The Last Stand

After a stint as Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger has returned in his first lead role as an actor. With his life full of scandal and his ability to win back an audience in question, Arnold certainly reminds me of why he was such a successful movie star in the first place. He may (I take that back). He will never win an Oscar in his life, although I think Schwarzeneggerâ??s future as an actor is well in tact for one simple reason. He is oozing with charisma.

I was reminded of this after watching the charisma-challenged Colin Farrell step into his shoes in "Total Recall" earlier this year. Regardless of what you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, he shines on screen when it comes to bringing you, the audience, into his films and making you care about him and the others around him. Apparently Hollywood thinks the same because including "The Last Stand" he has eight movies in the works through 2014.

"Last Stand" takes place in a small, nothing ever happens here, Arizona border town with probably too many police officers; four. Schwarzenegger plays Ray Owens, a former Los Angeles police officer who came to Arizona to get away from the relentless chaos and trials of big city police work. His fellow officers are just the opposite. They are either not prepared for such police work or eager for such police work. So when a ruthless Mexican drug kingpin escapes from FBI custody and begins hurtling their way in a specially outfitted car that is capable of going 200 MPH, they are about to get more trouble then they bargained for.

"Last Stand", along with Schwarzenegger, reminds me of how long it has been since a great action movie has been made. Weâ??ve had action movies, but very few are worthy of repeat viewing or five-years from now weâ??ll still be watching it. "The Last Stand" may just be one of those movies. The humor is plentiful and the personality is rich. The story is quality enough and the action never exceeds a level of reality or even comes close to a level of absurdity that we normally see in action movies these days. The movie is well filmed and has a level of coolness that puts it over the top.

The only thing I would criticize about "The Last Stand" would be a fairly uncreative collision of bad guy and good guy in the middle of town. Where most of the movie was creative and had numerous moments that led the audience to believe that the officers of this tiny town were pretty much doomed. The cartel finally just show up in town, line up across the street (I think there were 9) and declare everybody dead. The movie, as creative as it was, could have done better.

This one criticism is a pretty small detail in a movie that otherwise was a smashing success of entertainment, action and comedy. "The Last Stand" is a throwback to when action movies were good. There was a time when action movies didnâ??t rely on absurd stunts that cross into fantasyland or had herky-jerky MTV editing that disguised how poorly the scenes are choreographed or assumed that the audience was only interested in 100-minutes of bullets zipping. Hopefully "The Last Stand" is a return to that notion.