Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Because I have seen enough blood and death. I know what's coming.

Every summer when I was a kid, I was shipped off to my grandparent's house. I'm not talking for the weekend, either, as I would stay there for the entire summer. When I was around ten, it was really exciting and I always looked forward to it. As I got older, it was still a good time, but it became a little more work to fully appreciate them. Then, as I headed into college (nearby, actually), everything became so familiar, that it wasn't special anymore, it just was. Stories started to repeat themselves, day-trips were to the same places, and the meals, as delicious as they were, the meals had little variety. But no matter what, deep down, it all meant so much to me. I mean, who else almost cries every time you leave, other than your grandmother? Huh? Even when you tell her, I'll be back.

A part of many summer memories as well, is another all-time favorite of mine, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Looking back over his filmography, I can recall countless trips to the theater or video store, seeking out an Arnold flick. In the eighties and early nineties, everything was pure gold. From Conan the Barbarian to  Predator, The Running Man to Total Recall, each was more entertaining and quotable as the next.

Even as things would take a depressing turn in the late nineties, with flicks like The 6th Day and Collateral Damage, I was still showing up with a smile on my face. Whether it was because it reminded me of being a kid, or simply because I wanted to keep supporting someone who'd meant so much to my youth, I just kept going. And last Saturday, I went again.

The Last Stand isn't that good, frankly, though probably not as bad as the box office numbers would indicate. Schwarzenegger plays a sheriff, who is, you guessed it, too old for this shit. In his youth he was a narcotics cop in L.A., and apparently had been involved in some deep shit. While undercover as a kindergarten teacher, he killed a pregnant man and his borderline-midget twin brother. Or something like that. So, he ends up in a tiny border town in Arizona, in charge of quite possibly the least intimidating group of deputies ever assembled (including Fat Guy, Pretty Girl, Fodder Kid and Newly Trusted Criminal). Their mission? To stop a Mexican drug lord, who has escaped federal custody in Vegas and is now heading their way. Fast.

The arch enemy in most action movies isn't an unsavory foreigner, no, it's friggin' logic. And The Last Stand is no different. The whole existence of the titular last stand stems from the fact that the a-holes at the FBI can't catch a guy, get this, in a car. Seriously, that's his angle. Like a tyrannical Rain Man, he's an excellent driver. Apparently he used to race cars or some shit, and our head FBI guy (played by Forest Whitaker), even tells us, He's good. I've seen him. At that moment I imagined Whitaker in his goofy Vantage Point tourist gear, enjoying a day at the races. And I wanted to cry. Luckily, they cut back to Arnold, and all was right again.

Speaking of getting to the good parts, let's break out the Yays and Boos. They're anxiously awaiting the sequel to Twins, Triplets. Yeah, I couldn't believe it either.

