Well… he told you he’d be back, didn’t he?

Yes, technically Arnold Schwarzenegger has been easing his way back into acting with a cameo in The Expendables two years ago, followed by a larger role in Expendables 2 (opening this weekend). The latter includes the above teaser trailer for The Last Stand, where Ah-nuld steps back into the limelight as an aging border-town sheriff, who must take down an escaped cartel head and his entourage of thugs.

Last Stand has the makings of a vintage 1990s action flick, judging by the trailer footage. World-weary protagonist who coughs up one-liners (Schwarzenegger), his plucky comic relief sidekick (Johnny Knoxville), the determined, but inexperienced, female rookie (Jaimie Alexander), high-body count shootouts, bone-crunching fistfights, crazy chase sequences (here, through a corn field) – and a federal agent (Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker) whose last hope to stop a bunch of dangerous criminals is the semi-retired hero who must pick up his gun once again? All present and accounted for.

It’s the same (as our Kofi Outlaw put it) “machismo-cheesy” approach that makes the Last Stand poster fun to joke about, but it’s also a welcome return-to-form for the ex-Governator. Moreover, Last Stand director Kim Jee-Woon seems to be having fun playing with these tried-and-true tropes, while infusing them with a bit of contemporary edge to keep the proceedings feeling fresh and energetic.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘The Last Stand’

Jee-Woon, for those not familiar, is a Korean filmmaker heralded for his work on such cult horror-drama titles as A Tale of Two Sisters and I Saw the Devil, along with the high-octane western The Good, the Bad, the Weird. He can go disturbingly dark and heavy when the occasion calls for it (see: I Saw the Devil), but Jee-Woon also knows when to keep his tongue pressed firmly against his cheek. While Last Stand appears to have its serious moments, first-timer Andrew Knauer’s script calls more for the latter approach.

We’ll have to wait and see if Knauer has devised more memorable quips for Schwarzenegger than what is featured in the Last Stand trailer. As entertaining as it is to watch Ah-nuld face off against Peter Stormare (Prison Break) and fire off rounds with a shotgun, he needs, nay, deserves something more quotable than “I am the sheriff!” (too bad “I am the law!” is already taken).

The Last Stand opens in U.S. theaters on January 18th, 2013.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers