[UPDATE: We’ve added a second image from The Last Stand!]

Arnold Schwarzenegger is celebrating his 65th year of living by working faster and harder than ever (as far as acting goes). He spent a few days reprising his role as “Bigger” Trench Mauser in Expendables 2 last year, before moving on to The Last Stand (where Ah-nuld returns to leading man position), following that with the long-awaited co-headlining vehicle with Sylvester Stallone, The Tomb. Schwarzenegger begins working on Breacher this fall, with Unknown Soldier on his docket thereafter (along with the Twins sequel, Triplets, possibly).

The Expendables sequel opens in a matter of weeks (from the time of writing this), but it’s Last Stand that fully transitions Schwarzenegger into the fourth quarter of his career. Scroll on down for the official first still of Arnie as Sheriff Ray Owens in the film.

The story revolves around Schwarzenegger as the aging Sheriff Owens, a disgraced LAPD officer who gave up his post and exiled himself to the Mexican border town of Sommerton Junction (as penance for screwing up an operation that left his partner permanently disabled). A chance for redemption presents itself in escaped drug cartel head Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) racing to cross the border, with a hostage for leverage, a small armada of thugs (including, Peter Stormare), and a “specially outfitted car.” Owens assembles a ragtag crew of officers that includes the “rookie” Sarah Torrance (Thor‘s Jaimie Alexander), and comically-inept Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville), to stage (you guessed it) a last stand against Cortez.

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Early word of mouth pegs Last Stand as a mixture of (south)western genre tropes with Fast and the Furious high-octane thrills, blended together with a dash of off-kilter comedy provided courtesy of Korean director Jee-woon Kim (similar to his cult western The Good, the Bad, the Weird). Professionally-untested screenwriter Andrew Knauer penned the original screen story and script draft, with a subsequent rewrite from Jeffrey Nachmanoff (Traitor). George Nolfi (Adjustment Bureau) is also credited on IMDb as a “writing supervisor” on the project.

Last Stand, at one point, was taking shape as a Liam Neeson action flick. It’s an interesting choice of comeback vehicle for Arnold, who’s hoping for a second wind-career as a greying screen hero (similar to Neeson). We say “interesting” because Kim’s storytelling tendencies vary from relentlessly brutal and unnerving (I Saw the Devil) to quirky and off-beat. He’s adept at mixing violence with comedy – a skill that should serve well on his Hollywood debut.

Look for The Last Stand to open in U.S. theaters on January 18th, 2013.

Source: USA Today, Arnold Schwarzenegger