Friday Flicks: Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Back in ‘The Last Stand’

TIME breaks down which films to see and which to avoid this weekend.

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Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

Director Jee-woon Kim, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jaime Alexander and Johnny Knoxville attend the LA premiere of "The Last Stand" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles.

The Last Stand

Tagline: Not in his town. Not on his watch.

An Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is such a rarity these days that you sometimes forget he was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. But if you’ll forgive the obvious reference, he did say he’d be back.

In The Last Stand, the 65-year-old Schwarzenegger plays Ray Owens, sheriff of a small Arizona border town called Sommerton Junction. It’s the sort of place where everyone knows your name, which is why Owens gets suspicious when he spots some unfamiliar faces in a diner.

The bad guys are there on behalf of a notorious Mexican drug lord, Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), who as it turns out recently escaped federal custody in Las Vegas. (What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, we guess.) Not only is Cortez headed for the border — via Sommerton — he’s got a hostage in his stolen car. But fear not: Owens and his team will be waiting for the inevitable showdown. Don’t be surprised if guns are involved.

But what might shock you are the extremely strong reviews The Last Stand is getting. “The Arnold Schwarzenegger movie you didn’t even realize you wanted to see,” opines the Associated Press, before praising Korean director Kim Jee-woon. “Kim keeps things moving briskly and the members of the strong supporting cast don’t seem to mind that they’re playing flimsy types. Everyone’s just here for a mindless good time.” Variety isn’t on board to quite the same degree but concedes that the “jokey star vehicle elevates a back-of-the-bar-napkin script with a string of proficient and sensationally violent setpieces.” And the Hollywood Reporter makes a smart comparison, noting that Schwarzenegger “resembles characters Clint Eastwood played back in the 1990s, physically capable guys who can still rise to the occasion even if they have slowed a step and will feel the bangs and bruises longer after the action’s over.”

VIDEO: 10 Questions with Arnold Schwarzenegger

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