THE LAST STAND, a high body count, testosterone charged, fast action adventure from Korean Director KIM Jee-woon, and high octane aficionado Lorenzo di Bonaventura, recently held its Media Day at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.
From LIONSGATE Films and produced by di Bonaventura THE LAST STAND stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Sherriff Ray Owens, in what is billed as his action-hero return. THE LAST STAND also stars Forest Whitaker, Jamie Alexander, Luis Guzman, Zack Gilford, Rodrigo Santoro and Johnny Knoxville.
As former LA Narcotics Detective, Ray Owens, played by Schwarzenegger, has left the big city and all its bright lights for the slower pace of Smallville, USA, a nowhere, nothing happens here town that sits on the border of Arizona and Mexico. His life as Sheriff is pretty basic, as are the routines of his deputies, Jerry Bailey, (Zach Gilford) and Sarah Torrance (Jamie Alexander).
THE LAST STAND’s opening sequences show the town idiot, played well by Johnny Knoxville, along with Luis Guzman who personifies the pot bellied slow moving local deputy, Mike Figuerola, aka Figgie, with young Deputy Bailey all attempting some serious target practice as they shoot off the side of a slab of beef with a long barrel, .57 magnum with a kick that few can handle.
Of course, with a town that sits so close to the Mexican border, one can guess there will be trouble. As the townsfolk prepare for another, slow moving Sommerton, Arizona weekend, the Feds led by Agent Bannister, (Forest Whitaker) are about to transport the most notorious Drug King Pin in Federal custody Eduardo Noriega, (Gabriel Cortez) to stand trial. He escapes and heads to Mexico in a modified GM Corvette ZRI capable of speeds in excess of 250MPH. His escape is ruthless, his methods innovative, his plan unstoppable, every obstacle is overcome with precision.
The Corvette ZRI, sleek, black, heavy American metal, is really a headliner in this turbo charged, high octane, flick as it takes the audience on a high speed, roller coaster thrill ride. Man, does this baby fly. The ‘Vette hugs the road like a lover, speeds down the highway cloaked under night cover leaving just a whoosh of wind and a sleepy cop with a speedometer registering jet trail numbers.
THE LAST STAND was written by Andrew Knauer and to his credit, the script doesn’t lend itself to the crutch phrases usually seen in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent films and he doesn’t need them.
There are some comedic moments. The townspeople add their own style of small town and age humor as the gravity of this high noon, David and Goliath, showdown doesn’t seem to penetrate the fact that nothing, truly nothing, happens in this border town.
As the high powered shooters show up with mega weaponry, guns to rival the taking of Iwo Jima, modernized, the slow thinking and even slower acting towns folk prefer to finish their usual routines which are what tips off the sheriff to trouble in the first place.
Having the opportunity to participate in the press day at the Los Angeles Four Seasons at Beverly Hills, the following is an excerpt from the Press Conference. Participating in the Media Day from THE LAST STAND included Arnold Schwarznegger, Johnny Knoxville, Jamie Alexander, Luis Guzman, Rodrigo Santoro and Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
Janet Walker: Hi. This is for everyone. There’s a lot in the movie, there’s action, there’s the physical work, and a sleepy hollow sheriff and all of you seem to have a moment in the film. And if you had one memorable moment, all of you, what would it be.
Johnny Knoxville: I’ll go ahead jump on this one, the scene in the back of the bus with Arnold Schwarzenegger where I’m feeding the bullets into the machine gun and I’m doing that action sequence with Arnold Schwarzenegger with the bullets that was it for me. It was my career and life. (Laughter).
Rodrigo Santoro: I drove the bus. That was it for me.
Luis Guzman: Yea. I have to say when they shot that rocket propelled grenade and I’m hiding behind the car and I’m watching it on the monitor and the car blows up and I’m thinking ‘how the hell could anyone survive that?’ but somehow I did! (Laughter).
Jamie Alexander: I think one of my funnier moments was probably how many takes it took me to load the sniper rifle and not have it get jammed a hundred times in a row and then he, (pointing to Arnold Schwarzenegger) showed me how to do it once and being up on the roof looking after all these guys.
Arnold Schwarznegger: For me it was the car chase through the cornfield. How many times do we have the chance to do a car chase through a corn field? We all can imagine what it’s like on a road but in a corn field not knowing where you’re going, if a ditch was coming up and you end up in it driving at that kind of speed and with a car next to you, the Corvette, and to have the chase filmed over several days over this gigantic cornfield that they kept. The chase was really worked out. It took two days to plan and another two days to shoot. It was very well organized and everything was in this film.
It was so much fun to get into this car and to start going and then to hear the stunt coordinator screaming at you ‘faster, faster, faster,’ and you look down and you’re going 80 miles an hour in this cornfield. And that’s the fun thing about movie making you get moments like that and you have moments where you end up being in the ice cold water at night, in one of the movies I did (TRUE LIES) and you get out of them and say, ‘Wow what an experience I had.” It’s a great film and what would you expect with Lorenzo (di Bonaventura) producing? He’s a great producer.
THE LAST STAND has plenty of splatter and in the age of accountability the question was posed with what seems to be the across the board answer, filmmaking is fantasy. THE LAST STAND has plenty of interesting back-stories including the fact that Director Kim Jee-woon knew no English and directed the entire film through an interpreter.
What audiences will get when they flock to see THE LAST STAND is pure entertainment! No thinking required. Arnold and company deliver action packed, high body count, high voltage, gun slinging fun!
THE LAST STAND opens in theaters everywhere January 18, 2013. Check your local listings.