The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 2.4.13 Issue #244: The Last Stand (2013)
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #244: The Last Stand (2013)
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that thinks owning a pool would be cool if the pool took care of itself, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number two hundred and forty-four, I take a look at The Last Stand, Ahnold Schwarzenegger’s full on return to the big screen. It hasn’t done all that well at the domestic box office, but there’s still a chance it could be playing in a movie theatre near you. Maybe.
The Last Stand (2013)
The Last Stand, directed by Jee-woon Kim, stars Ahnold as Ray Owens, the sheriff of Sommerton Junction, a small Arizona town that’s only a stone’s throw away from the Mexican border. In the middle of what is expected to be a quiet weekend (the local high school football team has a big game in a different city and most of the town is going to see the game), Owens and his small group of deputies (Sarah Torrance, as played by Jaimie Alexander; Mike Figuerola, as played by Luis Guzman; and Jerry Bailey, as played by Zach Gilford) end up having to deal with a heavily armed band of mercenaries, led by a man named Burrell (Peter Stormare), who work for escaped Mexican drug kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega). As Cortez races towards Sommerton in a stolen super Corvette with an FBI agent as a hostage (Ellen Richards, as played by Genesis Rodriguez), Owens and his deputies find out they’re incredibly outmanned and outgunned. Owens deputizes drunken war vet Frank Martinez (Rodrigo Santoro) and town gun nut wacko Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville) to add to his force.
Now, had the movie been all about Owens and his team’s attempt to keep the town walled off from Cortez and his mercenaries it probably would have worked a little better than it does. However, on top of Owens’ plight, we see FBI agent John Bannister (Forrest Whitaker) trying to figure out where Cortez is going, how his mercenaries managed to break him out of jail, and how best to take Cortez down. While these segments are kind of interesting on their own, they don’t really fit in with the rest of the movie. It’s almost like the Whitaker section of the movie should be its own movie. We do get some nifty action scenes out of this section, but, on the whole, these scenes just drag the rest of the movie down.
That’s not to say that the Owens section of the movie couldn’t use some trimming. It takes way too long to find out what the heck Burrell and his team are really up to. I’m also confused by the super car that Cortez drives. It’s essentially a race car with a big ass engine (we see it go close to 200 mph). I understand the reason for wanting to escape via a super car, but we never see the car refuel once. Even if the car is super fuel efficient, etc, it would still have to stop somewhere for gas. We get to see Cortez’s mercenaries destroying a state police road block and a truck filled with an FBI SWAT team. Why aren’t there any scenes where we see Cortez pulling off to the side of the road to get gas at a waiting truck or something? I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world wondering about that.
It sounds like I’m bitching, doesn’t it? Well, even with my issues, I still think that The Last Stand is a pretty good action flick and a relatively solid big screen return for star Schwarzenegger. He looked a little rusty in The Expendables 2, but that rust has mostly worn off here. His line delivery isn’t as smooth as it used to be, but he still knows how to look good while firing a gun or beating the crap out of a guy. He engages in a pretty good fight with Cortez at the end, and he has two great “shooting a bad guy in the head” scenes: in one, we get to see Owens shoot a bad guy in the head at point blank range with a shotgun and it’s all onscreen (automatic entry on the “Greatest Movie of All Time” list, also known as the “Dolph Lundgren Award for Cinematic Excellence”), and in another we get to see Owens shoot a guy in the head while tackling him in mid-air. How often do you see that kind of thing in an action movie?
And Whitaker, despite having a non-essential role, does a good job anyway as Agent Bannister. I’d love to see the whole movie he’s acting in here. If he’s up to it, he should do more action movies in general. Luis Guzman does his usual great job as Deputy Mike Figuerola. You’ll cheer when you see him wielding a Tommy gun and taking down the bad guys. Jamie Alexander is kind of dull as Deputy Torrance, at least at the beginning. She starts to grow on you when you find out what a crack shot she is. Santoro is good, too, as Frank Martinez, although it would have been nice if he had some chemistry with Torrance, his love interest (their scenes together just don’t spark the way they need to).
