Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
He told us he’d “be back.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to the silver screen this weekend as the star of “The Last Stand,” a thoroughly awful film with some curious messages at an even more curious time.
Ever since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the calls for more and more gun control have been cascading upon the culture, some poured out from – of all places – Hollywood, as evidenced by the “Demand a Plan” YouTube ad.
Despite the obvious hypocrisy of these movie stars who have earned millions making gun violence look like fun (as pointed out by this remarkable parody of the “Demand a Plan” ad – warning, extreme violence and some obscenity), they want us to “demand” tighter gun controls, further erosions of the 2nd Amendment and a more weakly defended general public.
But what Hollywood entertainers and action stars ought to know (if they watched their own movies – or studied real-life history) is that access to guns, even the “assault weapons” they rage against, is not about hunting, not about sport shooting, not even about preventing burglary.
When crafting the 2nd Amendment, the Founding Fathers had the wisdom – and the knowledge of their recent history – to foresee a day when the government’s ability to protect the people would break down. Perhaps the government would even become the oppressor, something they were all too familiar with.
Is it really so hard to picture a day in the near future when the American government collapses economically? A chaotic time when the army can’t be paid, the police unions go on strike, and yet the criminal element is still armed and ready to make money off its trade in drugs and other currencies?
In just such a time, the Founding Fathers knew, the best protection from enemies, foreign or domestic, would be the banding together of fathers and sons, families and neighbors. If the cops aren’t coming, but the drug lords are, wouldn’t a, oh, I don’t know, “militia” of armed citizens make sense? See the 2nd Amendment for more on the topic.
Or for that matter, see “The Last Stand.”
OK, no, I don’t really recommend you see this movie.
It’s a train wreck of contradictions, implausibility and cheesy acting. It’s set in a world where every actress is incredibly beautiful and every actor incredibly melodramatic. The script is so bad it could be featured on “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
Yes, it has its funny moments, and yes, there are some entertaining sequences, but far too much of the movie is just groan worthy.
There is, however, one thing the movie gets right: The instinctive and common-sense need for firearms when the government isn’t there to protect you (hmm, perhaps that’s why the left is so against gun rights? In their worldview, the government is always there to protect you, and feed you, and tuck you in at night, and kiss your boo-boos and …)
The film casts Schwarzenegger as a small-town sheriff on the border with Mexico who learns the biggest, baddest drug lord in history is about to descend upon his small town with an army of mercenaries to clear his path. The drug lord’s goal is to get to the border, and neither the FBI nor the national guard nor the Army nor the Border Patrol can get there in time.
If anyone is going to stop the drug lord from escaping to safety, it’s the sheriff and his band of deputized local yokels.
Whether the filmmakers meant to or not, they set up the 2nd Amendment scenario: Bad guys with guns are on their way, and there’s no government to help you (even if you are the sheriff).
So what should Schwarzenegger do? Should he have no other recourse but to hide in a closet? To call 9-11 and tuck his tail between his legs? Should he just die, rather than picking up one of those icky, scary guns?
Schwarzenegger does what gun-rights activists have been shouting only makes sense: He turns to his pals and finds the biggest guns he can to defend his life, his town and his country.
In a very real object lesson (in a very unreal movie), “The Last Stand” illustrates: Where do you turn when the bad guys have an army? The man with the most guns.
And when the too-late FBI eventually does show up, the agent in charge asks him why he did it. Why did he and his militia take up arms, ala the 2nd Amendment?
Schwarzenegger gives the obvious answer that the FBI (in the movie), and the real-life media and gun-control fanatics apparently just don’t understand, even if the Founding Fathers did.
Says Schwarzenegger: “This is my home.”
As a dad, a patriot and a student of history, I add only this: “Duh, Hollywood.”
“The Last Stand” is rated R primarily for extreme violence and cartoonish bloodshed, with bodies exploding and mists of gore and bullets flying everywhere. The movie may illustrate why a right to bear arms is needed, but it also illustrates the way Hollywood glamorizes gun violence.
The film also pushes the R envelope with heavy language. Nearly 100 obscenities and profanities mar the script.
The film is fairly light on sexuality, though it has a few lewd comments, particularly as a bad guy leers after a waitress. There are also a couple of kisses and some brief groping.
“The Last Stand” contains a couple of religious references, including a plaque that quotes what appears to be Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion,” a brief mention of Jesus and a brief joke about the Crusades.