Film review | The Last Stand – Arnie swaps ballots for bullets as guv’nor of this kick-ass thriller

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in his first starring role since serving two terms as Governor of California and, as the bullets and one-liners start flying in action thriller The Last Stand, it’s almost as if he’s never been away.

He’s the sheriff of a sleepy Arizona town near the Mexican border and a man looking for a quiet life after working as an LAPD narcotics cop. Yet Sommerton Junction is set to get a good deal livelier after Mexican drug kingpin Gabriel Cortez escapes from an FBI prisoner convoy and races towards the border in a supercharged Corvette ZR1. With the FBI helpless to intervene and the crook’s heavily armed cohorts already taking up their positions near the town, Schwarzenegger’s sheriff assembles a ragtag band – including local deputies Jaimie Alexander and Luis Guzmán, and gun nut Johnny Knoxville – to hold the line.

There are echoes here of Howard Hawks’ classic 1959 Western Rio Bravo, in which John Wayne played a similarly beleaguered sheriff trying to prevent a jailbreak with the aid of a bunch of misfits. The Last Stand certainly isn’t in that league, but Korean director Kim Jee-woon, making his Hollywood debut, delivers bursts of ferocious action interspersed with deadpan comedy. Schwarzenegger gets the lion’s share of the one-liners, some of which play on his age and origins (‘People like you give us immigrants a bad name,’ he tells the villain), but even the occasional bystander gets the odd zinger as well.

Released on DVD, Blu-ray & Digital Download on Monday 27th May by Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

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