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Schwarzenegger is back,but the celebration is lackluster
by Paul Gonzales
Jan 24, 2013 | 1408 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Beeville — I’ve been waiting forever for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback.

Sure, he was in “The Expendables” and its sequel, but after seven years, he’s back headlining his own pictures once again, and it’s about time.

But the movie itself could’ve been better.

Jee-woon Kim, director of the awe-inspiring western “The Good, the Bad and the Weird” and the suspenseful “I Saw the Devil,” takes the helm here.

It’s his first American film, and you can pretty much tell.

The story is basic.

A Mexican cartel drug lord escapes prison during a inmate transfer, and he gets in a really fast, suped-up Corvette ZR1 and heads to the border.

The border town he’s headed for is the one where Schwarzenegger is sheriff.

He was once a cop in L.A. and now loves the quiet, small town life.

Johnny Knoxville (“Jackass”) and Luis Guzman are his inexperienced staff, and the movie’s comic relief.

The problems in the film start early.

As soon as Schwarzenegger speaks, it’s great to realize you’re watching a new “Schwarzenegger” movie.

But the pacing is off. The line delivery is clunky, and the edits run a second or two too long.

Schwarzenegger speaks; then there’s too much time in between for the response. It just seems off.

Forest Whitaker shows up as some hotshot FBI agent but doesn’t do much but yell, look intense and screw things up.

Nothing in the film is very logical, but that’s what you’d expect for a Schwarzenegger, and that’s another problem.

Before he was The Govenator, his star was already falling.

He made mediocre movies like “The 6th Day” and “Collateral Damage” among others.

And it seems as though he almost picked up where he left off, but this one’s a tad bit better than those.

There’s no CGI gunshots, which is nice, and the bullets in this film are basically tiny missiles tossing blood and gore with every hit.

The explosions (and there’s a lot of them) are real, as well as the car chases, wrecks and stunts. No computer-generated effects there either.

The pacing of the film is off as well. It’s takes too long to get going, and once it does, it starts to feel ridiculous.

Jee-woon Kim has done some really magnificent directing before, but his fingerprints aren’t really noticeable here, which is a shame.

Every shot seems expected and sterile, which, after watching “The Good, the Bad and the Weird”, is a real letdown.

I’ll still wait for his next American film, because he’s usually a visually exciting director. He just missed the mark, I suppose.

Schwarzenegger does what Schwarzenegger does.

Almost.

He’s old; I get that. And, supposedly, he’s never stopped working out, even after taking office.

But he’s never seemed smaller on film than he does here. Not just muscle, either.

He looks physically smaller. Like he shrunk.

I mean, Conan the Barbarian is the same size as that guy from “Jackass”?

It just didn’t seem to make sense in my head. But you can tell he’s excited to be back.

He gives the film his best shot and seemed happy to be on screen again, headlining his own picture.

But he is rusty.

I mean, he was never Daniel Day-Lewis, but he always delivered lines the way only Schwarzenegger could. Yet, it doesn’t feel right just yet.

But, a thought did cross my mind while watching “The Last Stand.”

Would we, the audience, watch a Schwarzenegger movie if he wasn’t kicking butt?

Will the crowds still watch an old Schwarzenegger?

The audience with whom I watched it cheered for the elderly actor every time he did something amazing – which is nice – but what about everyone else in America? Will they care?

Action movies have evolved since he left. James Bond and Jason Bourne are our action stars nowadays.

So is there any room for a once-muscle-bound hero who can barely act (honestly, that’s part of his charm)?

Sure, “The Expendables” proves there’s an audience for those pictures, but they’re now older themselves and only watch them to see all their old heroes in one film together.

The movies aren’t really that good, either.

Schwarzenegger’s left his mark in Hollywood and was once one of the highest paid actors of all time, but that time has passed.

I’ll always watch his movies. He’s a hero to me. I’ve grown up with “The Terminator” and “Total Recall,” and he’ll always be sort of a father figure to me, but he needs to step out of his old shoes and maybe give up the action thing.

Stallone did it for “Cop Land” and won some dramatic awards. He always was the better actor – just not my favorite of the two.

I’m interested to see where Schwarzenegger will wind up at the end of the year.

He’s currently filming or in the process of filming about seven films, including new Conan and Terminator films, so we’ll see how much gas he has left in his tank.

While the movie was decent, I’m lucky it wasn’t his final stand.

It was really great to see Schwarzenegger back; it’s just the welcome home party wasn’t that great.

Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.
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