What’s better than enjoying a film with a mean ol’ muscle car in it, running from the cops or chasing down bad guys? Well, the easy answer is a film that has more than one fabulous piece of Detroit’s finest wreaking havoc in it!
In this month’s installment of “Rob’s Movie Muscle,” we’re going to take a peek at the four-wheeled stars of just such a film. It features two of today’s hottest muscle I think you’ll enjoy learning a thing or two about. So without further ado, let’s have a look at the Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner, The Last Stand, and its Corvette ZR1 and Camaro ZL1!
Lionsgate distributed The Last Stand in 2013. In addition to Schwarzenneger, the movie has a talented cast including Johnny Knoxville, Forest Whitaker, Luis Guzman, Peter Stormare, and Eduardo Noriega.
The movie tells the story of an El Chapo-type drug dealer (Noriega) who has escaped FBI custody and is headed to the Mexican border at top speed in a stolen supercar. Little does he know the town he has chosen to cross into his native country is run by Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenneger), an ex-Los Angeles narcotics cop who isn’t about to let this go down.
If it sounds like you’ve heard this all before, it’s because you have. The Last Stand is as derivative as movies of this genre come. It’s full of plot and character inanities (the villain conveniently happened to have been a race car driver before becoming a drug kingpin, and so on). The film is also littered with incongruous slapstick humor and pithy one-liners amidst the wholesale murder of dozens. It’s the type of movie where the bad guys’ bullets always seem to miss the hero, while the hero’s have pinpoint accuracy no matter how difficult the shot. In short, this is not a good film.
Thankfully, though, the automotive action makes up for the preposterous nature of the rest of the film.
The villain’s car is really the star of the show here. It’s a Cyber Gray 2013 C6 Corvette ZR-1 that, according to dialogue, is modified to put out 1000 horsepower and was stolen from the Los Angeles Auto Show days before the action in the film.
The car features a black leather interior and has a manual transmission, as evidenced by the numerous shots of the villain stomping the clutch and rowing the box himself. Would a former professional race car driver and current drug kingpin drive an automatic? I think not.
No signs of the car having actually been modified in any way are apparent on the screen, however. As far as I can tell, all looks stock. Though, I must admit we never get a look under the hood during the movie. The lone non-standard toy that we are shown is a nav screen that can be selected to display a rearview night-vision camera image.
In real life, the C6 ZR-1’s supercharged 6.2-liter V8 was good for 638 horsepower and a top speed of 205 mph. In the movie, the “modified” car is said to be able to reach 250 mph, something that strains believability since there are no aftermarket appendages or spoilers present to keep the car planted to the ground at that speed. Ah, Hollywood…
According to my sources, seven brand new ZR-1s were used for the shooting of the film, and only two were returned to Chevrolet in working order. The other five? Well, let’s just say they were sacrificed at the altar of the Hollywood film gods.
The real mods to the Corvettes were to accommodate the stunt and photographic work they had to perform on set.
Virtually all of the stunt cars, which accounted for five of the seven ZR-1s used during production, had their suspensions modified to accommodate the various practical (that is to say, non-CGI) jumps and maneuvers performed in the film. Of those, one car had its engine pulled at some point during production for rigged sequences, and another had its gas tank removed to allow for a safer shooting environment during a series involving pyrotechnics.
Several of the stunt cars were also beefed up to absorb impact energy via roll cages and reinforcements along the doors. Another car had virtually its entire interior removed to make it dramatically lighter. One car was also apparently bequeathed an automated steering and pedal control system, so that it could be remotely piloted.
The ZR-1 performs numerous feats throughout the film, including outrunning an FBI pursuit chopper, deftly outmaneuvering a police barricade, and eliminating an entire FBI convoy by using its low, front nose as a ramp to launch one of its pursuers into the air, creating a massive multi-car pileup. Were the film not so bad, its ZR-1 could have become an iconic movie car, no doubt.
The other star-car in the movie is an equally ferocious Chevy, a gorgeous, Victory Red, 2012 Camaro ZL-1. It doesn’t get a quarter of the screen time of the Corvette. But, to me, it is the more appealing of the two cars, owing to its retro-muscle-car styling and prodigious output.
Bone stock, the ZL-1 churned out 580-ponies and 556 lb-ft of torque from its supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V8. This was good enough to propel the 4100-pound vehicle to a 4-second 0-to-60 sprint, and an 11.9-second quarter-mile at 117 mph. Fast car.
The ZL-1 is introduced briefly at the beginning of the film and is not seen again until the third act when Ray uses it to chase down the bad guy in the ‘Vette. A truly spectacular chase sequence ensues, which unfortunately ends (as movies so often do) with the destruction of both vehicles in a cornfield. If you’re listening, Hollywood, can you please stop destroying high-end and classic cars?
The Last Stand is not an enjoyable film. In fact, it was pretty tough for me to sit through in preparation for writing this column. But like many of the movies I examine in this series and “Rob’s Car Movie Review,” this one is saved from being utterly unwatchable by the cars and the automotive action in it. I enjoyed the director’s choice to pit two top-of-the-line Chevy’s against each other.
Now, can someone make a movie with a Challenger and Charger Hellcat going at it?