Plot: What’s it about?
If you’d have told my ten year old self back in 1983 that “Conan the Barbarian” would still be making movies at the ripe old age of 65, I probably wouldn’t have known what to think. After all I was probably too young to watch that film then and I probably wouldn’t have cared. I mainly used that as a segue to say that the heyday of the 80’s is over. As are the 90’s (and 2000’s for that matter). Yet here we are and Arnold Schwarzenegger is still making movies and actually looks pretty good to boot. Lest we forget that the 80’s icon served as Governor of California from 2003 to 2011 and his last starring role was in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Granted, he did have a bit part in The Expendables, but The Last Stand marks his return to his “leading man” status for the first time in a decade. But people change, the world has changed and it’s no longer the same place it was ten or twenty years ago. So…does Arnold still have what it takes to draw a crowd or has this former bodybuilder turned actor turned politician worn out his welcome?
Drug tycoon Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has fled the City of Angels in his supped up Corvette ZR-1. He took an FBI agent hostage and is high-tailing it to Mexico where he can hopefully be free. Since one of his agents is in tow, Special Agent Bannister’s (Forest Whitaker) arms are somewhat tied and has to rely on the local law to try and stop Cortez. But in the small town of Sommerton, Arizona sheriff Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) notices a few men look out of place and it’s not long that we see their true colors. Led by “Burrell” (Peter Stormare), this group of thugs is one step ahead of Cortez to literally clear the way for his escape. As we might have guessed, the only route for Cortez to get to Mexico must lead him through Sommerton and it’s up to this small town to keep him in the country and arrest him.
About twenty minutes into The Last Stand it hit me…I’ve seen this somewhere before, haven’t I? Oh, yep, it’s like a loose remake of High Noon except there’s really no Grace Kelly character and Arnold Schwarzenegger is no Gary Cooper. But you get the idea. Truthfully I really didn’t know what to expect when popping the disc in. I think I was more curious to see if Arnold still “had it” when watching this movie and though he looks a bit longer in the tooth than he once did, his acting is essentially the same. And let’s face it, acting was never really Arnold’s forte. Of note, this film marks the American debut of Korean filmmaker, Jee-woon Kim, better known for The Quiet Family and A Tale of Two Sisters. And to add an element of comic relief, Johnny Knoxville plays local goon Lewis Dinkum and seems to have a good time doing it. Don’t expect too much, though, he’s got about 10 minutes of screen time. On the whole, The Last Stand is certainly entertaining, but it’s a far cry from the heyday of Arnold’s better films.
Video: How does it look?
I’m sure I sound like a broken record when I say this, but these new to Blu-ray movies simply look stunning. The technology has evolved to the point where there’s either got to be a decision to make the film intentionally look bad or there’s an error in production. Having said that, The Last Stand comes to Blu-ray in a 2.40:1 AVC HD image that’s really hard to top. Want some evidence that Arnold has aged? Look no further. His trademark locks aren’t as thick as they used to be, the crow’s feet around his eyes are more pronounced and he’s a bit leaner than he was back in the day. Colors are rich and robust and contrast is rock solid. If you’ve ever seen one of the Fast and the Furious films, this is essentially what to expect.
Audio: How does it sound?
I usually skip the promos at the beginning of the disc, but I missed one and it just happened to be the one advertising the DTS HD Master Audio mix that is present on this disc. One word folks – wow. From the growl of the Corvette ZR-1 to the hundreds of thousands of bullets fired in the course of this movie, there really is no other term to describe this mix than second to none. It’s immersive, dynamic and I really can’t think of any other adjectives to say how good this is so I’ll just leave it at this – amazing.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In addition to a digital copy and an UltraViolet copy of the film, we’ve got a nice little selection of extras here. We start off with “Not in my town: Making The Last Stand” running around 30 minutes, this is actually a pretty interesting look at the film with some interviews with the cast and crew. “Cornfield Chaos: Scene Breakdown” tells us of the climactic scene in the cornfield with the Camaro and ZR-1 playing a literal game of hide and seek. “The Dinkum Firearm & Historic Weaponry Museum Tour” takes a look at some of the historic weapons used in the film as told by weapons consultant Larry Zanoff. We get a first person video diary of sorts with Johnny Knoxville as well as 20 minutes of deleted and extended scenes.