Arnold Schwarzenegger has returned to our screens in the last few years in The Expendables movies, but in those he appeared in a cameo and as part of the ensemble of action movie legends. Here however Schwarzenegger is most definitely back, back in a starring hero role, in a film that ticks every box for it to be classed as a classic action movie.
The film revolves around a very low key premise – Schwarzenegger is the sheriff of a small town near the Mexican border. It's a sleepy place, the most crime he has to worry about is locals parking in front of the fire hydrant! A major drug cartel baron has escaped from the FBI (led by Forest Whitaker); the baron is making his way for the border in a stolen high speed concept car. Of course, one town is in between him and the border..... Schwarzeneggerville!
The film, like I said, has a very simple premise, which to be honest is a great thing for his return to the genre after a decade in politics. Schwarzenegger was last seen in a starring role in 2003's Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. Here, he plays a down-to-earth man, a sheriff who has a real sense for his community – but of course he wasn't always a town sheriff and has a specialised past just for this occasion. He plays a man who has retired essentially to this slow paced town. This is an ideal role for an ageing action giant, he delivers one liners with the same gusto he always has and its a joy to see him on the big screen again.
Schwarzenegger is supported by a great mix of a cast. We have, as his deputies, a mix of character actors from all types of genre. Johnny Knoxville plays the town's gun enthusiast nut (not that much acting involved); from Marvel's Thor, we have Jamie Alexander as a strong willed female deputy, who is a crack shot with a rifle. The villains are also played to great ham level: Peter Stormare is great as the Barons second-in-command who terrorises the town to great effect and there's a blink-and-you-miss-him cameo by Alien star Harry Dean Stanton!
The film itself is a fun filled experience, the tension of the incoming confrontation as the drug baron gets ever closer is so well handled and the early skirmishes with his men in the surrounding area of the town help build you to the confrontation at the end of the film. The whole film has a modern western feel and its so great to see Schwarzenegger back to his best – I would recommend this for any action fan. If Arnold Schwarzenegger films are not your cup of tea.... then why go? But if you do love his films then this is a welcome return to the big screen.
Rating: 4 out of 5