Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

The Last Stand - Arnold Is Back, Whether You Wanted It Or Not - Review

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thelaststandposter.jpgArnold Schwarzenegger is back, because he needs to do something after finding himself unemployed and in the middle of a divorce (plus, those child support payments just increased). 

In The Last Stand, Arnold stars as Ray Owens - the sheriff in a sleepy border town between Arizona and Mexico.  He likes the small town life, but it's all about to get big town crazy in here.

Drug cartel kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has escaped from prison in Nevada, taken a hostage and hopped into a specially outfitted super car that can cruise down the highway at 200 miles per hour (Danica Patrick would like to buy a car that performs that well).  He has a plan to sneak across the border in Ray's small little town, and the FBI isn't going to get there in time to stop him.

Will Ray and his rag tag motley crew of deputies be able to stop the crime lord?

The Last Stand isn't striving to be a significant artistic venture, and succeeds at that goal.  However, it is caught in the weird, awkward middle ground between campy and serious, which is what hurts it.

Director Jee-woon Kim and writer Andrew Knauer (with some additional help) can't find the right tone.  In many ways, The Last Stand is trying to be The Expendables with its over the top violence and aging superstar returning to the kind of role that made him famous and showing he can still kick some booty (if it is scripted and choreographed).  However, it lacks the consistency of The Expendables.

At times, The Last Stand is a silly, campy romp with insane, outrageous characters.  Luis Guzman is the bumbling deputy constantly providing comic relief.  Johnny Knoxville is the crazy dude who lives on the edge of town with his massive cache of weapons (he even has the name Dinkum, just in case the subtlety was escaping our comprehension).  We even have the gorgeous young waitress who reminds you of the girl you wish lived next door.  All of that absurdity matched up with the grotesque violence and more buckets of blood than were expended in Django Unchained and World War II combined appeals to some, and those people aren't reading movie reviews.  

However, at other times, Kim and Knauer try to make The Last Stand more serious.  We learn about Ray's past and why he ended up in this small town, which is supposed to be poignant and give him more depth.  Forest Whitaker is the tough as nails FBI agent in charge of catching Cortez who is worried about the hostage and trying to make sure justice is served (barking orders like a stereotypical police chief who doesn't have any patience for nonsense). 
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These two opposing tones don't fit together.  It's hard to take anything seriously after starting off on the comical, campy foot. 

If you want to ogle some beautiful women, watch Arnold kick some booty, stare at stuff blowing up, and admire a super fast car, The Last Stand is for you.  If you want great writing, acting and storytelling, I have a feeling you can find Silver Linings Playbook at the theater next door.  

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1 Waffle (Out of 4)

The Last Stand is rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language