Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Last Stand-A Race Car and Arnold Schwarzenegger


“Who are you?” Asks Thomas Burrell to Sheriff Ray Owens.



“I am the Sheriff.” Sheriff Ray Owens.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the role of an old Sheriff in the small town of Sommerton Junction in The Last Stand. He is a retired hand from an elite force of crime fighters from L. A. He does not regret his decision, though. Searching for peace and a life with ‘less’ blood and violence, the old Sheriff finds home in Sommerton Junction. This is the background, upon which stands the plot of The Last Stand. 

Sheriff Ray is enjoying his day off at the start of the movie. Some people out there in the centres of power, do not think he is worth anything else other than an old, lethargic man. This thought gives those people a lot of stress when they realise an escaped criminal, Gabriel Cortez (played by Eduardo Noriega) is driving his custom-made super-racer into Sommerton Junction, in order to get out of the US, into Mexico, upon a mobile assault bridge constructed by Cortez’s men at arms.

The race car used by Cortez is undoubtedly one of the USP in The Last Stand, the other being Arnold Schwarzenegger himself.  
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The sleepy town realizes nothing, even after the Sheriff warns the folks. They are mostly holding on to their daily lives without even bothering about anything else other than their cholesterol and blood pressure, which in case could be more fatal than Cortez’s racing car and merciless bullets.

Fortunately, Sheriff Ray could not continue with his off day, as he learns that a poor milkman had been shot. From that moment onwards, things go racy in the small town and back to tumult in Ray’s life. Arnold and his team of three policemen confront a prominent member of the Cortez gang, Thomas Burrell (played by Peter Stormare). In the fire that ensues, one of the policemen gets killed.
 
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What Sheriff ray confront in the open under the stealthy cover of night was an army ready to wipe out anything that comes across, with manpower and machine guns. No, do not think Sheriff Ray has Terminator model machine guns too. On the contrary, Sheriff Arnold Ray has just some shotguns and pistols, and of course, two officers, to fight this army.

The Last Stand is the first movie after the 2003 Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger takes his avatar as a machine. If you ask him how he feels in The Last Stand, though, he would say, “Old.” However Sheriff Ray does not give up easily. He is equal to three men in strength, mental ability and dignity, and thus the total strength of police officers available in fighting Burrell and his men are five.
 
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Ray receives the news that a drug lord had tricked the FBI, and was successful in moving towards the border near Sommerton Junction. What is interesting about this escape scenario is that as a viewer we are given a chance to see that side of the story too, along with the calm life in Sommerton. The story swings from one narrative to another and then back. Raunchy car races, car Vs helicopter sequences, SWAT Vs Cortez, etc add the perfect masala to The Last Stand. 

The challenge in front of the Sheriff is to stop the criminal with the very few resources he has. The Sheriff promotes two more men into deputy positions. The vintage arms collector Lewis Dinkum joins them and Ray finds the necessary arms in his collection.
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The only question is would Sheriff Ray be able to stop the Gabriel Cortez’s getaway through Sommerton Junction, with as less number of men at his help as the arms for defense? With cars as barricades and a Vickers machine gun as his weapon, the old Sheriff and his deputies are the last stand of a nation against an escaped felon.

The Last Stand is written by Andrew Knauer, who seems to be an ardent fan of Arnold and has executed the same fanaticism through the script. There are areas where this film could have done better, like the scenes in the arms collection garage. Sheriff Ray’s life too is not worked out properly. Director Kim Ji-woon seems to have a passion with ear busting sounds, and perhaps due to this very reason, every fire shot echoes into one’s skull with a thunderous ricochet.
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Things can’t get any bloodier with Arnold and a Vickers. Indeed, in The Last Stand, one can find a lot of blood spilled around, with each gunshot that finds its destination. This movie is not Arnold’s best, but for his fans, The Last Stand would be a disappointment.          

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