HOLLYWOOD (WWJ) – “The Last Stand” is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s much-anticipated return to filmmaking, and let me just say that I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it: from the greeting at the opening (it comes on before the movie starts; arrive early so you don’t miss it!) featuring Schwarzenegger and co-star Luis Guzmán (Figgie) – to the thrilling conclusion!

This movie combines action, excitement, a surprising escape, spectacular car chase scenes – featuring a specially-equipped Corvette ZR1 – and even humor to pack a pretty powerful punch.

Since Schwarzenegger has starred in some of Hollywood’s most successful films – Commando, Predator, Twins, Total Recall, True Lies, Eraser, Collateral Damage, and the Terminator films – expectations were high for his return to filmmaking following a decade away, during which time he served as governor of California. And he does NOT disappoint. “The Last Stand” is my pick for the movie to see this weekend.

Schwarzenegger stars as Ray Owens, the sheriff of sleepy Summerton Junction, the town picked by notorious drug kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) from which to make his daring escape from an FBI prisoner convoy to Mexico. Chasing Cortez down is U.S. Federal Agent John Bannister, played by Forest Whitaker. Also starring in the film are: Johnny Knoxville (from the Jackass films as Lewis Dinkum), Rodrigo Santoro (Frank Martinez), Jaimie Alexander (Sarah Torrance), Peter Stormare (as Cortez’ henchman Burrell), Zach Gilford (Jerry Bailey), Genesis Rodriguez (Agent Ellen Richards), Daniel Henney (Agent Phil Hayes), and John Patrick Amedori (Agent Mitchell).

When Sheriff Owens learns that Cortez is headed his way, he gathers his small band of loyal deputies for “the last stand.” And even though his crew is out-manned and even ill-equipped to deal with a gang with a cache of weapons at its disposal, they manage to more than hold their own. But what else would you expect from Schwarzenegger’s character?

And, why did he pick the role of small town hero for his return to the Big Screen?

“It was a fantastic script,” comments Schwarzenegger. “It had intensity, it had drama, it had the action I love and which my fans expect me to deliver, and at the same time it had a lot of comic relief. It was one of those movies where you laugh in the middle of the intense suspense.”

Speaking of the script, it was written by award-winning screenwriter Andrew Knauer, who holds an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman University. Kudos to Knauer on an excellent script! After all, you can’t have a great movie without a great script. That, coming from a writer.

Welcome back, Arnold!

View the trailer and official website here and I’ll see you at the movies!

Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee

Read Terri’s other movie reviews here.


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