2013’s The Last Stand is constructed around Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mighty frame. He’s the force at the centre of the action, but not always the focus. The film’s impressive supporting cast (Forrest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Luis Guzman, Harry Dean Stanton and er…Johnny Knoxville) also get time to shine. There’s enough plot development for all of these characters, that at times, The Last Stand comes across as a bumper episode of television series – nobody gets a raw deal. As good as this supporting cast is, the audience is there for Schwarzenegger – and he doesn’t disappoint.
After a decade in politics, Schwarzenegger returned to the big screen a little older and more grizzled than before. The ageing process gave him added depth and a world weariness.
Jee-Woon Kim (I Saw The Devil) knows how to stage action, and the Korean director brings a fluent style to each set piece. There’s a kinetic energy, yet an understanding of geography on display here that Hollywood action movies normally don’t have. Today this type of film is lost in flurry of blurred camera work and a succession of quick cuts. Kim knows that he’s making a modern western, a tale with where the film’s star has become as mythic and ionic as the time and genre that he is paying homage to. In a way, The Last Stand is an update of High Noon, both feature men of honour making a stand against a seemingly unstoppable evil that is hurtling toward them.
Budged at $45 million, The Last Stand grossed $12 million at the US box office and $48.3 million globally in 2013.