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Non-Review Review: The Last Stand

In theory, The Expendables demonstrated that age was no real impairment when it came to the task of kicking ass and taking names, even if you might need to put your reading glasses on first. So, you could argue that the issue of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s age doesn’t really need to come up during The Last Stand. We know that he is 65 years of age, and we also know that he’s probably a great deal fitter than most of us will be at that age. (Being honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that a hexagenarian Arnie could trump most people in their prime.) As a result, the fixation of The Last Stand on the age of its leading man feels a little strange.

It feels especially strange because it eats into a lot of the film. The Last Stand is mostly functional, but its pacing suffers greatly. We’re going to see an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, so it’s safe to assume that (a.) we’re okay with his advancing age, and (b.) we want to see him kick some whippersnapper ass. Unfortunately, The Last Stand seems to misjudge the audience’s interest in an Arnie film, and as a result our leading man spends most of the first three-quarters of the film doing very little.

The Last Stand is clearly intended to demonstrate the viability of its leading man in this modern age, but it seems to lack the confidence to just dive into the action that this sort of film is meant to provide. The result is a strange mish-mash of a film that winds up wasting a lot of good will long before it reaches its climax.

He's back!

He’s back!

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Non-Review Review: Conan the Barbarian (1982)

The 1982 Conan the Barbarian is one of what might be described as the “pop culture epics” of the eighties, a decidedly cheesy and campy take on an epic mythology – like Masters of the Universe or Flash Gordon. To be fair, John Milius’ adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s pulp hero holds up considerably better than most similar efforts to get an epic pulp product to screen. It’s still more than a little campy and cheesy, and more than a little dated. It still takes itself, perhaps, a little too seriously. However, it’s also a more thoughtful and considerate film than most give it credit for, and exceptionally nuanced in its portrayal of themes and ideas that most critics and pundits casually dismiss.

Steeling himself…

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