Johnny Knoxville is perhaps a little too over the top as town weirdo gun nut Lewis Dinkum, but Knoxville is just too charismatic to completely hate. You totally believe that he not only carries around a massive handgun for no reason other than he wants to and that he has a working World War II Gatling gun in his “gun museum” that is so ridiculous it can’t possibly be real but there it is. And the scene where he tries to take down a power pole is one of the movie’s top goofball moments.
Zach Gilford is good as Deputy Jerry Bailey. You really feel for him when he starts whining about how there’s no action in Sommerton Junction because you know that as soon as he’s done whining he’s going to get all of the action he can handle. He really should have taken Owens’ advice about “action.” Owens used to work in Los Angeles and was involved in all kinds of action. It never ends well for anyone.
Eduardo Noriega is appropriately sleazy as escaped kingpin Gabriel Cortez. I wish we go to see more from him in terms of fighting and gunplay, but he does get to have a big fight with Owens at the end that’s pretty cool. And, at least for a moment, I have to say he convinced me that Owens should take the big ass bribe. Very few villains are that charismatic. As for Peter Stormare as Burrell, he’s just outstanding. He basically plays the same villain in every movie he’s a villain in, but it’s always a worthwhile performance. And I think it’s just cool that, for absolutely no reason, Burrell uses old school western six-shooters. Why wouldn’t he use modern weapons like his bad ass mercenary underlings? Because that’s just not his style, man. It’s not his style.
The great Harry Dean Stanton has a nifty cameo as a cantankerous farmer who just wants to be left alone, and, according to imdb.com, the Sonny Landham appears as someone named Henry. I don’t remember seeing Landham in the movie, and I sure as hell don’t remember anyone named Henry. Did anyone out there notice Landham in the movie? Anyone?
Be on the lookout for a cool final car chase in a giant field, and for some of the nastiest gun shot wounds in recent movie history. I mean, a guy gets cut in half via machine gun fire in this movie, and it’s done so nonchalantly that you end up in awe of it. You have to have balls not to make a big deal out of a scene like that. Congrats Jee-woon Kim.
The Last Stand isn’t a great action flick, but it’s a good comeback flick for Ahnold. Since very few people bothered to go see it in theatres, I’m hoping that they’ll catch it on DVD and television. The movie isn’t bad and deserves a chance. If it’s still playing at a theatre near you, go see it. You won’t be disappointed.
See The Last Stand. See it, see it, see it. And welcome back, Ahnold. We all missed you.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: At least 20.
Explosions: Several, some of them big ones.
Doobage: A donut eating cop, a car that’s clocked at 197 mph, boat shoes, a car parked in a fire zone, people shooting big guns at big slabs of meat, a seriously bloody nose, fucking around with a big ass gun, candy, a Royal Purple truck, a nasty warning shot, an old computer, beer drinking, knuckle cracking, late night prisoner transfer, a giant magnet, arm breaking, exploding van door, vehicular assault, bullet through the top of the head with gushing blood, a room full of prisoners, a goofy interpreter, a massive road block, serious cop killing, a mega snow plow, reading glasses, shotgun blast to the head at point blank range and we get to see it, rocket launcher attack, exploding police car, a mobile assault bridge, a wild flip, a car using a SWAT van as a ramp, clip loading, a bloody tissue, multiple deputizing, a Nazi killing gun, old guys eating breakfast, attempted light pole destruction, car blasting, more rocket launcher stuff, Tommy gun attack, a nasty shoulder wound, bullet to the head through a windshield, guy gets cut in half via big machine gun in the back of a school bus, door smashing, glass shard in the leg, shooting a guy in mid air after tackling him, flare gun to the back, ammo belt fire, exploding bad guy, old woman with a gun, shotgun attack, ear removal, a nice bullet to the head, a car chase through a cornfield, car roof decapitation, an obvious blue screen, a fight on a bridge, a gut wrench suplex, attempted arm breaking, a power bomb with potential spine breaking, dirty knife play, knife to the leg, a bloody beat down, a funny one car parade, and a wound off.
Kim Richards?: None.
