Posted January 23, 2013 by Paula Hammond - Features Editor in Features
 
 

Arnie's Last Stand


“One thing was very clear from the beginning. I wasn’t trying to become a career politician … that was never my interest.

“One thing was very clear
from the beginning. I wasn’t trying to become a career politician … that was
never my interest.
I just felt like California and America
had given me everything that I have, everything that I’ve accomplished … so I
should take seven years out of my life and be a public servant, serving the
people, regardless of the lack of pay. I gave the money back as a matter of
fact. It was only like $187,000 a year which is petty cash for me!”

Arnold Schwarzenegger pauses
as the audience erupts into howls of laughter. For those who have never seen
the big man work a room, Arnie is a pro. That’s not so surprising perhaps, when
you consider that he’s been a public figure for almost four decades. But what
is surprising is that now that he’s stepped away from the requirements of
maintaining both a public office and a public persona, he’s clearly having a
ball.

The Last Stand is Arnie’s first ‘big’ movie for seven
years and he was keen to point out that he owed a lot to Sylvester Stallone who helped him “break the ice” and “get back”
into the business with cameos in both The
Expendables
and The Expendables 2. In fact Last Stand is very much of the
Expendables mould with cult director Kim
Jee-woon
on board to give the 80s beat ‘em up formula a tongue in cheek
reboot.

“What I was looking for was a typical Arnold action
movie and this one has great chase scenes, great fight scenes and shoot outs,
and some great comic relief. It’s a good story and I also play a character who
is somewhat more vulnerable than I’ve played in the past and I liked that too.
Then of course Lorenzo di Bonaventura
who is the producer of this film came to me with Kim Jee-woon – a director from
South Korea – and I was very impressed with all his work and I thought it would
be really interesting to have a new look at action movies … and then as we
… put the cast together I got more and more excited.”

Taking on the role of a small-town Sheriff with a
hard-edged past, Schwarzenegger resumes his screen hero status with a character
who has that familiar Arnie edge but, is also older, wiser and not quite so
invincible. Says Jee-woon: “Arnold
has done everything in Hollywood and I am just starting out in Hollywood. We are so different, but when I met
him, our thoughts on The Last Stand and his character coincided. [Arnold plays]
Sheriff Owens who has left behind his violent past for a quiet, peaceful small
town, but ironically, he must now put everything he has on the line in order to
protect this new home. I think we
both saw it as story about how a villain armed with high-tech machinery that
even governments cannot stop is thwarted by small town people who are inspired
by justice.”

Along for the ride are Jackass star Johnny
Knoxville (Lewis Dinkum)
and Jaimie
Alexander (Sarah Torrance
) of Thor
fame. And it’s a mix that works. Knoxville’s off-script improv (that “totally
drove Arnold and Jamie crazy” he says) stays just the right side of Jim Carey
crazy while Jaimie as Deputy Sarah Torrance – the sole female on the force – is
totally convincing as the seemingly ordinary gall who finds that she’s more
than ready for whatever’s coming her way.
And just in case you think her onscreen moves are just clever cutting
and direction, it’s worth pointing out that not only was Jaimie in her High
School Wrestling Team (“all male
… initially”) but she also spent eight hours a day training for her role in
Thor.

Of course no action movie would be complete without a
bad guy and to play The Last Stand’s sinister villain – the international drug
lord Cortez – the filmmaker’s sought out the very opposite of your standard
sleazy crime kingpin. Cortez is whip-smart, sleekly sophisticated and
simultaneously one of the coldest human beings ever to wear a tailor made
suit. They found that combo in the
hot and rapidly rising Spanish actor Eduardo
Noriega
.

So the scene is set for the inevitable ‘Last Stand’ as
Cortez races his band of lawless mercenaries, with the FBI in tow, towards the
US-Mexico border and straight through Summerton Junction, AKA Arnie Town.

Sums up Schwarzenegger: “What’s great about The Last Stand is that it is a real
underdog story, but it is also a story that happens all around the world. When I was Governor, one of my favorite
things to do was to give the Medal of Valor to law enforcement for the
extraordinary things they did, going beyond the call of duty. I would read their stories out loud and
often, they sounded impossible.
People would say ‘no human being could do that.’ But people do amazing things and that’s
the situation in The Last Stand.
You have a little town with one Sheriff and a few deputies and yet when
the most dangerous drug lord descends on his town, the chase is on.”

Last Stand is unashamedly old school and Arnie is
unashamedly proud to be back doing what he does best. “I’ll be back?” Here’s
news: he already is.

The Last Stand opens in UK
cinemas from 28th January.



Paula Hammond - Features Editor

 
Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com