This is because that kid wouldn't stop eating all the lunches.
  • Obviously, just seeing the big guy headlining a movie is the ultimate Yay. Especially when he drops an old school mutha f--ka.
  • Nostalgia. When the sexy FBI lady sternly said All quiet in the rear entrance! I snickered to myself, just like I would've back in high school.
  • The second roadblock attempt, though absurd, featured a mammoth cow-catcher! Yeah, I'm cheering for train parts, f--k you.
  • Despite the occasional misstep with CGI blood, the level of violence was commendable. The final shootout was very solid, especially seeing that doucher get his ear blown off. Sweet.
  • But my favorite on screen death? Oh, that goes to the guy that Arnold not only tackled off a roof, but shot in the head on the way down. Vintage stuff, there.
  • Shit. I forgot about the guy who was literally blown in half. That's probably why you shouldn't wear lots of bullets to a gunfight.
  • Even though it's pretty laughable in this one, my man parts will forever tingle during a classic gearing up scene. Lots of concentrating faces checking scopes and of course, cocking hammers. 
  • And finally, the old school finale. You can never, ever go wrong with two guys fighting on a bridge. Especially when one of those guys gets suplexed. By Arnold F--king Schwarzenegger.
Ghost Dog would've handled this shit, no doubt.
  • Forest Whitaker. Sure, your character is an incompetent prick, but way too many of your scenes completely baffled me. I felt like I was watching outtakes. Especially the interrogation of Orange Jumpsuit Guy. Just awful.
  • Sure this is Vegas and all, but I think Danny Ocean's smash-and-grab plan wasn't as extensive as this one. Ridiculous!
  • While the FBI was terrible on all accounts, a special f--k you must be bestowed upon the Mexican Ashton Kutcher. Not only did I hate his face, but he was a total douche. The only reason his performance is acceptable, is if he's someone's illegitimate son. 
  • Clearly, I love Arnold. I mean, I spent two paragraphs relating him to my grandmother. But his sad scene? Jerry. Oh, Jerry. I wasn't crying with him. I was crying at him.
  • Movie Rule #17. No more funny townspeople. Please. I hated all of them. Well, except for Mrs. Salazar. That bitch ruled.
  • Hey, if we're going old school here, which I'm down for, some random lady needed to get naked. Whether a stray bullet entered a hotel room where people were screwing, or Arnold falls through a wall and lands in an occupied shower. Something had to be done. And it wasn't.
  • Considering everyone involved is a trained officer, government agent, or hired assassin, these f--kers have the worst aim imaginable. This is the horror movie equivalent of no cell phone coverage.
  • Do all bad guys have to swing a friendly arm around their main underlings neck, bring them close, and then tell them to f--king kill him or else? I mean, they might as well give them a noogie and a kick in the pants while they're at it.
  • And finally, the biggest Boo is reserved for Johnny Knoxville. I honestly find this guy rather likable, but must he always be that guy? He's dressed like an idiot, talks like a child, and basically acts like a...I won't even bother typing it. 
Look, I'm going to the next Schwarzenegger movie, no matter what it is. Even if it looks really bland or incredibly boring. I'll suck it up and go, even if at the time, there is something else I'd rather do or see. Why? Because, looking back, they've always made me smile and feel like a kid again. Like a stop at my grandparents house.

The Last Stand wasn't great, but it doesn't matter.  
Um, regardless....I'll be back.


  1. Haha the old Arnold falling though the wall trick... Never gets old.

    Great review. I'll always see anything Arnold is in for many of the same reasons you mentioned.

    1. Thanks, man.

      I swear, Arnold flicks are as much a part of my childhood as anything. If I start an Arnold line, one of my brothers can always finish it. Dude's family.

  2. It's dumb and unoriginal, but it's all fun and it's Arnie. What's not to like about it? Good review M.

    1. This is pretty much pure truth, Dan.

  3. agree with what u think about the last stand. but had to watch it cause of kim jee-woon. i did look at the chart for primer. cause i wanted to make sense of it but my head was still spinning. i like it how they dont sugarcoat it and try to make it easier for everyone. there were a lot of good quotes like the one u mentioned but js decided to go with this one.

    1. I actually own The Good, the Bad, the Weird based on my brother's recommendation, but I still haven't watched it yet. So, this is my first flick by Jee-woon.

      Completely with you on both accounts with Primer. That chart made me feel illiterate, but I appreciate that it's a film that takes work and rewards repeat viewings. It's not dumbed down in the least.

  4. I just can't appreciate Schwarzenegger movies. As much as I loathe generalizations based on gender, maybe this kind of thing is just damn hard to get into if you have ovaries? I don't know.

    Anyhow, great review. And I can't help but appreciate the fact that you've never outgrown laughing when you hear "rear entry." :-D Too bad you can't come over and meet my husband. I have a feeling you guys would get along. ;-)

    1. Cursed ovaries! Always getting in the way of a good time.

      I think there's a theme here, that's establishing two clear groups, no less. Women and their motherly parts, men and the fact that they're just giant boys.

      Which group would tend to like watching a big man kill other big men?

    2. Well, to be fair, I'm not a guy and I tend to have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy. It's just not quite as low as my husband's. :-P

  5. "Whether a stray bullet entered a hotel room where people were screwing, or Arnold falls through a wall and lands in an occupied shower. Something had to be done. And it wasn't." -- Oh that is a huge wasted opportunity right there! I'm still pissed off at Ridley Scott for not showing us Elba/Theron 3d space sex scene. That was even a bigger boo.

    1. My God, you and your 3D wiener lust! It's insatiable. But if you recall, I was so confused during that flick I would have welcomed two people getting it on. That, I understand.

      Well, at least in theory.

      For the record, Prometheus actually had a story, thereby negating mandatory nudity. The Last Stand? Probably should have had an 18 minute shower scene. Or, during the credits, featured girls on trampolines.