Kim Jee-woon is currently six for six as a director, and that’s pretty goddamn unprecedented. He’s made six features, and none of them are any less than “very good.” He’s also shown considerable range moving from dramatic comedy (The Foul King, The Quiet Family) to horror (A Tale of Two Sisters) to awesome (A Bittersweet Life, The Good the Bad the Weird, I Saw the Devil), and now he’s coming to America.
We’d be lying if we said the announcement of his intent to make a Hollywood film didn’t feel us with fear and trepidation because many brilliant foreign directors have crossed our borders only to see their talents sucked away by the studio system. The addition of Arnold Schwarzenegger as his new film’s lead helped a little, but the worry was still there.
The Last Stand is about a small town sheriff on the Mexican border whose quiet day off is shattered when he gets word that a drug kingpin has escaped from an FBI convoy and is headed straight for the border… by way of Schwarzenegger’s sleepy little town. The villain has a cadre of heavily armed friends helping his run, and the former California governor is all that stands between him and freedom. Peter Stormare, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, Luis Guzman, and Jaime Alexander are all along for the ride. Check out the trailer below.
Can you guess what our only concern is now? Better yet, can you guess who…? If you said “the jackass from The Ringer?” then pat yourself on the back. Knoxville seems to be channeling someone, shall we say, special, for his role here, and it does not look appealing. Hopefully he’s in less of the actual film than the trailer suggests, but there’s a real chance that his “comedic appeal” may be used far too often here.
Still, he’d pretty much have to be in every other frame to ruin the movie. Schwarzenegger is looking good, and concerns about him being over the hill have been muted by that factor actually playing into the character. When he pops his head into frame to say “I’m old” the bit works beautifully. Screw his glorified cameos in The Expendables movies…this is Arnie’s return to form.
The rest of the supporting cast does little to add or detract from the film. Stormare and Whitaker consistently give the same performances in these types of movies, so expect some fun scenery chewing there. And it’s nice to see that Miss Alexander brought the same pop-up town from Thor with her…
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