It took longer than expected, but Arnold Schwarzenegger (you know what joke is coming...) will be back in The Last Stand, a film helmed by Korean cult director Kim Jee-Woon - a.k.a. Kim Ji-Woon, depending on who you ask.
Shooting has officially begun on Last Stand, which will be filmed on location in sparsely-populated regions of New Mexico and Nevada. Schwarzenegger will actually have appeared on the big screen again in The Expendables 2 before The Last Stand hits theaters... though, his role in the Expendables sequel is only expected to be relatively larger than in its predecessor, seeing how he'll be working on set for less than a week.
Kim has previously delivered several well-liked titles that offer somewhat unconventional and effective variations on their respective genres - be it that of the western (The Good, the Bad, the Weird), mystery/horror (A Tale of Two Sisters), or revenge thriller (I Saw the Devil). However, since he's never worked on either a Hollywood studio production or English-language film before, fans of his particular flavor of cinema are waiting to see if anything gets lost (or gained) in translation.
Here is the official synopsis for The Last Stand (a.k.a. simply Last Stand):
Schwarzenegger stars as Sheriff Owens, a man who has resigned himself to a life of fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction after leaving his LAPD post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with failure and defeat after his partner was crippled. After a spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy, the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the hemisphere (Eduardo Noriega) is hurtling toward the border at 200 mph in a specially outfitted car with a hostage and a fierce army of gang members. He is headed, it turns out, straight for Summerton Junction, where the whole of the U.S. law enforcement will have their last opportunity to make a stand and intercept him before he slips across the border forever. At first reluctant to become involved, and then counted out because of the perceived ineptitude of his small town force, Owens ultimately accepts responsibility for one of the most daring face offs in cinema history.
Last Stand's cast also includes the likes of Jaimie Alexander, Rodrigo Santoro, Peter Stormare, Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights), Johnny Knoxville (Jackass), Luis Guzmán (Oz), Harry Dean Stanton (Alien), and Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker (The Crying Game, The Last King of Scotland). Between that eclectic (but decent) cast, Kim as director - and a screenplay that has previously been described as a hybrid of films like Fast Five, Die Hard, and High Noon, it seems like The Last Stand is poised to be a solid thrill ride.
This also reads as an appropriate return vehicle for Schwarzenegger, in the sense that his diminished stature and spoiled public reputation are actually plot points in the movie. Whether the strategy of taking on a role that mirrors his actual life - and offers Ah-nuld a chance to recapture his former (onscreen) glory - will ultimately pay off... well, that remains to be seen.
Look for The Last Stand to hit U.S. theaters on January 18th, 2013.