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The Last Stand

January 25, 2013

There is a moment in The Last Stand where Arnold decides to battle the mercenaries and drug lords that are headed to his town. He knows the violence it will bring and that many people will die in spectacular fashion. However, he has dealt with similar punks before in a past life and they’ve already killed one of his deputies. When he makes that decision you understand his motivation to make a stand because it feels real. For instance, One of his deputies shares her fear and he tells her he is more afraid because he” knows what is about to happen.”

The Last Stand Jaime Alexander

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The Last Stand does something neat that rarely happens. You like the characters and understand the bad guy. I like that the villain in the film is a total turd that has gotten away with everything due to family connections and lots of money. He thinks he can do whatever he wants. However, his luck will run out when he meets Arnold’s clenched fists and many big guns.

The last stand big gun

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The movie does have its faults. Forest Whitaker and his CIA crew get too much screen time. They screw up by letting him escape a convoy then spend a lot of time failing to catch him. The CIA aspect could have been removed and the movie would have been better for it.  The movie should have been about a small town sheriff and his eclectic crew battling killers. Another thing that did not help the film was the scatter shot marketing that could never pinpoint the feel of the film. The three promotional posters had no clue what the movie was about.

Poster number one tells the story of a zany action film involving big guns, big hats and horrible tag lines.

The Last Stand Johnny Knoxville movie poster

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Poster number two gives off the  grind house and retro vibe.

The Last Stand movie poster art

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The only poster that should have been used was poster number three. It goes against the comical/bombastic aspects of the film and focuses on what the movie should have been about. One man fighting many. It could have been Arnold’s Unforgiven or Sly’s recent Rambo or Rocky.

The last Stand Arnold movie poster

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What we get is a fun re-watchable film that gets many things right. It has the best kill in years, features a corn field car chase and a believable MMA style fight at the end. The action isn’t crazily edited or too extreme. Kim lets the camera linger which creates an easy to follow blueprint of destruction.

The Last Stand is a unique mixture of director’s Kim Jee-Woon (I Saw the Devil, The Good The Bad and The Weird) oddball sensibilities and an Arnold action film. The characters are likable albeit one-dimensional (rookie, drunk, insane, comical) yet form a believable team. The dynamics of the crew are set clearly and as the final battle rages on you want no ill-will to become of them. It does something that movies seldom do. It makes you understand the characters and hope they will not blow up when a flare hits their ammo.

The Last Stand Rodrigo

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The set up is believable which makes the bombastic violence tolerable. A small town is deserted because of a traveling state football game. It should be a quiet weekend for Sheriff Arnold and his crew. However, a Mexican Drug lord is freed from capture and headed towards the small town in order to cross the border. The random crew band together and arm themselves at Johnny Knoxville’s massive gun museum. I enjoyed Knoxville in this film. He has a minor role and his brand of crazy is sorta justified and his zany actions entertaining when kept in check.

The Last Stand Arnold

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The Last Stand is a creative blast of fresh air. What makes it work is the mischievous sense of violence and likability of the characters. You understand why Arnold is making his stand. You like the back story of the bad guy. You don’t mind the constant promotion of Corvettes.

The Last Stand bombed at the box office making only six million in it’s opening weekend. However, I believe it will play well on DVD, On Demand and cable channels. It has creative action, fast cars and as my fiancee said “fantastic hair.”

The Last Stand Genesis Rodriguez

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