First off, I would just like to say thank you to anybody who read my last post and gave me a kind word or a Like on Facebook. All of your kindness really means a lot to me, and in many ways 2013 is off to a good start. My previous record for most views in one day was 18, I think that was for my John Carter post, but my last one got 25 in one day, which pretty much obliterated my previous record. It also helped me pass 500 total views! I have no idea if that’s a lot in the blogging world, but it’s a personal landmark for me so I just wanted to say thank you everybody for supporting me.
I know after my last rather emotional post I said I was going to write about something cheery like a Pixar movie, which I am still planning on doing sometime. But before I get to that, a fellow by the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger came out with a new movie last week, which I enjoyed so much that I’m going to have to put the Pixar movie temporarily on hold.
Like many other people, I was extremely disappointed with Arnold when it came out that he had fathered a child with one of his family’s maids or something and had been keeping it a secret for years. Damn, dude, you really broke my heart on that one. I’m still a huge fan of his movies, to me they are as entertaining as they ever were, but the recent revelations about his personal life are still disappointing. That’s what you get for thinking with a part of your anatomy other than your brain, I suppose. You lose a lot of the respect of one of your biggest fans.
But such is life, I suppose. Nothing anyone can do about it, so let’s move on.
The Governator’s latest movie, the rather generically-titled “The Last Stand,” is an old-school, kick-ass shoot ‘em up, full of blood and bullets. There’s not much plot, but there doesn’t really need to be. It’s kind of a modern-day Western, with the better-equipped, more numerous bad guys going up against veteran lawman Sheriff Ray Owens, played by Arnold, and his inexperienced-but-likable group of deputies, along with a local gun enthusiast played by Johnny Knoxville.
The basic plot setup is this: an infamous drug lord named Gabriel Cortez, whom we’re told is the most notorious drug baron since Pablo Escobar, is being transported to prison or whatever by FBI agents, led by Forest Whitaker. The drug lord promptly escapes and starts barreling toward the border in a souped-up Corvette with close to 1,000 horsepower. The only thing that stands between him and sanctuary in Mexico is Sheriff Owens and his semi-hapless but endearing deputies.
The deputies are an entertaining bunch. There’s Figuerola, aka Figgy, a portly Mexican fellow played by Luis Guzman, a likable actor you’ll probably recognize if you look him up. There’s Frank Martinez, a former Marine locked up for the weekend for drunk and disorderly, who also happens to be the ex-boyfriend of Sarah, played by the lovely Jaimie Alexander, whom you might recognize as Sif, the warrior gal from Thor. There’s also the hapless Jerry, who (SPOILER ALERT) gets killed before the final showdown, which made me sad. It was impossible not to like him. Throw in the Johnny Knoxville gun enthusiast and you’ve got a motley crew if ever there was one.
Part of the fun of movies like this is in rooting for the underdog, since Sheriff Owens and his plucky deputies are outmanned and outgunned by the drug baron’s small army of faceless henchmen, including Peter Stormare, a Swedish actor you might recognize as the thug who infamously put Steve Buscemi through a woodchipper in the Coen brothers’ “Fargo.” He has a weird accent in this movie, it almost seems like he’s trying to put a Southern accent over his Swedish accent, but he only remembers to do it about half the time so his accent ends up being kind of all over the place. But whatever, he’s still pretty badass.
The movie builds to an apocalyptic battle in Sheriff Arnold’s sleepy border town of Sommerton Junction, and what a battle it is. The movie is the English-language debut of director Kim Jee-Woon, a respected Korean filmmaker. I haven’t seen any of his Korean films, but maybe I’ll check some of them out now. Based on the evidence in The Last Stand, he’s a damn good action director. There’s a thrilling car chase through a cornfield at the end of the movie, which sounds preposterous and kind of is. It’s also kind of brilliant because half the time the two drivers can’t see where the other vehicle is. There’s a great shot where the camera pulls back and shows the two cars sitting about ten feet away from each other, and neither one is going anywhere because the corn is so thick that neither driver has the slightest clue where the other one is.
The movie is also appropriately self-deprecating, and Arnold pokes fun at his image a couple of times in amusing and audience-gratifying ways. During the final showdown with Cortez, Arnold says, “You give immigrants like us a bad name,” which is pretty hilarious.
Unfortunately, the movie completely tanked in its opening weekend, grossing a measly 6.3 million and barely making it into the top ten for the weekend box office. It is on track to be the biggest flop of the Governator’s long and storied career (insert obligatory joke about his stint as Governor of California here). This saddens me greatly. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie, and I heartily recommend it to my fellow action fans. It’s fun, funny, well-made, and action-packed from start to finish. In my humble opinion, Arnie may be in his sixties but he can still kick ass. Apparently a lot of people out there either didn’t agree or didn’t care. But will those doubters be able to pull a shard of glass out of one of their legs and keep kicking ass when they’re sixty-five? I think not.
Oh, well. I still enjoyed the movie. It was a ton of fun. There’s a scene where Figgy the portly Mexican deputy improbably survives a massive explosion and emerges from a cloud of smoke with machine-gun blazing, which made me want to stand up and shout “THE FAT MEXICAN SURVIVES!!” in the middle of the theater. I didn’t, but I certainly wanted to.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a movie to watch.