starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville and Jaimie Alexander
screenplay: Andrew Knauer
directed by: Jee-Woon Kim
MPAA: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Expectations could be seen as high for this movie, as it features both the return to starring roles by our former governor, and the English language debut of a beloved Korean director. Personally, though, I had low expectations because it’s January, and this is the month where bad movies come to hang out. So were my expectations met? Yes, absolutely. This is a terrible movie full of missed opportunities, horrible dialogue and pro-gun propaganda. It does have a few good laughs, though, some of them even on purpose.
Arnold Scharzenegger stars as Ray, the sheriff of a small town on the border between Arizona and Mexico. He’s got a funny Mexican deputy (Luis Guzman, who for some reason is the only Mexican-American living in this town), a young kid who longs for the action of the big city (Matt Saracen … rather … Zach Gilford), and of course a tough, pretty girl (Jaimie Alexander) whose ex-boyfriend languishes in the town lockup. Add to that the crazy gun collector played by Johnny Knoxville, and you have the rag tag band of good guys.
A Mexican cartel lord breaks out of prison and speeds off in a super-powered Corvette. He’s driving himself, and Forest Whitaker’s FBI agent, who also acts as a sort of narrator for people who have never seen a movie tells us that “he drives under a fake name in South America. I’ve seen him drive. He’s great.” Why is the FBI guy watching auto races in Brazil? This is exactly the time my companion leaned over to me and said, “This is a bad movie.” I had no argument, for this sort of stupid dialogue continues coming from the FBI agents, who frankly should have been left out of the movie.
Meanwhile, back in small town Arizona, The Governator is investigating the murder of a town resident when he discovers the cartel’s gang doing something to help their boss escape. He figures out what they’re doing, but of course the stupidest FBI agents in the world can’t help (really, the ways in which the FBI can’t help are over-and-over again ridiculously dumb), so he has to gather the gang and take a stand. Action happens, and well, it’s a lot of what you’d expect. Most of the action bits are OK I guess, but the comedic stuff works better than any attempts at tension.
Sometimes I’ll see an action movie that’s terrible, but can recommend it for the popcorn nature of it. I can’t do that here. It’s the return to action of one of the all time greats, but I think he’s a much worse actor than he used to be; out of practice I guess. Also, when it comes time for him to say “I’ll be back,” he says “I’ll be right back in a few minutes,” as if they forgot the whole point of casting him in the first place. It’s a total bummer.