Kevin: For our first Tough Guy Challenge we tried to see if Bruce Willis superfan CJ could find something to like about the notorious flop “Hudson Hawk;” as I feared the answer was no. CJ and I figured we’d have better luck this time with 2013’s “The Last Stand,” Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first attempt at reviving his movie career following his stint as California Governor. Counting ourselves as among the few who actually caught it in theaters, CJ and I had a great time with “The Last Stand,” and figured we’d challenge Mike to finally watch it and see if our enthusiasm was contagious. Well, let’s find out:
Mike: I can’t believe I’m actually watching this, but I’m firing it up and recording my thoughts in real time …
- This movie is one hour and 47 minutes long?! The Lionsgate intro isn’t even over yet and I can already think of some stuff that should probably be edited out.
- I have an issue when subtitles come on screen for things we don’t need to know. In this case the opening shot is a cop eating donuts in his squad car with the subtitle “9 Miles Outside of Las Vegas.” Yeah I’m sure that’s super important if they’re telling us. We’ll see! Why do I think this cop is about to get on the radio and scream, “This is Unit 54, I’m about 9 miles outside Vegas on I-90 and I need backup now!” Nope, as I suspected, it was completely pointless! Plus there’s a map showing us Las Vegas. God I hate that shit.
- Does a movie exist where Arnold is riding in a normal car, or is it in his contract that it always has to be a pickup truck or bigger?
- I’ll say this, the waitress at the diner Arnold sits in while he meets Peter Stormare’s character for the first time is a knockout. If she is featured in at least 85 percent of this movie I may be more forgiving. (Kevin: Not even close I’m afraid.)
- Johnny Knoxville is really acting the shit out of his part! I wonder if he got his formal training at Stella Adler.
- So this movie takes place in some backwoods armpit of small town America, yet almost all of the stars are from other countries with the accents to match. Rodrigo Santoro talking about how he served his country in Iraq is especially jarring.
- Jesus Christ, Harry Dean Stanton is in this too?! Wait, he just got shot in the head. Okay Harry Dean Stanton WAS in this. Good use of him.
- “This is a top secret mission and we’ll be traveling under the radar,” says Forrest Whitaker to a room full of way too many people. If it was top secret and you wanted to be under the radar, why not just move the cartel boss in a cube truck in the middle of the night instead of a convoy of 12 vehicles?
- The electromagnet that picks up the drug boss’ van is so powerful that keys and weapons stick to the ceiling, but not his shackles?
- NOTHING can catch the bad guy’s 1,000-horsepower supercar, and apparently all the government resources in the world can’t scramble one single helicopter to follow it. “The ZR-1 is faster than any chopper,” says the FBI geek who sure knows a lot about the awesomeness of this new model of Chevrolet Corvette, which totally didn’t invest in this movie at all I’m sure. That might be the FBI’s justification as to why they don’t have it under surveillance, but here’s the thing with that guys, you can have a lot of helicopters in the sky at once at various places and they can easily track it that way. Or with satellites. Or with Twitter for that matter.
- Another thing I can’t stand is helicopters that are flying basically at street level. There’s no reason for this and there never has been! Also, once again we find out what time it is. Who gives a fuck what time it is?!
- The cartel had to make this snowplow Mack truck just in case huh? Good thing it came in handy.
- The FBI helicopter doesn’t have night vision or thermal imaging cameras?! Cortez the drug lord shuts off his headlights and the helicopter loses him instantly. DUMB.
- Arnold has a bad feeling after the murder of Harry Dean Stanton’s farmer character, then he gets a call from Forrest Whitaker informing him that a fugitive is coming his way and he’s sending a SWAT team over. How does Arnold handle this? He hangs up on the FBI and fills in Luis Guzman. Great job sheriff.
- Worst mercenaries ever. They can’t even kill two dumbass deputies. Even when they have automatic weapons, superior numbers, and the element of surprise.
- The cartel boss with unlimited money and resources, who can have snow plow trucks and countless armed men at the ready, is crossing the border on a man-made bridge? This is as he is speeding all over town in a stolen concept car. Why can’t he just fly over? Or walk? OR DO ANY NUMBER OF THINGS?!
- Forrest Whitaker asks a fellow agent to pull financials for everyone in the division to see who is being bribed. What if Cortez is the one being bribed?! Also he asks this in the middle of the room for all to hear, so if you were the one being bribed you would know the jig was up and you needed to escape.
- Great pep talk Arnold gives his terrified deputy. She comes into his office to talk about how frightened she is, and his words of wisdom are, “I’m probably more scared than you right now, because I’ve seen so much blood and death that I know what’s coming.” Great, thanks for that. I’m much calmer now.
- The road block Arnold and his team set up is pretty fucking pathetic, and I think anyone with even one Hummer could easily move those cars.
