The Last Stand - Blu-ray Review

'Arnie's genesis - from quiet town cop to, well, The Terminator - is a pleasant enough watch'

If you're planning on watching The Last Stand, then chances are it is because of one Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger. With the greatest of respect to a supporting cast that involves Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Luis Guzmán and Jaimie Alexander, the return of Arnie is the main draw here, the reason to hunt it down on home rental.

In that regard at least, The Last Stand proves an adequate Arnie vehicle. A clearly-ageing sixty-five years old, Schwarzenegger still manages the one-liners, the firing of the big guns and yes, on rare occasions, a little creaky emotion. Andrew Knauer's script isn't as quotable as something like Kindergarten Cop, and the obligatory jokes about getting old are present and correct, but there's still some gentle mirth to be had, and Arnie's genesis - from quiet town cop to, well, The Terminator - is a pleasant enough watch.

But like much of Arnie's output, smeared with the grease of misty-eyed nostalgia though those films are, the ultimate conclusion is that this is not a great film.

The balance, by director Kim Jee-Woon, between Arnie, lead bad guy Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) and F.B.I ally/antagonist Bannister (Whitaker) is all off. Far too much time is given to Bannister's investigation, which includes a meaningless sub-plot involving one of his agents. In a Schwarzenegger film, all you need to know is that the bad guy is bad, something made plain during the opening escape. Cortez, meanwhile, is left trapped in a car for far too long, leaving Arnie's crew to deal with sub-villain Burrell (Stormare). Cortez' actual arrival in town, the suggested 'last stand', takes all of five minutes.

Eventually, the film's fairly exciting - and pleasantly bloody - gunplay evaporates into a hand-to-hand stand-off that just doesn't ring true. Predictable character conclusions materialise, whilst comic relief Guzmán and Johnny Knoxville are, literally in the former's case, left on the floor for far too long.

It is not that there's nothing here to enjoy, but look past Schwarzenegger and The Last Stand starts to creak with ageing action-genre conventions that haven't been cool for years. Is that irony, or inevitability?

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