Gratuitous:A cop eating a donut, a super car, Ahnold Schwarzenegger, Ahnold Schwarzenegger playing an old guy, Ahnold Schwarzenegger wearing boat shoes on his day off, Peter Stormare, Luis Guzman, Johnny Knoxville, Johnny Knoxville acting like a major idiot, people shooting big guns at big slabs of meat, a Royal Purple truck, Harry Dean Stanton, Harry Dean Stanton as a farmer, Ahnold Schwarzenegger sitting on his porch drinking a beer, Forest Whitaker, a giant magnet, multiple zip lines, bullet through the top of the head with gushing blood, a room full of prisoners, a super car that apparently doesn’t need to be refueled, shotgun blast to the head at point blank range and we get to see it, rocket launcher attack, a mobile assault bridge, a wild flip, Ahnold Schwarzenegger loading a clip, multiple quick “You’re deputized” scenes, Luis Guzman with a sword, Luis Guzman using a Tommy gun, a guy gets cut in half via massive machine gun fire, Ahnold Schwarzenegger telling everyone he feels old, glass shard to the leg, Ahnold Schwarzenegger tackling a guy in mid-air and shooting him in the head, flare gun to the back, exploding ammo belt, an old woman with a gun, Ahnold Schwarzenegger going batshit with a shotgun, Peter Stormare using old school six-shooters, a corn field car chase, car roof decapitation, an obvious blue screen, a brutal bridge fight, a funny one car parade, and a wound off.
Best lines: “I’m not a big crowd guy,” “No more of those big omelets, okay?,” “What’s up, Ray?,” “Can someone tell me what two-thirds of my force is doing out here shooting rockets at a slab of beef?,” “Get the hell off my property!,” “That was awkward,” “L.A. is not all you think it is,” “Oh, you think I’m an idiot?,” “Why are you dressed like that?,” “I got a psychopath in a Batmobile,” “Hamburgler, you want to try the door first?,” “So much for blowing him up. Shut the fuck up!,” “NVG’s on. Kill the lights. Now,” “Look, I don’t know you and I don’t answer to you,” “Don’t try to see death coming. You won’t,” “Are you still as good a shot as you used to be?,” “Jesus Christ, Lewis!,” “What do you think you are, fighting in a crusade?,” “Do you have stupid names for all your shit? Only the shit I love,” “Time for a turkey shoot,” “What the hell is that?,” “Look at that ass!,” “Welcome to Sommerton!,” “How are you, Sheriff? Old,” “Does this mean I’m forgiven? Probably,” “No trespassing. Quiet, granny,” “Put the hurt on’em, Ray!,” “Who the hell are you? I’m the sheriff!,” “You fucked up my car. You fucked up my day off,” “You should have taken the money, old man,” “My honor is not for sale. Fuck your honor!,” “You are under arrest,” “Impressive. Impressive,” and “Ray, what the hell happened to my car? Next time don’t park it in a fire zone. Schmuck.”
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!
Please check out The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which can be seen here. There’s not much there at the moment, but, as time goes by, expect to see daily questions and musings and other B-movie hooey. And it would be cool if you “liked” it, too.
“Traffic laws don’t apply to me. I’m Michael fucking Knight, bitch.”
- Why is Michael Knight always allowed to speed?: I never noticed this before, but Michael Knight sure does speed a lot on Knight Rider. Either when he’s pursuing someone as part of an assignment or just when he’s driving around aimlessly waiting for Devon to call him to give him an assignment, Michael Knight is always speeding while driving KITT. Why is he allowed to do this?
I know Knight works for the Foundation for Law and Government, a sort of private security operation that works in conjunction with the government, but it’s not like he’s a real cop. When he’s pursuing a bad guy he doesn’t turn a siren on like a cop would while chasing a suspect. So why aren’t the cops going after him, pulling him over and giving him huge tickets for speeding like a maniac? Does KITT have the ability to mess around with police speed guns and that’s why Michael Knight is able to avoid getting pulled over?
And how many times do we see Knight actually stop for a red light or a stop sign? He just seems to drive through all of them like they’re not even there.
And look at Super Pursuit Mode. When engaged, SPM allows KITT to go 300 miles per hour. He’s doing that speed on city streets and curvy country/desert roads. How does Knight not crash into anything or hit a pedestrian? Is it all luck?
Am I the only person thinking about this kind of stuff?
