HOLLYWOOD—Action superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger has returned to his original stomping ground in “The Last Stand.”  The last time audiences saw the actor in an action movie was last year’s “The Expendables 2,” which was more of a cameo versus a starring role.  In this picture,Arnoldis indeed the star as Sheriff Ray Owens who has taken a back seat to his position after an operation goes awry seriously injuring his partner.  It’s the typical sob story of a hero who is unable to come to grips with his past demons to move forward with his life.

The plot premise follows drug lord, Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) who escapes the clutches of the FBI while inLas Vegas.  Cortez flees officials in a flashy Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, with federal Agent Ellen Richards (Genesis Rodriguez) as his hostage.  He has only one goal in mind cross the U.S. border into Mexico; his ticket to freedom and he’s willing to kill anyone that attempts to get in his way.

Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker turns up as Agent John Bannister attempting to halt Cortez’s attempt, but the criminal is always one-step ahead; you can probably guess why that is.

The rest of the movie follows Owens (Schwarzenegger) and his gang of deputies who attempt to stop Cortez from crossing the border. In the midst of the battle, countless lives are lost, but there are also some hilarious hi-jinks between Owens and Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville) that lightens the tone of the picture.  Both Schwarzenegger andKnoxvillehave great chemistry that meshes well on the screen.

Let’s face it; we’re all aware thatArnoldis not able to perform the high-octane stunts that he performed in the early 80s and 90s, that’s made obvious in some of the chase scenes in the picture.  That cache alone makes the movie that much more enthralling.  It depicts an actor portraying a character who is coming to gripes with the drawbacks of old age.

Nothing fantastic happens in the picture that sets it apart from any other action-flick.  The dialogue is a bit rough at times; as it’s not as fluid as one would expect, but most action movies rarely have exceptional dialogue to begin with.  “The Last Stand” prides itself on following in the footsteps of every other action movie: explosive gunplay, crappy dialogue, explosions, car chases and bloody kills.  It’s everything an adrenaline junkie could expect in a picture, and the icing on the cake is Schwarzenegger himself.  When you think of action he’s the mega-star that always comes to mind.

“The Last Stand” is the movie that does exactly what you want it to do; help you escape your daily troubles for about 2 hours.  And it’s an escape worth every single minute.

By LaDale Anderson