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January 21, 2013

THE LAST STAND

The Last StandAfter watching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lukewarm performance, you’ll hope that this bombastic exercise in gunplay is his last stand as an actor. Made up of composite cliché parts from various action flicks, “The Last Stand” is an oddly stilted affair. The former Governator plays Ray Owens, the badass sheriff of Sommerton Junction, a small boarder town that marks the final U.S. pass-through for escaped Mexican drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega). Cortez is on the run from Las Vegas FBI agents. With a female FBI agent hostage sitting in the passenger seat, Cortez hits speeds of over 200 mph in a stolen supercharged Corvette. The Chevrolet product placement couldn’t be any more obvious. The lawless speed-demon gets considerable advance road assistance from a gang of well-armed greasers led by Peter Stormare’s pathological killer Burrell.

Screenwriter Andrew Knauer doesn’t bother himself with too many continuity details regarding the staging for the film’s slow-to-arrive title climax on Sommerton’s main street. The movie reads as a puff-piece of pro-NRA propaganda. Guns and ammunition are fetishized. When a faceless baddie shows up in granny’s front room, she reaches into her handy knitting basket for the gun that will end his time on this planet.

Director Jee-woon Kim (“I Saw the Devil”) captures the fragmented eruptions of violence without giving a sufficient degree of character- illumination in the process. The effect is akin to watching a cartoon where you’re not familiar with the characters. Here’s one more mediocre movie ejected into the realm of January multiplex hell.

Rated R. 106 mins. (C-) (Two Stars - out of five/no halves)

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