The Last Stand (2013)

(On Cable TV, December 2013) Fast cars and big guns are near-essential ingredients of B-grade action films, and if nothing else, The Last Stand doesn’t try to camouflage its high-concept plot devices.  There’s a crazed Mexican druglord high-tailing it to Mexico with a fast car, and there are plucky heroes who literally stand in his way.  The entire film leads to its final confrontation, and it’s the kind of structure that’s ideally suited to a low-budget action film.  The Last Stand is most notable for being Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first starring role in a decade (you may recall him as acting as California’s governor during that time), and it’s an adequate return to form for him: his role is generally (despite the usual action-hero heroics) age-appropriate, and while he stars, he doesn’t hog all of the spotlight.  Much of the film is forgettable, though: the night-time action scenes blur together, while the engaging cornfield climax leads to an overlong bridge fistfight.  While The Last Stand remains well-directed enough (by acclaimed South Korean director Kim Jee-Woon in his American debut) to hover comfortably above most direct-to-video titles, it’s not special enough to warrant more than an evening’s easy entertainment.  It would have been nice to see something a bit more ambitious.

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