2013 Written by Andrew Knauer, Jeffrey Nachmanoff, and George Nolfi
Directed by Kim Ji-woon
My hand is huge!
We got both a return of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Hollywood debut of Kim Ji-woon with the modern day western The Last Stand. But is the title prophetic and a sign that we should stay away? If you are looking for amazing action and a return to form for an actor turned politician, then you might want to keep waiting. But if you want a good forgettable action flick with some funny parts, then The Last Stand is a passable January release. It isn’t terrible, it’s just we’ve seen much better from both the star and the director, so things come out disappointing. And that’s the worst sting of all.
Kim Ji-woon is no stranger to Westerns, he directed The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, one of the best Western-inspired films ever. He’s also responsible for I Saw The Devil, one of those films that people watch and then describe with a single emoticon of a traumatized face staring into the distance. Kim Ji-woon is the first of three popular Korean directors who are making their Hollywood debut in 2013 (Bong Joon-ho with Snowpiercer and Park Chan-wook with Stoker are the other two.) He’s also the only reason I had any interest in taking the time to see The Last Stand.
I am sorry to say that things are up to Kim Ji-woon’s normal standards of excellence. But The Last Stand isn’t a wash, either. It follows the normal arc progression of a Western with the eventual showdown against the gang by the Sheriff and his deputies. There is a lot of scattered action sequences throughout the buildup, as the cartel leader escapes from captivity then carves his way through increasingly incompetent police roadblocks via increasingly ridiculous ambush attacks.
Minimalist action theater
In the usual Western, the baddies are constantly harassing the town, the people the Sheriff likes and loves, and the danger is more personal. As Gabriel Cortez is more of a guy who is just passing through town, The Last Stand attempts to counter this by having some of his gang in town building an escape bridge. The gang causes trouble and is involved in a firefight with the Sheriff’s office. Though the gang’s leader is played by awesome dude Peter Stormare, the rest are all faceless militia types and there isn’t enough there to make them feel so evil you cheer when the hero kills them.
Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – Arnold is the sheriff of Summerton Junction, where he went after a shootout went wrong during his career as an LA narcotics squad detective. He now deals with local town with small town troubles, but sometimes big trouble comes by.
Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) – Forest Whitaker plays the desperate FBI agents who gets stymied at every turn by Gabriel Cortez’s escape. A role that requires a lot of yelling on the phone as whatever plan is happening goes terribly wrong.
Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) – The evil drug cartel leader and world class racer, driving down deserted desert roads at 197 mph. But he is too fast and not enough furious to deal with the Terminator!
[adrotate banner=”1″]Trailers and character posters for the comedy Identity Thief have hit the web, and despite the fact director Seth Gordon’s Horrible Bosses was largely awful with a few very funny moments, Identity Thief looks like it will be more funny than runny. I don’t know what that joke means, because I stole it.
Unlimited funds have allowed Diana to live it up on the outskirts of Miami, where the queen of retail buys whatever strikes her fancy. There’s only one glitch: The ID she’s using to finance these sprees reads “Sandy Bigelow Patterson”… and it belongs to an accounts rep who lives halfway across the U.S.
With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Bigelow Patterson heads south to confront the woman with an all-access pass to his life. And as he attempts to bribe, coax and wrangle her the 2,000 miles to Denver, one easy target will discover just how tough it is to get your name back.
The trailer and plot make it look like one of those road trip buddy comedies where they aren’t buddies and get caught up in danger and bad things. Which could be good. Melissa McCarthy is hilarious and Jason Bateman can play a good sweet straight man who does occasional wacky things. John Cho, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, T.I., Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, and Robert Patrick also star, so Identity Thief has potential. And if it does suck, they’ll just rename the movie Star Wars! Can Identity Thief be funnier than the time the Lifelock CEO guy got his identity stolen 13 times? We shall see on February 8, 2013!