38. The Last Stand (2013)
My expectations going into The Last Stand were a bit conflicting. Arnold’s films have never been much more than dumb action fare. At the same time, there’s nothing else like Arnold Schwarzenegger action. After a ten year drought, I was excited to have him back.
The Last Stand is no Terminator 2 or True Lies, but it’s definitely one of Arnold’s better efforts. The acting is a mixed bag, with heavyweights like Forrest Whittaker and Luis Guzman doing their best to balance out the shortcomings of Arnold and everyone else, but the script makes them work for it. The small cast could be even smaller. Guzman and Knoxville provide a bit of comic relief, but not nearly enough to justify their characters. Does Arnold even need comic relief? The idea is to throw in a bit of comedy to relieve the serious moments, but even in his most serious moments, Arnold is a bit goofy, intentionally or not. Not to mention he’s always been fairly capable when it comes to one liners.
I could spend all day pointing out flaws in a film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and the co-creator of Jackass, or I could give it the credit it deserves. The bar couldn’t have been lower, but The Last Stand sails over it with plenty of exciting action and the badass Arnold that we all know and love. Age has physically slowed him down, but he’s successfully transitioned into a grizzled old man, and he gets bonus points for not being afraid to poke fun at his encroaching senility.
And while I can’t help but think that the R-rating attributed to the poor box office take, kudos to the filmmakers for all the bloody, old-school violence.
39. Parker (2013)
I’m all ready to talk about how Parker is overly long, painfully familiar, and a waste of a stellar supporting cast, but the truth of that matter is that it managed to hold my unreliable attention surprisingly well. It’s just Jason Statham doing his thing, and yeah, that 120-minute run time is totally unnecessary, but having Michael Chiklis, Clifton Collins Jr., and Nick Nolte in there really manages to spice things up. It’s nothing revolutionary, and there are a few silly moments where exciting filmmaking takes precedence over logic, but if you’re a fan of Statham’s brand of action, you’ll get your fill.