After leaving his LAPD narcotics post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with remorse and regret, Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) moved out of Los Angeles and settled into a life fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction. But that peaceful existence is shattered when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the western hemisphere, makes a deadly yet spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy.
I was prepared to be disappointed by this comeback by Arnold Schwarzenegger. After all he is fairly far from the shape he once had. Luckily I was not. This is a quite enjoyable movie. Sure it is falls short compared to his previous really hard hitters but it is still a good movie. The plot is okay although a fairly standard one. Escaped criminal races for the border, hero sheriff (good old Schwarzy) stands in his way. Been there, seen that, done that. It is a plot that works though and the racing maniac and bridge building twist made it not feel too old.
It was fun to see Arnold in a leading role gain although he did look a bit rusty. He also felt a bit wimpier than he used to. Sure, he beat, stabbed and shot the bad guys for a good enough chunk of the movie but it was with a bit more hesitation and without the “I’m gonna kick your ass” attitude that he used to have. For being an experienced guy he, that is him in his role as the sheriff, also seemed to bungle it every now and then. The scene where he turns his back to the bad guy and, of course, gets stabbed annoyed me quite a lot for example.
It is always nice to see Peter Stormare in a movie. Not just because he is from my native country but I do like him as an actor. He put the necessary spice on the bad guys which was quite needed since, personally, I thought Gabriel Cortex was a somewhat shallow mad drug baron stereotype. Seeing him floor it or change gear became somewhat boring after the 5th or so time. Also that scene where he bumps a Suburban of the hood of the Corvette was just silly. No way would the hood, or the car for that matter, stand for that. I just do not understand why producers/directors continue do these obvious and arrogant we-think-the-audience-is-to-stupid-to-notice things. News-flash: we are not that stupid!
Forest Whitaker was not too bad as the FBI guy being screwed over and I did like Luis Guzmán as one of the sheriff’s sidekicks. Otherwise the team was somewhat bland. I guess the historical weapons guy was supposed to be funny but I mostly found him silly. The shootout between the sheriff’s team and the bad guys at the end of the movie was quite fun to watch but, at the same time, fairly silly. There was not much real life logic in how it played out. The bloody bus they used to move the machine gun into place made no sense at all for instance except as a reason to make some driving stunts with a bus.
The bottom line though is that, for me, this was a enjoyable movie and not at all the bungled comeback attempt that I was afraid it would turn out to be.