie Alexander), he forms a line of resistance while a powerless FBI official (Forest Whitaker) watches from afar.

Directed by Kim Jee-woon, The Last Stand is an utterly ridiculous action film that plays to the strengths of its leading man while also finding room for invention in some of the set pieces. It's also savvy enough to realise its own limitations, thereby playing up the absurdity of the scenario. Admittedly, some of the jokes are over-milked while the fire-power on show borders on the fetishistic.

But as comebacks go, Schwarzenegger has chosen a really good vehicle with which to remind people of how he became so popular in the first place. And while there are several jokes to acknowledge his age, the big man doesn't shirk from the physical demands of the role and still knows how to deliver a crowd-pleasing spectacle.

General release from Fri 25 Jan.

The Last Stand Trailer

The Last Stand

  • 3 stars
  • 2013
  • US
  • 1h 47min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Jee-woon Kim
  • Written by: Andrew Knauer
  • Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eduardo Noriega, Forest Whitaker
  • UK release: 25 January 2013

Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) is sheriff of a quiet Arizonan border town who suddenly finds himself in the path of a notorious drug cartel boss (Noriega). Utterly ridiculous action film with a crowd-pleasing sense of its own absurdity, a genuine guilty pleasure.