By Kurt Jensen
Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — A souped-up Corvette gets more screen time than star Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Last Stand" (Lionsgate), a formulaic shoot-’em-up action flick that marks Schwarzenegger’s return to leading-man roles.
Guns go a-blazin’ when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the leader of a Mexican drug cartel, escapes custody just as he’s being sent to death row. He outwits the feds, led by agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker).
Key to the plot, Cortez also is a skilled race-car driver and his Corvette can hit speeds of nearly 200 mph.
He’s planning to cross the border at a narrow canyon near Sommerton, Ariz. Out to stop him is the town’s sheriff, ex-Los Angeles police officer Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger). Sommerton’s a sleepy place and Owens’ deputies are clownish until faced with this unprecedented challenge.
Cortez has a hostage in tow, FBI agent Ellen Richards (Genesis Rodriguez), while Owens has his deputies and an ally in local loon Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville).
The big finale includes a car chase through a cornfield and considerable gunfire aimed at an empty school bus. Schwarzenegger doesn’t chase the bad guys; they come to him. Convenient that, given his age.
Director Kim Jee-Woon and screenwriter Andrew Knauer stick mostly to the car-chase genre while failing to give Schwarzenegger a single good one-liner, unless you count, "Dese tings are all connected."
Meandering mayhem for the sturdy and mature only.
The film contains considerable violence, including much gunplay, occasional profanity and frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.