“Come on, fellas. Fuck with me. I dare ya.”
- I think people would watch a show where Ed Asner carried a big shotgun and blasted bad guys every episode: I’m not sure why Asner would be carrying a shotgun and shooting at bad guys every week, but I think the specific details are sort of irrelevant. People like Ed Asner. If he shot at bad guys with a huge shotgun every week people would watch, cheer, and probably buy merchandise.
Think about it. An action figure that’s like 6 inches tall with changeable guns (maybe one episode Asner ditches the shotgun and uses an old WWII submachine gun, or maybe a gangster Tommy gun). A T-shirt with a pic of Asner, shotgun in hand, asking you to f*ck with him. Maybe a cell phone game where you play the game as Asner. The merchandise would sell out quickly.
And think about this. Maybe he doesn’t just have to shoot bad guys every episode. Maybe he takes out zombies one week, or some kind of alien mutant monster. Or maybe he has to shoot at a clone of himself? I think that episode could get Asner another Emmy nomination.
It’ll never happen, of course. The world just isn’t cool enough to allow it to happen. We all have our imaginations, though.
Ed Asner. With a shotgun. Every week. Mondays at 10pm. Appointment television.
“Next week, guest star Rob Reiner arrives in town with his shotgun ready to help Ed out. Will they work well as a team, or will there just be too many bad guys to overcome? Watch and find out!”
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
Oh, I couldn’t resist. It’s Ahnold, man.
Do you read Phantom of the Movies Videoscope?
Phantom of the Movies Videoscope is a quarterly movie magazine that mostly deals with genre and cult movies. It features various movie reviews and interviews with actors and directors. It’s put out by Joe Kane, the Phantom of the magazine title (he’s also the author of the great book Night of the Living Dead: Behind the Scenes of the Most Terrifying Zombie Movie Ever,which you can get from amazon here). You can get the magazine at good book stores, comic book joints, and via the magazine’s official website.
Read Phantom of the Movies Videoscope! Yeah!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Christiana Leucas
Things to Watch Out For This Week
- Alex Cross: I missed this movie when it was in theatres. It didn’t get great reviews but I thought it looked pretty cool. How does Tyler Perry fare as an action hero? Is Mathew Fox as freaky as he looks as the movie’s villain? I can’t wait to find out for myself.
- Deadfall: Why didn’t this movie get a wider theatrical release? With Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde in the cast you’d think it would have gotten at least 1,000 screens. I’m not sure if it’s worth owning, but it’s got to be worth at least a rental. Anyone out there see this?
- Here Comes the Boom: This is another movie that I missed that I thought looked pretty decent. The trailer is hilarious (I love the missed dunk thing at the end), and I’m a big fan of Doug Heffernan (also known as Kevin James in some circles. Ha). I’m surprised that this didn’t do better at the box office. It’s PG, and James has shown that he can open a movie. Why didn’t families show up? The Fonz is in it for the love of God. The Fonz!
- Joseph Campbell and Power of Myth with Bill Moyers: According to amazon this is a new edition of this excellent documentary series featuring mythologist Joseph Campbell. You may have seen it on PBS back in the day (I saw it in a college class about Greek mythology). There’s another DVD set of this series out there, but this one has a full interview with George Lucas on it, so you may want to get this one if you don’t have that previous one. I know I’ll be looking into it.
- Caught on Tape: This is some sort of low budget crime flick. It stars and is directed by the second Blade, Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones. Vivicia A. Fox, Cedric the Entertainer, the Bokeem Woodbine, and Malik Yoba also appear. Definitely worth a rental.
- Mafia: Yet another low budget action flick starring Ving Rhames. I guess he just likes to work (he’s got that new show on TNT, too, the one where he’s a doctor or something). The T-1000 hisself Robert Patrick and Pam Grier are also in this. I like the trailer. Another worthy rental movie.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
“Is that a dick in my face?”
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to Chris Culliver of the San Francisco 49ers, for outing himself as a raging homophobe (he told comedian Artie Lange during Super Bowl media day last week, that he wouldn’t accept a gay teammate and that he didn’t want to be in a locker room with an out gay player). Culliver eventually apologized, claiming that he was just saying what was in his head but that it wasn’t in his heart, but that’s all just public relations nonsense. He doesn’t like fags. Just admit it, own it, and move on, or, I don’t know, stop being a homophobe. But don’t tell everyone that you’re just being misunderstood. It’s ridiculous.
