Some movies should have a sign hung over the doorway that read, in big bold letters, “suspend disbelief before entry”. The Last Stand is one such movie. While the action is a bit over the top, the comedy is able to generate laughs where desired and the audience gets the fun romp that is expected; the basic story and plot elements are just ridiculous.
Arnold is a former big-time narcotics, elite/unit detective from the LAPD who took on the much easier life of being sheriff in the small town of Sommerton, Arizona. Turns out that there is a narrow canyon near his town that could be a spot to cross the border into Mexico if someone were to erect a “combat bridge” across the canyon. Since there’s a Mexican drug cartel leader in jail in Las Vegas, about to be moved to Federal Death Row and he wants to go back home, a plot is afoot to break him out of the custody of the FBI.
Special Agent in Charge “John Bannister” (Forest Whitaker) is in charge of the operation. Naturally someone’s leaked info to the bad guys and soon the cartel leader, “Gabriel Cortez” (Eduardo Noriega), is heading for the border in a stolen prototype sports car. Since he was a professional race car driver, this is a method of escape that appears to make sense.
But somehow Sheriff “Ray Owens” figures out where Cortez is heading and gives this information to Bannister. He tries to send in help for Owens and his tiny force of deputies but that isn’t going to happen. In the end it will be the Sheriff, two of his three deputies and a prisoner who happens to have military experience who joins the ragtag crew about to stand off against the cartel’s gunners. Oh yes, we can’t forget about “Lewis Dinkum” (Johnny Knoxville). He’s the local crazy character who happens to have a museum of weapons that includes some serious firepower.
The action is intense, bordering on silly. Thugs are blown up or shot up while inflicting a huge amount of damage on the town’s cars, buildings and other things along the main drag. How so many bullets could be fired by so few deputies without anyone getting seriously injured is a question best left ignored.
Arnold was a pretty good action hero in his day, and he’s still not bad, but he’s only a shadow of the man who brought the “Terminator” to life. Guzman and Knoxville generate plenty of laughs and Noriega makes an excellent villain. The laughs and the parts of the action that works help make what could have been a boring flick into one that’s fun.
And that’s the word for The Last Stand: Fun.