“Korean” Movie Review – The last Stand (라스트 스탠드)

With the amount of buzz that surrounded Park Chan-wook and “Stoker” (2013), you could be forgiven for forgetting that Kim Jee-woon actually beat Park to the punch in releasing his Hollywood directorial debut, arguably with greater fanfare. “The Last Stand” (2013) was not only Kim’s English-language debut, but also the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a bona fide leading action man. The early buzz was strong.

Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) is working what is expected to be a highly uneventful weekend in the close-knit, sleepy town of Sommerton Junction, Arizona, as the local football team, along with most of the town, is away for the big game. There’s nothing for his deputies to do except shoot slabs of meat on the farm of eccentric gun-nut Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville). The weekend doesn’t go quite as planned, though, after a deadly cartel boss, Gabriel Cortez, breaks out of jail with plans to cross the Mexican border via Sommerton. Little do they know that Owens is a former narcotics agent from LA who, despite leaving the big city behind, is still in possession of his morals and his marksmanship.

As you would expect from a Kim Jee-woon film, there are some thrilling visuals. Cortez’s escape is particularly impressive, with several long takes and excellent camera work.

Even though the film isn’t particularly violent (by Kim’s standards anyway), it still has one of the best deaths by flare gun I have ever seen on celluloid. There is a lot of humor to counteract the shootouts, mainly from Johnny Knoxville, who is funny if you’re into that sort of thing, I guess.

If you were one of the many viewers who got lost in the initial hype surrounding Arnie’s big return and were expecting something more than a generic action flick, you’ll be sorely disappointed. But if you go into it with the right mindset, “The Last Stand” is an enjoyable film.

Categories: Reviews


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