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Review: The Last Stand

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Fun, dumb, and unfortunately timed with the national debate on guns, “The Last Stand” stars the former governor of California as a decorated Los Angeles cop who’s opted to serve a sleepy New Mexico town where the citizenry pack serious weaponry. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as Sheriff Ray Owens wearing topsiders on his day off, lacks the comic irony he brought to his other action roles. “I am the sheriff” and “This is my town” are among the lines he delivers with thuds. It starts one night “nine miles outside Las Vegas” where a donut-dunking officer clocks a car with no lights going 197 mph. This stolen Corvette will soon be steered by Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), a third-generation CEO of a South American drug cartel who is a pro race driver on the side. At his side will be the FBI agent he takes hostage after his mercenaries liberate him during a 3:30am prisoner-transport operation. Seven more onscreen time-stamps will clock the low-suspense, high-speed chase to the Mexican border, on the outskirts of the town Owens patrols. The sheriff and his deputies take a stand on Main Street in this Western. Saddled with a formulaic script by Andrew Knauer, Korean director Kim Jee-Woon did far better in his Manchurian western “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” (2008), modeled on Leone’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” A comic supporting character is a literal loose cannon played by Johnny Knoxville, who has stockpiled a warehouse of military arms under the guise of running a history museum. He equips his local law enforcers with off-the-books state-of-the-art firepower, and loads a huge machine gun into a school bus for the big shootout.  School children are never in peril, so maybe the Newtown shooting won’t resonate with potential audiences. The cheers at a preview screening of “The Last Stand” could be construed as knee-jerk backing of the right to bear fully automatic arms with big bullets and big clips. With Forest Whitaker, Luis Guzmán, Peter Stormare. 107m. (Bill Stamets)

“The Last Stand” opens Friday.

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