The Monocle – “The Last Stand”

Last Stand Banner
Directed by: Kim Jee-Woon
Written by: Andrew Knauer
Releases: January 18, 2013
Theatre watched at: CGV Cinemas, Los Angeles


He’s back folks, and no its not a tumor.  Don’t worry we didn’t blow his cover, what was once an “hasta la vista” is now an hola!  (Ok..sorry that’s the last of the Arnold puns that I got I swear.)

Hello Monocle readers!  It’s Classy Deer JoAnn taking a shot at writing a Monocle review so hold on tight as I discuss my experience watching the pre-screening of The Last Stand coming out to theaters January 18th, staring the Governator himself (ok seriously that’ll be the last one).  First I would like to thank my friends at Visual Communications for inviting me to such an event at the CGV Cinemas.  Free food, drinks, and a movie??? What more could a girl ask for.

Arnold makes his comeback to the big screen in a big way.  The Last Stand is directed by Kim Jee-Woon, known for films like The Good, The Bad, The Weird,  A Tale of Two Sisters, and I Saw the Devil.  What I actually found out to be fascinating as well as inspiring is that Director Kim doesn’t speak fluent english and that this was his very first “American Hollywood” film.  And what better way to start your Hollywood film career then by working with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

If you like 80’s Action movies (which I do) then you will definitely want to buy a ticket to go see The Last Stand this weekend.  The film has a lot of the same elements as many of the over-the-top action movies we grew up with.  The screenwriter, Andrew Knauer, even stated that lately he’s noticed a decline in classic action movies and wanted to write something to bring back this style of film.  The story begins with small town Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold) on his day off.  Ray was a former Narcotics Police Officer in Los Angeles who decided that the action and death were too much for him so he moved to the small border-town of Sommerton.  Unfortunately, trouble does come to Sommerton in the form of an escaped race-car driving fugitive Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega).  Violence ensues.

While this may not be the action film you want to drag your kids to, the film does have a lot of humor despite its violence.  Director Kim said he wanted to make sure that his audience does in fact know that this is a movie and isn’t meant to take violence seriously.  Don’t worry, Arnold still has some pretty good one-liners that he’s known for as well.  The Last Stand also has a very diverse cast from Forrest Whitaker and Daniel Henney (swoon*) who both play FBI agents, to Luis Guzmán and Jaimie Alexander who play deputies.  I will say that I am more intimidated by Cortez’s main henchman (Peter Stormare) then I was by Cortez himself.  Other than one cool car stunt, Cortez doesn’t really give off a bad-ass vibe that we would think a drug lord would have.

Overall, if you’re looking for an entertaining movie to watch this weekend that requires no conceptual forethought then The Last Stand will be perfect for you.  Be prepared for a lot of explosions, gunshots, blood and laughs.

Hasta la vista, baby.


Bow Tie Score - 3.5


Q & A

To Director Kim Jee-Woon: What was it like working on your first Hollywood film as opposed to the film industry you are used to in Korea?
There are many things different between our film industries.  For one in Korea an Assistant Director is more of someone that works with the director very closely to deliver his project.  In the States I learned that an Assistant Director is more concerned about production and getting things to stick to schedule.  I felt a lot more lonely!  Also I was not used to having to go through producers and studios with any changes I wanted made.  I got around this by convincing the actors to want the change for their characters, who would then ask the producers for me for the change; or I would do several takes the way the studios wanted and then the way I wanted.  Last, I was not used to Unions.  Sometimes I would feel really inspired and want to keep shooting, but then everyone would break for lunch.

To Actor Daniel Henney:  What was it like to work along side Forest Whitaker?
It was one of those “pinch me” moments.  I couldnt believe I was acting along side him, it was very intimidating.  But I found out that he’s really a humble guy, after a take he would ask “was that good Daniel??” and I would think, “why are you asking me!! You’re Forest Whitaker!”  He was a really great guy.

To screenwriter Andrew Knauer: Did you ever imagine Arnold would star as the lead in your script?
I could never have imagined at all!!! I think at the time he was the Governor so really it didn’t even occur to me that someday he would be playing that role.  Its crazy and I want to thank Director Kim Jee-Woon for this experience.  At first I was worried the movie was going to end up PG-13, then I watched I Saw the Devil and I knew that it wouldn’t.

The Last Stand Poster Free Popcorn Movie Posters Daniel Henney and Me! CGV Cinemas