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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - Edition No 911 
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LAST STAND, THE

SYNOPSIS:
The leader of a drug cartel (Eduardo Noriega) busts out of a courthouse and speeds to the Mexican border, where the only thing in his path is a sheriff (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his inexperienced sidekick (Johnny Knoxville).

Review by Louise Keller:
Sensational action, bloody violence, goofy humour and Arnie as the small town Sheriff - it's all there, and the larger than life 65 year old Austrian superstar continues to fill every inch of the screen in this souped up thrill ride and entertainment. With Korean action director Jee-woon Kim at the helm in his first Hollywood feature and no shortage of action, there is cartoonesque violence, in- your-face gore, a whiff of gross-out and mouth-gaping stunts, mostly involving cars. In particular, the star car is a modified, grey metallic Corvette ZR1 with 1,000 horsepower that sounds like a Lear jet and is called 'a Monster on Wheels'. This is the vehicle of choice of vicious fugitive, drug cartel boss Gabriel Cortez (enigmatically played by Eduardo Noriega), who is headed towards the Mexican border.

We quickly get a sense of the slow nature of the one-horse town of Sommerton, Arizona, where Schwarzenegger as Sheriff Ray Owens is in charge, along with an unlikely melange of locals. When he says, 'I've seen enough blood and death, so I know what's coming', we believe him. Johnny Knoxville provides the wacky and gross out factor as the illegal arms dealer and I am still chuckling from the sight of Knoxville wearing his Jackass face, as Schwarzenegger delivers the line 'Welcome to Sommerton' po-faced, after a slew of nasty villains have been wiped out by a super-sized weapon called Vicki the Nazi-killer.

The interspersed humour works especially well, relieving moments of high tension and violence with a sense of the ridiculous. The diversity of the cast is also a plus with the likes of Forest Whitaker as the intense FBI agent chasing Cortez and Luis Guzmán as the Sheriff's comical deputy. Rodrigo Santoro plays a charming scoundrel called Frank Martinez, locked up for disorderly conduct and whose former squeeze Sarah (Jaimie Alexander) is the police officer in charge. Their kiss - amid over-the-top bloodshed is another nicely timed comic moment.

There are some fancy car manoeuvres, when cars pirouette, twist and summersault. There is nothing more innovative or spectacular than the scene when two cars mount each other, like frisky dogs on heat, oblivious of the consequences. This scene takes place in a cornfield near the Mexican border, when the grey Corvette (slightly worse for wear by this stage) is chased by Arnie in a borrowed red one. This is a one-take sequence.

The final confrontation on an assault bridge near the Mexican border takes place between Noriega and Schwarzenegger and we wince with each damaging blow and jagged piece of glass as skin is pierced. Both men are also looking worse for wear by now. It is around this time that Schwarzenegger delivers the memorable line 'You make us immigrants look bad.'

Jee-woon's direction brings a sense of frenzy with plenty of tight close ups and quick edits. Everything works, especially the film's tone and it's good to see Schwarzenegger back centre-screen, after his stint as Californian Governor and a few welcome cameos.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

LAST STAND, THE (MA15+)
(US, 2013)

CAST: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville, Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Richard Dillard, Titos Menchaca, Eduardo Noriega, Luis Guzman, Sonny Landham, Jaimie Alexander, Matthew Greer

PRODUCER: Lorenzo di Bonaventura

DIRECTOR: Jee-woon Kim

SCRIPT: Andrew Knauer, Jeffrey Nachmanoff, George Nolfi

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ji-yong Kim

EDITOR: Steven Kemper

MUSIC: Mowg

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Franco-Giacomo Carbone

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 21, 2013







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