One Big Scene: Arnold Schwarzenegger Rips Cars Through Cornfields in 'The Last Stand'
One Big Scene is a weekly column dedicated to spectacular visual sequences we’re recommending you see in the theater. If you have ones you’d like us to write about, let us know in the comments section.
There are a lot of jokes in Jee-Woon Kim’s The Last Stand, in theaters on Jan. 18, about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s age. The 65-year-old action icon plays the sheriff of an off-the-beaten-path border town who left the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles for what he assumed would be the quiet life. He makes no bones about being past his prime. His staff is woefully inexperienced (yet they’re learning on the job from their experienced employer). When the town comes under fire, Schwarzenegger finds himself under attack. He dives through the glass door of the diner.
“How’re you, sheriff?” a concerned townsfolk asks.
“Old,” Schwarzenegger replies, and we’re meant to chuckle.
But Arnold isn’t so old that he has forgotten how to impress with an awe-inspiring action scene, and a car chase through a cornfield in Kim’s Last Stand is the One Big Scene in theaters this week that we believe you absolutely need to see on the big screen.
What critics are saying:
“An unpretentious, invigorating action flick that's extra-enjoyable whenever Arnold Schwarzenegger is on the screen demonstrating his flair for self-parody.”
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“I totally recall better Arnold Schwarzenegger movies than this, but I wouldn't say we got a raw deal either.”
William Bibbiani, CraveOnline
“[It] does exactly what it should: It leaves us wanting more.”
Scott Foundas, Village Voice
Especially the car chase, which comes near the end of Schwarzenegger’s attempt at preventing the maniacal drug kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) from reaching a man-made bridge that will transport him safely into Mexico … and free from the United States’ jurisdiction.
Without giving too much away, we can say that Schwarzenegger’s plans to stop Cortez have failed. The car chase is a last-ditch effort to halt the criminal’s race to freedom. And Kim – the South Korean action wizard who helmed I Saw the Devil and The Good, The Bad and the Weird – wisely sets the auto confrontation in a cornfield, where the thick and towering stalks blind Sheriff Owens (Schwarzenegger) and his target as they pilot speeding vehicles in a life-or-death sprint to the border.
In our Jack Reacher “One Big Scene” column, we commented how director Christopher McQuarrie revved up the sound of his muscle cars to fill the auditorium with the roar of car engines. Kim follows suit, but the combination of the suffocating corn and the speed at which the scene is edited makes the car chase in The Last Stand a pulse-racing sequence that won’t soon be forgotten.
There are gun battles, fistfights and unapologetically macho humor in The Last Stand. But you need to see it in theaters this weekend to experience the corn-field car chase. It’s our One Big Scene, and it’s a winner.
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Sean O'ConnellFandango Bloggers
Sean is a film reviewer for The Washington Post and daily contributor to Fandango.