If this is the last movie Arnold Schwarzenegger gives his fans, then it is a satisfying and appropriate ending to this biggest, action star’s amazing career.

“The Last Stand” is about a Mexican, drug cartel kingpin (played by Eduardo Noriega) who escapes from an unbelievably inept group of FBI agents led by Forest Whitaker during a prison transfer.  Hopping into a modified, Corvette ZR-1, Noriega races to the U.S./Mexican border.  But…his path takes him to a town where Schwarzenegger is the Sheriff.   With a heads up from the FBI — and not much help — Schwarzenegger prepares his town for a bloody fight with Noriega and his crew of heavily armed mercenaries.

Although this movie suffers from the typical plot holes and lack of realism in some of the action sequences that is found in Schwarzenegger movies, “The Last Stand” is still entertaining and it was a pleasure to watch.   I was able to forgive retarded plot holes like: only 1 FBI helicopter following Noriega’s ZR-1; and when Noriega turned off his lights and braked suddenly, the FBI chopper couldn’t find it with its spotlight.  Huh?  So that chopper that is following an escaped, drug kingpin who has killed an FBI agent doesn’t have night vision?  But, like I said before, this kind of s*#t happens all the time in Arnold movies, so it’s all part of the ride.  And overall, it’s a good ride.

Speaking of rides, besides the bad guy’s modded ZR-1, there’s also a Camaro ZL1 that Schwarzenegger uses to chase down Noriega.  Muscle car against muscle car.  This sequence is one of my memorable moments of this movie.

Another memorable, movie moment of “The Last Stand” are the scenes when Schwarzenegger tackles a mercenary off a roof, and shoots the merc’s head while in the air, then lands on the dead body.  Fast forward later on and we see Arnold still lying on the dead body, then he slowly and painfully gets up to continue his defense of his town and prevent Noriega from escaping to Mexico.  This man no longer shrugs off injuries.  Each hit is felt deeply, and we feel more for the character because of it.

The most memorable, movie moment of “The Last Stand” is the scene when Schwarzenegger goes toe to toe against Noriega.  Old against young.  Brute force against speed and jiu-jitsu.  It is a hell of a fight.

A big, endearing aspect to this movie is that Schwarzenegger knows he’s old.  His character knows he’s old.  But he still has it.  And the actor, as well as the character, gives it 100%, as much as they are physically able to.  And that is to be admired.  I’ve been a fan of Schwarzenegger movies since the 1980s when I was a kid.  I’m in my 40s now, and although I can rock a compression shirt just as well as a 20-year-old athlete, there are days when I feel my age.   So when I watch movies like this, where my favorite, action stars are old and graying and slow (but still putting up a fight!), it gets to me.  Because I understand.

Here’s hoping that “The Last Stand” won’t be Schwarzenegger’s last movie.

–M

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