I had a few last thoughts about the movie “The Last Stand” that I didn’t fit into “The Ultimate Test of Character,” and I wanted to share them with you.
Thought #1: The movie reminded me of some of those great road movies from the 1970s and ‘80s. Or perhaps I should say Not So Great, but they were a part of my youth. Of course, there were the comedies, like “Smokey and the Bandit,” and “Cannonball Run.” One movie in particular that came to mind was the early 1980s movie “The Last Chase.” A great plague, and the death of the fossil fuel industry, has led to the collapse of the United States. Franklyn Hart, a retired racing driver (played by the original "Six Million Dollar Man," Lee Majors), defies his totalitarian government, reassembles his old Porche roadster, and drives across America, heading for California, where there are fewer restrictions on travel. There are more movies like this, but I only remember fragments of them. They’re just images in my mind now, and I can’t remember most of their titles. But they were part of an era of Hollywood moviemaking, and an expression of the universal need to explore. Feel the need to escape, to get out there, to see the world? Then just get in your car, or hop on your motorcycle, and do so!
Thought #2: There were lots of moments in “The Last Stand” that made me smile or laugh, such as when Deputy Figuerola is going through Lewis Dinkum’s weapons collection and pulls out a sword from “Conan The Barbarian.” Of course he wants to take it, but Sheriff Owens (Schwarzenegger) essentially tells him No, we’re not fighting in the Crusades. As Dinkum briefs the Sheriff and deputies on what he has to offer them, Owens turns to him and asks “Do you name all your things?” Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville) replies: “Only the things I love.” I may not exactly get Dinkum, but...yeah, I get that.
Thought #3: For the most part, the film doesn’t glorify violence. Sure, it’s an action movie, and therefore there’s violence aplenty. If you choose to see it, keep in mind that it’s rated R for that reason. But director Kim Ji-woon doesn’t glorify the violence, nor does he dumb it down. He doesn’t portray violence to look cool or awesome for the PG crowd. It’s not a ballet of unreal violence, with characters leaping off roofs, performing summersaults, and landing atop speeding vehicles, all while shooting submachine guns and blowing away the enemy. The blood is there, the deaths seem painful and real, and this demonstrates that violence is neither fun nor beautiful. It’s horrible and tragic, and that’s something that Sheriff Ray Owens cannot forget.
Before Mexican druglord Gabriel Cortez, and his associates, bring violence to Sommerton Junction, deputy Jerry Bailey asks Sheriff Ray Owens for a transfer to the big city, where he can experience a career filled with excitement and adventure. Owens’ words to him are poignant, and worth remembering.
“Adventure,” he says with a cough. “Excitement,” he mutters, and coughs again. “A Deputy craves not these things.”
Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what he said, but that’s what his response to Bailey reminds me of.
At any rate, there you have them: my last three thoughts on “The Last Stand.” Now I’m thoughtless.
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