The Last Stand [Blu-Ray] Kim Jee-woon

The Last Stand [Blu-Ray] Kim Jee-woon
8
There is a great deal of respect for Arnold Schwarzenegger pervading the supplemental material of the action hero's return to the big screen, The Last Stand. From veteran character actor Luis Guzman describing how surreal it was to work alongside someone he's grown up watching to stunt coordinators praising Schwarzenegger for how easy he is to teach hand-to-hand combat, everyone's awestruck working on his comeback film after two terms as "the Governator" of California. Fortunately, there is plenty of reason to praise Korean director Kim Jee-Woon's (The Good, the Bad and the Weird) English-language debut, as he has crafted an action film that finds room for a halfway-decent story amidst its more electrifying sequences. Ray (Schwarzenegger) is the sheriff of a small town on the Mexican border where everyone seems to know each other and very little excitement ever occurs. Meanwhile, miles away, FBI agent John Bannister (Forrest Whitaker) is leading the transfer of death-row prisoner Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), a dangerous drug cartel kingpin. When Cortez manages to pull off a daring escape with a police hostage in tow, he heads straight for the border, evading the authorities in a flashy, powerful automobile. This leads him directly into the path of Ray and his ragtag team of officers and mercenaries (a group that includes Guzman and Johnny Knoxville), where they reluctantly attempt to fortify the town in anticipation of a violent showdown. Admittedly, part of the thrill is the chance to see Schwarzenegger back in the saddle, but he proves savvy in selecting this project as his return to moviegoers' consciousness, surrounding himself with an able supporting cast and talented director. It builds steadily to an extremely satisfying climax that provides enough one-liners and stylized carnage to help solidify this as one of Schwarzenegger's better efforts in an already impressive resume. Aside a healthy selection of the usual deleted and extended scenes, the extras on the disc include a half-hour making-of documentary that goes beyond (while still including) the requisite mutual platitudes about what a pleasant experience was had by all. Some of the more interesting passages detail a complicated shot during Cortez's escape that involved cameras travelling along a zip line and the inherent difficulties of attempting to choreograph a car chase scene in a cornfield. All of this is even more impressive considering the fact much translation was needed between the director, his crew and the actors in order for everyone to understand at all times what's trying to be accomplished. (Alliance)