DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

The Last Stand - Blu-ray Review

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The Last Stand - Movie Review

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4 stars

Don’t call it a comeback.  He’s been here for years.  Yeah, I said it.  I couldn’t think of a better opener than quoting a little LL Cool J for you all.  And, listen, it’s deserved.  Arnold Schwarzenegger, last seen firing blanks in The Expendables 2, returns for another round of kick-ass fun in Ji-woon Kim’s The Last Stand and I couldn’t be happier with the results.  This is entertainment with its tongue firmly in cheek and in check.  Subversive, violent, and completely over-the-top, Schwarzenegger’s return to action hero theatrics is easily a look-see punchline you won’t want to miss.

Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) is a sleepy border town guardian.  Nothing happens in Sommerton Junction and, after leaving his LAPD post following a bungled operation, he likes it that way.  After escaping from an FBI prisoner convoy, the notorious Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) and his army of gang members are headed toward Sommerton Junction.  He must be stopped.  The Feds (led by Forest Whitaker) can’t get the job done.  And so it’s left to Owens and his small band of merry men (Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville) to apprehend the wanted drug kingpin.

Screenwriter Andrew Knauer plots out the pacing nicely and allows the audience to get to know the characters before the bullets start breaking skulls apart.  It’s a good move and allows the audience to appreciate the commander in chief presence of Schwarzenegger as cowboy when it’s his turn to unleash the ‘80s testosterone-fueled rage.  Couple this with Kim’s tendency to go to extremes with visual jabs and we’re safely back in the brazen land of a coked-out Conan…where brawn beats brain.

Yes, this film treats Arnie as if it is the Second Coming and, maybe, with a subversive and self-aware text (that basically describes the whole of Schwarzenegger’s career) like this, that’s not such a bad thing.  This is in-your-face entertainment that knows what your expectations are and the age of its main star.  You’ll chuckle as Arnie attempts a whacky chase scene (which quickly becomes a massive spectacle) across a field.  Raw muscle flexes and modern machinery is deflected.

Its cheeky playfulness tends to wink at its audience more than it does test them with a drained reality.  We’re tired of the real world anyway.  And The Last Stand is simply fun stuff.  Of course the film is cheesy and ludicrous and mind-numbingly violent and completely unrealistic at almost every turn.  This is the director of the excellent The Good, the Bad, and the Weird after all.  Should we expect normalcy?  That’s the point of Knauer’s script and Kim’s direction; nothing here is to be taken seriously.  That’s why Schwarzenegger is its star.  This is dumb fun that knocks you unconscious with its slambang action.

If the smartly executed The Last Stand is the beginning of Schwarzenegger reliving his glory days, then bring me more.  This is gonzo escapism live and direct.  The plotholes are enthusiastically embraced.

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Last Stand - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language.
Runtime: 107 mins.
Director
: Jee-woon Kim
Writer: Andrew Knauer
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger; Forest Whitaker; Peter Stormare; Eduardo Noriega; Johnny Knoxville; Harry Dean Stanton
Genre: Action
Tagline:
Retirement is for sissies
Memorable Movie Quote: "You're a psychopath in a batmobile."
Distributor:
Lionsgate
Official Site:
www.thelaststandfilm.com
Release Date: January 18, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.

Synopsis: 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.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Last Stand - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 21, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Lionsgate’s transfer for this release is bold and very sharp. It’s encoded in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and it is razor sharp. The eye-popping colors throughout the film are very clean and even though it is shot in an arid setting, there is no overexposure. The flesh tones are correct and aren’t lost to the sun. In fact, they are heightened. The contrasting does its job in minimalizing the black crushing in the night shots. Also, the film is the perfect example of how sharp blu-ray transfers can be. It’s truly a revelation seeing Arnold’s face in its aged and weathered look. The audio for the movie is a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix and it roars with every bullet fired.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

The Last Stand looks solid on Blu-ray, and comes with some decent special features – including deleted scenes (one showing the effects of age and Ray’s time with LAPD); a look at the Dinkum Firearm and Historic Weaponry Museum; and a couple of behind the scenes features on the action sequences in the cornfield and making of the movie. They’re the basic extras and they work together to give a good look into the background of the movie. The Blu-ray release includes an UltraViolet digital copy of the movie.

  • Not In My Town: Making The Last Stand (28 min)
  • Cornfield Chaos: Scene Breakdown (11 min)
  • The Dinkum Firearm & Historic Weaponry Museum Tour (11 min)
  • Actor-Cam Anarchy: with Johnny Knoxville and Jaimie Alexander (11 min)
  • Deleted Scenes (8 min)
  • Extended Scenes (14 min)

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