Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to his first leading role since being Governator of California. He returns to the style of movie he excelled at making in his prime. A big, dumb action movie with a hefty shot of one-liners. Except that it’s not as good.
Schwarzenegger plays a former top cop in Los Angeles who decides to play Sheriff in the small, peaceful town of Sommerton, Arizona. Of course, nothing ever stays the same in these kinds of movies as stuff always goes boom. Forest Whitaker plays the FBI agent (read: speed bump) that is trying desperately to stop an escaped convict that’s trying to escape to Mexico in the fastest car in the world. Schwarzenegger and his rag-tag group of deputies have to stop this man at all costs.
Ultimately, whatever dumb plot is here is simply to set up a quite fun ending action sequence. And it’s the only reason the movie is made. The problem is that none of it is as fun as the last 30 minutes. The characters are largely one-note and boring. The writing is the equivalent of taking a Laffy Taffy and stretching it so you could try to enjoy it longer (ProTip: that doesn’t do shit).
And while that action sequence is a lot of fun, it’s not worth sitting through 60 minutes of boring slog to get through. The film definitely tries. There are some “emotional” moments to try to get you invested, some light comedy, some detective work, a mole-in-the-FBI pseudo subplot and a half-assed romance. None of them are developed enough to to actually care about though. Some of the actors are quite likable, especially Johnny Knoxville as a bumbling oaf, but there’s not a lot to work with to do anything else.
This would be fine if they were embroiled in some action, but they’re mostly not. They’re doing other things and engaging in stuff to try to make the viewer care about them. There are some neat car sequences with an awesome and sleek Corvette, but it quickly becomes stale after seeing the same Batmobile technique multiple times.
Throughout all of this, Schwarzenegger remains fun to watch. He’s still likable and can still kick as much ass as any 65-year-old on the planet. Unfortunately, him and a fun 30-minute end sequence aren’t enough to recommend sitting through 60 minutes of this film for. This is a great movie to watch on a lazy Sunday when you have absolutely nothing else to do but seeing it under any other circumstance should probably be avoided.