Now that Arnold isn’t a governor anymore, he’s back to acting. I never saw The Last Stand but I thought Escape Plan (review here) was entertaining enough. This movie looked a lot darker so I was definitely curious. Add in Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans), Josh Holloway (Lost), Terrence Howard (Iron Man, Crash), and Joe Manganiello (True Blood), my interest was piqued.
The gist is that Arnold is the head of a DEA undercover unit, praised as the best of the best. However in the opening scene, we see them trying to take $10 million from a job, for themselves. When they go to retrieve the money, it’s gone. Fingers start pointing and the DEA puts on the pressure to find out where this $10 million went. Cut now to current day and the investigation slows down enough for Arnold to get the team back together.
The movie takes a turn here though, as members of the team start to get taken out one by one. This becomes an Agatha Christie-style “who done it?” mystery.
This is likely Arnold’s best movie in a long time but he’s not the best part. His supporting cast is stellar and they’re all just crazy enough that you’re suspicious of all of them. Sam Worthington isn’t even recognizable. Mireille Enos is the only woman on the team but she steals almost every scene she’s in. The chemistry on this team is incredible, as we’re able to see them in their good times and their bad times. The difference is stark. Arnold as the lead does a fine job but it’s nothing we haven’t seen him do before.
While the movie starts with some major firefights, this isn’t an action-heavy film for the most part. It’s suspense. Who took the money and who is killing the other members of the team? And as a mystery movie, it succeeds on almost every level. It’s fun to watch, it’s super predictable, and ends with one of the coolest car chases I’ve seen in recent memory.
The movie doesn’t hold anything back, when the action does kick in. There’s a lot of violence and a lot of gore. I wasn’t expecting that, but this movie earned it’s R-rating.
What doesn’t work?
The ending is a little hard to believe but I understand why they made some choices to keep the mystery. The car chase won me over, so I wasn’t too concerned about the hows and whys at that point, so it didn’t bother me.
Again, Arnold is fine, but his supporting cast nailed it, both in their convincing team dynamics, and then individually as that time breaks apart. When the movie is slow, the character work here is great, but the action scenes also pack an amazing punch. If you’re a little squeamish, be warned, but for me, this was one of the best action mysteries in recent memory.