The Last Stand
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Last Stand is an old-school action flick starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. There's a high body count and lots of bloody violence (shootings, explosions that lead to strewn limbs, etc.), as well as frequent strong language ("motherf---er," "a--hole," "bitch," etc.), but no sexuality beyond a couple of kisses. Families concerned with consumerism should note that the film features plenty of Chevy vehicles and references to a particular very expensive Corvette. Ultimately, despite the movie's violence, at its core it has a decent message about protecting your home, your friends, and your town.
What's the story?
Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is the sheriff of Somerton, a small Arizona border town. On a weekend when nearly the town's entire population is off at an away high school football game, Owens stays behind to enjoy a day off. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), a billionaire Mexican drug kingpin, escapes a top-secret transport to federal prison. FBI Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) leads the effort to recapture Cortez, who's taken off in a high-tech Corvette with another agent as his hostage. As Cortez drives toward Somerton to cross back into Mexico, Sheriff Owen and his deputies get embroiled in the pursuit. But Cortez and his henchmen, led by the ruthless Burrell (Peter Stormare), are willing to kill everyone left in town to get their boss to safety.
Is it any good?
Despite a few laughable moments, The Last Stand is an amusing -- albeit violent -- vehicle for Schwarzenegger, who has yet to say "hasta la vista" to the genre he so skillfully mastered. Korean director Jee-woon Kim already has a cult following for his various genre films (I Saw the Devil, A Tale of Two Sisters), and in his English-language debut, he takes on one of the elder statesmen of action. Kim manages to feature all that's great about the older star without ignoring his age (at one point, Cortez even calls him Abuelito/grandpa). The Terminator might be close to retirement, but he still knows how to shoot various men with finesse and also manage to be the emotional center of the film (he's especially sweet as the mentor to young deputy Jerry Bailey, played by Friday Night Lights alum Zach Gilford).
There's a decent balance between THE LAST STAND's action -- a lot of which is definitely explicit, like when a goon gets literally blown to pieces -- and the humor, most of which is courtesy of comic actor Luis Guzman, one of Owens' deputies, and Johnny Knoxville, who plays Somerton's vintage gun aficionado. The subplots aren't particularly deep: the beautiful deputy's ex-boyfriend, a former Marine, is conveniently in custody, and Cortez's pretty hostage is quickly revealed to be all too compliant.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the amount of violence in The Last Stand. If it had been slightly less bloody, do you think that would have changed the impact? Did some of the deaths seem gratuitous, or were they necessary to the plot?
How is The Last Stand a classic example of the "lawman vs. outlaw" genre? Was there any doubt who would win in the end? Does it make the movie less enjoyable if you know the action star is bound to get the bad guy?
Arnold Schwarzenegger makes several jokes about being old. Do you think he's past his prime as an action star, or does the "old man" still have decent moves?