Thursday, June 20, 2013
Catching Up On The Action
I pretty much loved The Last Stand. Yes, the story defies logic, but 1.) so what? and 2.) I really don't care when it's this much fun. I thought Arnold was great in his role of small-town sheriff, mentoring a small crew of deputies, and while the real action doesn't kick in until the third act, it's well-staged and executed by director Kim Jee-Woon, his stunt team, and the aging Arnold. The rest of the cast was adequate (I almost always enjoy Luis Guzman, and he's got a fun gag with Arnold's Conan sword), and I thought that actress Jaimie Alexander (Sif from Thor) was particularly good.
As for Parker, well, it turned out pretty much as I expected. It was an okay Jason Statham action flick and a poor adaptation of Donald "Richard Stark" Westlake's literary antihero. The filmmakers made the same mistake that nearly everyone has in adapting the character to film: they made him too human. The character in Westlake's novels is almost a machine, an unemotional, taciturn professional criminal with laserlike focus on the job at hand, whether it's a heist or revenge against someone who's wronged him. Here, they have the character verbalize (at least twice!) a "code of honor" that is both nonsensical and completely out of character. Too bad.
Statham does a professional job with what he's given, and I can't blame him for the mis-characterization. No, that falls fully on the script by John J. McLaughlin and the pedestrian direction of Taylor Hackford. Surprisingly, I thought Jennifer Lopez was pretty good.
Anyway, the movie has its moments, and I don't hate it, but it is a disappointment. Maybe they'll get it right next time.