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Arnold's back in 'The Last Stand'

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By Becca Owsley

“The Last Stand”
Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout and language.
Release date: Jan. 18
Runtime: 107 minutes
Rating: Arnold’s back

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Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his first starring leap back onto the big screen in “The Last Stand.”

Other than a few cameos, the Governator was absent from theaters during his political career.

The question many fans have on their minds is, “Can Schwarzenegger come back to the action genre, a game that has changed in his absence, at the age of 65?”

Schwarzenegger is from a generation of car chases, big explosions, quirky catch phrases and muscle-bound stars. While he was sitting in the governor’s office, action movies began to rely on computer-generated imagery while bodybuilder physiques have taken a diminished role. Many of today’s offerings feature a more ordinary person stuck in the middle of action situations. Intelligent storylines and subtext also grew more prominent as evinced by movies such as director Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” series and “Inception.”

Even so, and despite a predictable plot and subpar acting, “The Last Stand” is an entertaining visit to the movies.

Schwarzenegger plays the sheriff in a small town near the Mexican border. An escaped drug lord is headed his direction in an attempt to flee the United States, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.

The sheriff and a handful of townspeople make a stand in their town to keep the villain from crossing the border.

There are plentiful explosions, gunfights, fast cars and old man jokes throughout the film. There also is a lot of blood. It seems liberal application of blood and guts is a recurring theme in movies featuring older action stars.

It’s not a bad step back into the film world for Schwarzenegger. It’s your typical old-school action flick. The acting’s not great, but audiences of “The Last Stand” aren’t looking for an Academy Award-winner. The movie is packed with the action and cheesy humor one would expect.

The film also stars Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”), Eduardo Noriega (“Vantage Point”), Luis Guzman (“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”), Jaimie Alexander (“Thor”), Rodrigo Santoro (“What to Expect When You’re Expecting”) and funnyman Johnny Knoxville.

One distracting performance in the film is Swedish actor Peter Stormare (“Lockout”) trying to speak with a country accent. His dialect comes off inconsistent; it’s hard to tell if that was his intention because the accent floats in and out.

But the star who steals the show is the modified Corvette ZR1 the villain uses to attempt his escape. It’s one cool car.

“The Last Stand” serves its purpose, delivers fun and humorous action and is a good first trip back to the screen for Schwarzenegger. It won’t rank near the top of his action resume, but will entertain die-hard fans — particularly those with an appreciation for old-school action beats.

To check out films in Schwarzenegger’s action heyday look for “The Terminator,” “Commando,” “Predator,” “Terminator 2,” “The Running Man” or, if in a comedic mood, “Kindergarten Cop.”

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com For movie reviews visit her reporter page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Becca-Owsley/96924584861.

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