The Last Stand Blu-Ray Review
|10/1/2013||15/5/2013||Village Roadshow||Kim Jee-Woon|
|AVC MPEG-4||DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1||MA15+||Arnold Schwarzenegger|
|Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in The Last Stand.|
The Last Stand was a great project for Arnold to return to the big screen. I saw this film at the cinemas with a bunch of Arnold fans, and we all agreed it was one of his better films and falls into his best genre - the action comedy. Unfortunately, The Last Stand struggled at the box office primarily to horrible marketing. They put Johnny Knoxville front and center which made the film seem more comedic then it should be, while Jaimie Alexander, who had just come off the hit film Thor, was virtually sidelined despite being one of the main actors. Still, this is a very entertaining film and you can now check it out on Blu-Ray. So what's it about...
After leaving his LAPD narcotics post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with remorse and regret, Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) settled into a life fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction. But that peaceful existence is shattered when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the western hemisphere, makes a deadly yet spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy and is heading for the Mexican border - with Sommerton Junction the last town before the border.
The star of this show is, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger and yes, he is starting to get old and shows it a little in this film. One must remember that it has been ten years since Arnold last starred in a feature film (that being Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) and while he's gotten a little slower, and perhaps put on a few kilos, one must remember that he just spent two terms sitting at a desk as governor of California. Having said that The Last Stand has a few small nods to this fact including Arnie needing to put on some glasses to inspect a dead body, and having him responding with "Old" when asked how he feels after crashing through a window. It's subtle and it works quite well in his comeback film.
|Johnny Knoxville performs a stunt here himself.|
Supporting cast in the film also impress, and each puts in a fine performances. One of our major concerns about the film was Johnny Knoxville, while a funny in his Jackass films and TV series, he often quite over the top however his role here is amusing, and given his limited screen time is actually very enjoyable in the film. Forrest Whitaker is fine as the federal agent chasing down the fugitive while Peter Stormare is also up to the task as one of his crew. Two others stole the show for me though, both being Arnold's fellow deputies - Luis Guzman is just a fantastic as Mike and he has some classic lines, while Jaimie Alexander is superb as Sarah - why Jaimie wasn't promoted more as starring in the film we'll never understand.
Some of the set pieces in this film are very entertaining, from the escape of Gabriel Cortez, to Johnny Knoxville's character creating a roadblock, and the shootout near the town. With a somewhat limited budget these set pieces aren't massive, but they're believable, and most importantly, very entertaining. We also need to mention the impressive work by Korean director Kim Jee-Woon who keeps the film moving, gets some solid performances and despite his lack of English speaking ability manages quite a few laughs during the 107-minute runtime.
|Taking shots at the beef!|
The Last Stand is a very enjoyable film and a solid return to the big screen for Arnie. With a good mixture of action and comedy this is certainly recommended viewing.
Upon starting The Last Stand on Blu-Ray there were certainly some concerns with some very strange vertical lines for a second or so at the 1:13 mark which we don't recall in the theatrical version. We certainly don't recall this from the cinemas, but fortunately it was a single incident through the film. Other then that the rest of the film was remarkably clear with a great AVC MPEG-4 transfer in the films original 2.40:1 aspect ratio.
Much of the film takes place at night as Cortez races towards the border, but fortunately most of the action sequences, including the finale take place in broad daylight so you can certainly see what's going on. Fortunately this transfer - with a bitrate that often overs above 30Mbps according to our PS3 - handles all situations with finesse with plenty of fine detail and a natural looking colour palette with fine detail at all times. Being shot digitally on Arri Alexa Plus cameras there isn't any film grain, but that's not a bad thing in this era of super- clean imagery.
|Luis Guzman is fantastic in The Last Stand.|
The Last Stand comes to Blu-Ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack and it's a cracker of a release. In the opening moments you'll hear a subdued song (it sounds Ritchie Valens but we're not sure it is) and then a speeding car roars past bringing the room to life. As such an action packed film the surround sound channels are used aggressively, as is the sub-woofer. Dialogue is clear and overall this is every bit the high-definition audio experience you would expect. Superb.
If there is one disappointment it's that the American Blu-Ray apparently has a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track - and we can imagine that for such an action packed film it would have just added that additional punch to the film for thsoe with a suitable setup.
There is only one other audio track on The Last Stand Blu-Ray - that being a Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio Description track encoded at 224kbps. It will get the job done, but we also find the lack of surround sound on these tracks disappointing, more so due to the aggressive use of surround sound on this film. The disc also contains English Descriptive Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired which are coloured according to the person talking, but are accurate to the on-screen dialogue.
|Tracking the escaped fugutive.|
Upon starting The Last Stand Blu-Ray disc you will be presented with three trailers before hitting the main menu. These trailers include 21 And Over (2:28), Side Effects (1:54) and Movie 43 (2:25).
Not in My Town: Making The Last Stand (28:10/HD): While this is a little EPK-ish there's still plenty of good behind the scenes on-set footage as well as interviews with the key cast and crew including Arnold.
Cornfield Chaos: Scene (11:21/HD): This is a pretty good look at making the chase sequence through the cornfields. There was a lot of work that went into this finale sequence, and this featurette covers many aspects of the filming.
|Jaimie Alexander should have been used to promote The Last Stand - she's fantastic.|
The Dinkum Firearm and Historic Weapons Museum (11:21/HD): This featurette looks at the museum setup for the film but also covers many of the weapons used throughout the film including the vickers gun. Certainly some interesting stuff here including the origin of the phrase "give them the whole nine yards"!
Action Cam Anarchy With Jaimie Alexander and Johnny Knoxville (10:32/HD): Two actors provide an insight into a day on the set with some mucking around, and filming many other members of the crew.
Deleted Scenes (8:07/HD): Six Deleted Scenes are presented here, and they were somewhat underwhelming overall with obvious reasons why they were cut from the final film. The scenes include "Pharmacy" (3:47), "Getting Older" (0:41), "Bannister's Briefing" (2:05), "Burrell" (0:26), "Blood on her Hands" (0:39), and "Bridge Skateboard" (0:29).
Extended Scenes (13:58/HD): These seven extended scenes are probably more interesting than the deleted ones as they add in a little more to some great scenes in the film. These scenes include "The Diner" (2:28), "Checking In" (1:03), "House Search" (2:18), "Police Station" (3:13), "Getting Armed" (1:31), "Sarah & Frank" (0:43) and "Car Kiss" (2:39).
|Peter Stormare as Burrell in The Last Stand.|
The Last Stand is a great return for Arnold Schwarzenegger to the big screen and while this isn't up there with True Lies, Predator or Terminator 2 it's certainly not one of his worst films either. If you like action films, and/or Arnold, then The Last Stand is a film worth checking out on Blu-Ray.
Review By: Dave Warner
Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.