“I am just so persecuted.”
Up next is rapper Chris Brown, for comparing himself to Jesus. Yep, Chris Brown, who likes to beat women, is a martyr to a much larger cause. He’s been persecuted for what he believes and everyone is really out to get him.
Come on, what kind of bullshit is this? Why would anyone want to hang out with this fucking asshole? You beat women, Chris. You have a violent temper that’s going to continue to get you into trouble. The world is not out to get you. Please, stop the martyr crap and get some real help.
That goes for Rhianna, too. Get some help and get away from this guy. He’s bad, bad news.
And finally there’s Beyonce, for holding a press conference to “deal” with the Presidential Inauguration national anthem lip synching scandal. What exactly was there to “deal with” that necessitated a full on press conference that ended with her singing the national anthem live? Why couldn’t she just send out a press release fessing up to the pre-recorded song? Wouldn’t that have been a little less ridiculous?
Of course it would have. Or she could have just ignored it. The world knows she can sing. The pop culture world would have forgotten about the inauguration in a few weeks. Was it done to help build up her Super Bowl half-time show?
Why does everything have to be super ridiculous? Why?
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
Man, there’s so little news right now in both NASCAR and Indycar it’s pathetic, especially NASCAR. Daytona is only a few weeks away and still, it’s like there’s a media blackout or something. Perhaps the NASCAR publicity brain trust is waiting until after the hoopla surrounding the Super Bowl dies down. Maybe we’ll see some actual news by the end of this week?
The biggest news in Indycar is Dario Franchitti’s divorce from wide of twelve years Ashley Judd. According to the various celebrity gossip scandal sheets and TV programs and websites that deal with this kind of thing, there was no indication before the couple made a joint announcement that they were having marital issues. For a celebrity couple they were about as clean cut as a celebrity couple can get. My guess is this was a mutual agreement between the two based on Judd’s potential run for Senate from Kentucky. If she runs for Senate she can’t live in Scotland. Franchitti’s home country, half the year. And maybe running for office will fuck around with Franchitti’s ability to be a good race car driver, so the decision was made to just go their separate ways. If Judd does end up running and loses, maybe she’ll “reconcile” with Dario and they’ll get married again.
Of course, if we see Franchitti out and about with some new babe, maybe there were real marital issues and we just didn’t know about them. It’s sad regardless. They seemed like a happy couple.
And the biggest news in NASCAR is the arrest of former Nationwide, Camping World Trucks, and now Sprint Car star Tyler Walker for drug possession after leading the police on a three state chase. According to a story on yahoo, Walker was caught speeding in Nevada, and then was chased through Arizona into Utah. When he was finally apprehended, Walker was found to have meth, marijuana, and other drug paraphernalia. Walker was suspended by NASCAR back in 200 for violating its drug testing policy.
Walker was caught on video in a rage in the pits at Williams Grove last summer. The footage is both hilarious and sad. Walker was a pretty good driver who could have been a big success if he hadn’t fucked around with drugs. You never want to see that kind of thing happen anywhere.
Only two weeks until Daytona qualifying and the Sprint Unlimited. I can’t wait.
Well, I think that’ll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there’s anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
The Last Stand
Ahnold Schwarzenegger- Ray Owens
Forest Whitaker- Agent John Bannister
Peter Stormare- Burrell
Eduardo Noriega- Gabriel Cortez
Luis Guzman- Mike Figuerola
Jamie Alexander- Sarah Torrance
Johnny Knoxville- Lewis Dinkum
Rodrigo Santoro- Frank Martinez
Zach Gilford- Jerry Bailey
Genesis Rodriquez- Agent Ellen Richards
Christiana Leucas- Christie
Harry Dean Stanton- Farmer
Directed by Jee-woon Kim
Screenplay by Andrew Knauer, with a rewrite by Jeffrey Nachmanoff and George Nolfi as the writing supervisor
Distributed by Lionsgate
Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Runtime- 107 minutes