- Peter Stormare uses a handgun that hasn’t been in production since 1860. That makes sense. When leading a tactical unit you really want a reliable firearm like a 150-year old black powder cowboy pistol that you can’t even load regular bullets into. Here’s a video on what it takes just to load this weapon:
- Luiz Guzman doesn’t die when the car he’s hiding behind is destroyed with a bazooka?!
- Worst mercenaries ever, Part 2. They should have been able to take out these jabronis in five minutes.
- Why does Arnold drive a school bus through his own road block?!
- In this movie bullets don’t go through anything. Any cover at all is enough to save you, even if you were hiding behind one of those tissue-thin banners all the high school footballers run through.
- I hate this fucking movie.
- The ZR-1 has 1,000 horsepower, and apparently so does the stock Camaro Arnold is driving in pursuit.
- “You make us immigrants looks bad.” Finally some much-needed social commentary! (Kevin: Wait Arnold wasn’t born in America, how come no one told me?)
- Oh my god … I can’t stand it when bad guys pull mystery weapons out. If Cortez and Arnold are fighting to the death, why is Cortez waiting until he’s basically knocked unconscious and out of commission before he pulls a knife out? Start the fight with the knife in your fucking hand dumbass!
- Why does this guy care so much about going back to prison? He escaped once, he can easily do it again. Latin drug lords seem to do it all the time, it doesn’t seem that hard.
- Why didn’t he have an army of Mexican mercenaries on the other side of the border just in case? There is literally no one there.
- Arnold falls off a building, gets stabbed, probably shot at some point. But of course no medical attention required!
I will never forgive you guys for making me watch this shit. I don’t understand how this happened. How did this story get told to somebody, and that somebody told a bunch of other people, and then they raised money and got a studio behind it and cast stars and actually filmed it. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!
There isn’t even a single clever one-liner. I was waiting for Peter Stormare to say, “I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot the deputy” for the whole movie!
CJ: Clearly you were not listening to all of Johnny Knoxville’s classic gems!
Kevin: Yeah what are you talking about Mike? When Stormare says, “Who are you?” before pulling his gun, Arnold shoots him in the head and says, “I’m the sheriff!” Actually now that I think about that it’s not really a great comeback, he’s just stating the basic fact that he is the sheriff of this town. It’s not like anyone was doubting his sheriff powers earlier.
Either way I love this movie but maybe you had to see it in a theater. I saw this in this second and last weekend of its release at the Alamo Drafthouse in one of the smallest theaters I’ve ever seen; it literally had like 8 seats total. I think they normally use that for Chilean documentaries about the Pinochet regime, not Arnold Schwarzenegger action flicks.
No matter what, us small band of brothers in that matinee showing had a blast, and the people behind me applauded enthusiastically when Arnold not only took that bad guy off the roof but shot him in the head on the way down. After it was over I immediately called CJ and told him to see this in a theater as soon as possible because it was not going to be around for very long.
Put it this way Mike, which would you have had more fun seeing in a theater with CJ and Anthony, this or “Sabotage” (see the end of review of “Suicide Squad” for our thoughts on that).
I also love that not only does that one geeky FBI guy have a lot of knowledge about the awesomeness of the Corvette ZR1 that he’s been waiting to impart, but later we hear that not only is this drug lord one of the FBI’s Most Wanted, but he also drove race cars under a different name in South America!
And once again Hollywood has this strange idea that putting Forest Whitaker into this kind of role gives your movie credibility (see “Taken 3,” in which he basically plays the same exact character, except this time he fiddles with a rubber band a lot). At this point anytime I see an action film with a sympathetic FBI character, I just assume Forest Whitaker is going to show up and either go through the motions or latch on to some annoying actorly quirk for the duration, just as any time I watch a movie set in the ancient Middle East or Biblical times I am counting the minutes for Ben Kingsley to make an appearance.
Mike: As this movie was on I actually thought to myself, “Finally a movie worse than ‘Sabotage’,” and I’ve never thought that about anything related to “Sabotage,” movie or otherwise! I saw a dead rat flat as a pancake on 2nd Ave. this afternoon, and even then I thought, “Sabotage was worse.” But yes, seeing it in a group setting with you boys would have made it 10 times more enjoyable than watching it alone in my bathroom as I tried to force out a stubborn shit.
Kevin: Well on that we can at least agree. While we couldn’t convert Mike to our side, CJ and I still contend that “The Last Stand” is a fun action flick with some good old fashioned R-rated violence and a committed performance by Arnold. It’s also by far the best movie he has done since he retired from politics, although admittedly the bar is set pretty low on that score. But while we are divided on “The Last Stand,” let’s end with something we can all enjoy: a clip from the 1983 Brazilian Carnival travel documentary “Party in Rio,” in which Arnold dances, extols the virtues of “gorgeous mulata bodies,” and finally reveals his favorite body part on a woman. Yep, it’s the ass: