Monday, January 21, 2013

THE LAST STAND - hashed schwarz scrambled egger

I have always been a huge Arnold Schwarzenegger fan. Boyhood dreams of becoming Conan the Barbarian, a Predator destroyer or just a plain muscly, comedic action star seemed worthy of imitation and awed respect. 

My fondness over the years has ceased to wane, despite some of the glaring character flaws—which I hardly ever let influence my appreciation of the illusory characters on screen. I'm not entirely sure but currently I think it's wrong or rather incorrect to let the personal habits of stars mediate your response to the art form you happen to be viewing them in. This is not always easy. Many times actually, knowing something about an artist will engender an unforeseen appreciation of their work—sometimes an artist's history is requisite knowledge before even approaching a work of art if you have any chance of an understanding. What I wish to say, though, is If you discover your favorite star happens to be an adulterer, does that mean you should now refuse to watch all his/her movies—and further than that, reject all his/her former work because they have nasty secrets or is a complete douche bag? I think not. A mans' or womans' personal life, however bad or good, should be taken separately from the art itself. There will be crossovers and this generally makes the whole experience more interesting but still, I think there should be a distinction in ones mind.

Just think if you heard that Meryl Streep was complicit in a hit and run fiasco when she was 43. She never told anyone and the person died. Is her entire canon now worthless, degraded and artfully bereft? Does Lindsay Lohan personal illicit escapades discredit her as a person or as an actress? Does the new controversy over Klaus Kinski molesting his own daughter change my fascination with his maniacal wit and grand enigmatic presence on screen. No. Should it?   

To the movie at hand. The Last Stand was directed by a well known South Korean director Jee-woon Kim. He is best known for darker Korean films like, The Tale of Two Sisters and The Evil Inside. I find his films good but very strange like most all wacky Pan-Asian entertainment—which I happen to love. It's in your best interest to view some Japanese, Korean or Chinese cinema of the last decade before watching this film because it will seem very strange and downright idiotic to some. It might help explain why the hell Johnny Knoxville and Arnold ended up in the same movie together not to mention Luis Guzmán. The Oriental storytelling dynamic nearly always includes an incredibly stupid comic relief character—it's just their way. The narrative was surprisingly inventive, photographed with high brow sensibilities and deliberate charisma. Fun to watch. 

The Last Stand is rather silly but appropriately so. Arnold is pushing 70 and no longer a viable hardcore action star but he can still rock a badass pair of sunglasses and kick some unambiguous bad guy butt. So yes, I enjoyed the movie far more as a fan this time round. Given all the Asian cinema, manga, video games and the fact that I have seen every Schwarzenegger movie there is, certainly played into my viewing experience here. Critics beware. Fans rejoice. 

Recommended Viewing: The Host - Old Boy - Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter & Spring

              Bob Scale: The Critic: 6.2   -   The Fan: 7.5
             MetaCritic: 55
 Rotten Tomatoes: 56
                    IMDB: 7.6

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