Plot summary (from the studio): After leaving his LAPD narcotics post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with remorse and regret, Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) moved out of Los Angeles and settled into a life fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction. But that peaceful existence is shattered when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the western hemisphere, makes a deadly yet spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy.
With the help of a fierce band of lawless mercenaries led by the icy Burrell (Peter Stormare), Cortez begins racing towards the US-Mexico border at 250 mph in a specially-outfitted Corvette ZR1 with a hostage in tow. Cortez’ path: straight through Summerton Junction, where the whole of the U.S. law enforcement, including Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) will have their final opportunity to intercept him before the violent fugitive slips across the border forever. At first reluctant to become involved, and then counted out because of the perceived ineptitude of his small town force, Owens ultimately rallies his team and takes the matter into his own hands, setting the stage for a classic showdown.
Warning: Spoilers below!
- The film moved along at a reasonable pace, so there were few boring spots to contend with.
- The lovable losers on Arnie’s team were fun and blended the right amount of competence, humor, and dumb luck to get the job done.
- I liked that when Bannister ordered financials to be pulled, he included himself right away. It was just a minor detail, but showed that he wanted to get answers no matter the cost.
- Building your own temporary bridge to cross the border? That’s a new one for me, so points for originality, I guess.
- The only thing I could think about whenever law enforcement set up road blocks was, “Why aren’t they using spikes for the tires?!” It was distracting as hell.
- I had a hard time believing the FBI wouldn’t do more to pursue the getaway car through the air. What, they only had one helicopter? Come on.
- The plot was extremely predictable from beginning to end. In fact, I think the only attempt at a “twist” (I use the term very, VERY loosely) was revealing that the hostage and the bad guy were in it together. Ugh, cliche much?
- Aw, poor Matt Saracen…!
Clearly, any movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Johnny Knoxville as the top-billed actors is just going to aim at being fun and entertaining rather than thought-provoking or compelling. In this regard, I think The Last Stand does an okay job. I wouldn’t watch it again, but neither was I thoroughly bored. I give it 3 stars out of 5.