So, as detailed here, I was really looking forward to The Last Stand – the idea of Kim Jee-Woon being given free reign over an action packed neo-western sounded like it should be ace.
What I was hoping for was Arnie landing in the middle of a mix of The Good, The Bad and The Weird and A Bittersweet Life – what I got was a fairly standard hollywood action flick with some good elements and some really painful dialogue.
Thats not to say that The Last Stand is a bad film – it certainly isn’t awful – but it is frustrating that it doesn’t live up to its potential. This frustration is piqued even more by the occasional nuggets of inventive action, flash camera tricks, outlandish violence and cat & mouse tension that pepper the film.
The general plot – escaped drug kingpin attempts to get across the border back to Mexico in a supercharged 200 mph car – sounds like it should make for a crazy action romp from the off, but The Last Stand takes a while to warm up. In the style of a classic western, the whole thing builds up to an inevitable shootout/chase/punch up in Sheriff Arnold’s quiet border town, but there are plenty of awkward character development moments before we get to the stuff where mercenaries get blown up with flare guns.
There are none of the off-kilter plot or tone shifts that you get in Korean cinema, nor the outre nastiness of something like I Saw The Devil. So while it is perfectly possible to sit and be entertained by The Last Stand, you get the feeling it could have been so much more – a point perfectly illustrated by getting the legendary figure of Harry Dean Stanton in for a cameo and then making it really generic and predictable.
As The Last Stand was one of my most anticipated films of the year, this is the time to introduce the LUC Anticipation-ometer which will track how much I enjoy each of the films I’m really looking forward too.
CURRENT ANTICIPATION-OMETER STATUS AFTER 1 of 10 FILMS: Slightly Underwhelmed