Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger chose to make his return as an action film star in “The Last Stand.” If this is how he plans to resume his acting career, Schwarzenegger should seriously consider a return to politics.
What passes as the plot for this stinker has Schwarzenegger playing the sheriff of a sleepy little town on the Mexican border. It’s not just sleepy but nearly comatose because most of the town’s people have left on a weekend trip for a high school football game. Convenient.
The quiet’s disrupted when the city becomes the spot where an escaped drug cartel leader wants to drive his stolen missile-like sports car across the border. Only the sheriff, his deputies and a couple of rejects from “The Magnificent Seven” can stop the escape.
There are so many problems with this movie that even a monthlong filibuster couldn’t hit them all. Here are the really low points:
• Writers Andrew Knauer and Jeffrey Nachmanoff set up an absurd premise and make illogical and stupid moves just to keep the plot going. The film grinds to a halt when an FBI agent (Forest Whitaker) explains an idiotic plot point by saying the drug boss is a part-time race car driver.
• To set up a “High Noon”-style standoff, it is explained that there are only two streets that go through town. No one seems to think about how it would have been easier just to go around the city of about 30 buildings.
• Director Jee-woon Kim treats Schwarzenegger likes he’s 30 rather than having fun with his senior years. Instead of playing off the dry humor that’s become a Schwarzenegger trademark, the director acts like he’s got Jason Statham playing the small-town hero. But Schwarzenegger doesn’t even move as well as Jason Alexander. Even with sharp editing, Schwarzenegger looks like he’s walking through mud while being tied to the dead weight of all the work that didn’t get done during his days in elective office.
• Johnny Knoxville continues to prove that unless there’s a car battery connected to his manhood, he has no acting skills. The only way Knoxville can play his character, a local gun lover, is by channeling Murdock from “The A-Team.” Knoxville at least proves that there are worse actors than Schwarzenegger.
• The film is loaded with stereotypes and poorly staged action scenes. And the dialogue is laughable when it’s supposed to be serious and bland when it’s supposed to be funny.
Schwarzenegger always told his film fans that he’d be back. “The Last Stand” proves that was a threat more than a promise. Any such future moves should be terminated.