James Smith’s quick-fire insight into the world of movies exclusive to style-review.com

Here he checks out the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a perplexing but fun cocktail of gunfire and mirth in The Last Stand.

Directed by Jee-woon Kim.

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Eduardo Noriega.

Escaped cartel boss Gabriel Cortez, played by Eduardo Noriega busts out of FBI custody with the aid of his sinister army of henchmen and a fleet of shiny toys that include armoured SUVs and a speedy Corvette ZR1.  He heads out into the desert leaving a trail of bodies and FBI Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) dumbfounded.  But the sleepy backwater of Somerville lies on his tracks and so does a large grizzled lizard with a haircut that looks like an upturned loo brush - yes, it’s Arnie as Sheriff Owens and he’s the last thing between slimy Cortez and freedom.

If you’ve had a tough day at work and don’t want to think too much, this could be the film for you.  The visuals and full-on action scenes are enough to get you through the one dimensional plot and there are babes, hunks, bullets and explosions aplenty to get you to the final O.K. Corral-esque shoot out.

The Last Stand is an odd cocktail of Fast and Furious car capers, A-Team antics, and Jackass slapstick, courtesy of Johnny Knoxville as the perplexing ‘Dinkum’ character - a zany gun clown with a stash of weaponry conveniently available in a nearby hanger.  At times the humour wallows in awkward territory between seriousness, comedy, and full on cheese.  Sometimes it’s not clear if we should be laughing out loud at someone being blown into various pieces or looking on in horror, a quirk maybe of the director’s style.

The acting too, is a curious mix of the good, the bad, and the awful.  Forest Whitaker shines, albeit in a clichéd role as the one-step-behind agent and the bad guys played by the superb Peter Stormare (of Fargo fame) and Eduardo Noriega are watchable enough as they choreograph enough laughable crimes in an hour to keep the US courts busy for a decade.  Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of an ageing Sheriff Owens is patchy at best, and there is a sense that the humour and chemistry between him and his gun toting defenders of evil doesn’t quite come off a lot of the time.

The Last Stand is an entertaining collection of stunts, car action and tomfoolery that will keep most audiences happy, though Schwarzenegger could be criticised for not returning to the big screen with a few more surprises.  To his credit, he does what he does well and never takes himself too seriously.  They threw everything at The Last Stand in terms of talent, stunts - not to mention money - but despite all of that, you can’t deny that this film just wouldn’t be the same without Arnie.

Review by @jsmithwriter