“How are you, Sheriff?” Arnold Schwarzenegger’s grizzled lawman Ray Owens is asked in the central firefight of “The Last Stand” after hurling himself through the front doors of a bakery. “Old,” is his deadpan reply as he staggers to his feet and brushes the debris off his dusty leather jacket. It’s one of several self-deprecating remarks made by the 65-year-old Austrian macho man turned America’s greatest hero in a film much touted to be his big, shining comeback. Like all of them, it’s a sly quip at his advancing age, and, after nine years out of the Hollywood limelight and eight years engaged in Californian politics, aged Arnie certainly has: the skin around his skull is wrapped tight as a drum while his joints move with the un-oiled stiffness of the Tin Man.
And yet, in his first time anchoring a movie since 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” the Governator’s long-underused action chops remain firmly, stubbornly intact. We got a whiff of them last August in “The Expendables 2,” in which he chomped on cigars and pulled car doors from their hinges, but here we’re given the full-blown package: as the action hero of “The Last Stand,” he fires .44 magnums, dives off rooftops, races supercars and bludgeons badguys to a bloody pulp, and not for one second do we doubt he could do it all — not even when he complains about his dodgy hip. Arnie’s back, and it’s with open arms that we welcome his return. (Continue Reading…)