The Last Stand – Schwarzenegger Stands Tall

It is always a pleasure to watch movies like ‘The Expendables 2‘ and ‘The Last Stand’. Not because they cater to the escapist action junkie in me, but because they cater to the Schwarzenegger fan in me. I still remember going to the local single-screen theater as a kid to watch Terminator and trying to imitate his “I will be baaack” in his trademark accent. What I enjoy most about Schwarzenegger flicks is the fact that I can completely identify with them. I can safely replace the cast of his film with Bollywood actors and imagine how it would be if a Hindi film were made with the same story. The Last Stand, directed by the South Korean Jee-Woon Kim, is as Bollywood as Bollywood can be; and I’m not complaining.The last stand

The premise (Yes! There is one) is pretty simple. A notorious Mexican drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega, inconsequential) manages to escape from the rusted iron fist of FBI officer John Bannister (Forest Whitaker, visibly uncomfortable) and decides to make a run for it in… hold your breath… NOT a plane… NOT a chopper… but in a highly modified Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1! How do I know that it’s a Corvette C6 ZR1, you ask? Well, this fact is pushed again and again into the screenplay in a blatant attempt of product placement. So you have statements like “How do you stop this car?” “You blow it up!”, “why didn’t he take a chopper?” “because the car is faster than any chopper!” etc etc, you get the picture, right? It’s a Corvette C6 ZR1. Point taken! Let’s move on!… So yeah, drug lord Cortez decides to cross the INTERNATIONAL BORDER of US and Mexico in a Corvette C6 ZR1 and his own private army which seems to be very strong when it comes to removing barricades from the road but is quite understaffed when it comes to removing Schwarzenegger.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his first outing as a lead actor since Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, plays Sheriff Ray Owens. Ray Owens is an old and tired ex-LAPD who decides to hang up his boots and sip a beer in the sleepy town of Sommerton Junction. Oddly enough, for someone named Ray Owens, he sports a rather weird Austrian accent. So.. yes… Ray Owens and his rag tag team of deputies (including freshly minted ones like Johny Knoxville of the Jackass infamy) are the last line of defense between the Corvette C6 ZR1 and Mexico. How convenient!! Everything that happens next is what Mr. Schwarzenegger is accustomed to doing for the last 3 decades.

For an action film, the Last Stand has a pretty short line-up of action set pieces. This is probably because in this film although only Arnold seems like someone who is capable of doing some action, he is evidently quite incapable of even jumping on a car and running into a diner without huffing and puffing. The 65-year old is clearly old and not cut out for much action but what he lacks in virility, he makes up in charisma! He still has fabulous screen presence and I actually ended up rooting for him when he took up that famous shot gun of his. Total paisa vasool! There are some decently good one-liners here and there, but the dialogues in general suck.

Like most Schwarzenegger movies, I ended up replacing the cast with Indian actors. So I imagined some dreaded terrorist to escape from police custody and try to crossover to Nepal in a Mahindra Thar or a Scorpio… So that he can later go to his home base (I’m being politically correct here so I’m not naming any country… but you get the picture, don’t you?) and the only person stopping him is… hmmm… first choice was Dharmendra but he is a little too old for this… How about Sunny Deol? Or Nana Patekar? Or hell if you want to make 200 crores out of it, let’s just put Chulbul Pandey as the last line of defense!! Once that part is dealt with, everything else will fall into place… because frankly, nothing else matters!

Coming back to The Last Stand. Obviously it is a must watch for that vast legion of Schwarzenegger fans because in case you had any doubts, he has still got it! But it is also a worthwhile watch for people who pay obscene amounts in multiplexes to watch movies and then crib with statements like “India me aisi movies kab banengi?” (when will India make movies like this?)… Well, my friend, India can surely make a ‘The Last Stand’… If it manages to find its Schwarzenegger.

Rating: 8 on 10 (all 8 points for Mr. Schwarzenegger!)

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