Talented Korean helmer Kim Jee-woon (The Good, The Bad, and The Weird) goes the Hollywood route with rising former action star Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Expendables 2) in a routine, rather violent auctioneer with the occasional amusing interlude.
It's been awhile since Schwarzenegger has carried a film (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), but with The Last Stand the director's English-language debut seems to suit his overall demeanor in a genre that could always be more creative with an outsider's touch. Even after being soiled a bit in his private life last year, the aging, drawn, still brawny guy may be able to attract a noticeable audience for those unfamiliar with his star status in the 80s and 90s.
His Sheriff Ray Owens is relocated to quiet border hamlet Sommerton Junction, Arizona after his work on a narcotics case in L.A. went awry. In a formulaic, if serviceable example of the genre a forlorn man with a bad conscience gets a chance to reinvigorate himself as a crime fighter. Though his reluctant hero with his share of enforcing aplomb may remind older viewers of one that Clint Eastwood would have starred in before really establishing himself as an elite director.
Jee-woon films in New Mexico with a flair for the Western as the setting is riled up through vicious FBI prisoner drug lord convoy escapee Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noreiga) on his way to Mexico in a sleek Corvette ZR1. Forest Whitaker's Agent John Bannister is after the dangerous fugitive with a hostage, a colleague of Bannister's played by the comely Genesis Rodriquez of Man on a Ledge. So, Schwarzenegger still proves a sense of self-deprecating humor even prior to the action getting hot and heavy with unlawful mercenaries like Burrell (Peter Stormare) allied with Cortez after taking out a man on a tractor.
The Last Stand allows Arnold to get into more of a leading actorly action stride as Sheriff Owens gets his motley crew together with colorful backup turns by Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville in what is like The Fast and the Furious meshed with High Noon.