There’s https://github.com/strobecorp/strobe-rails-ext#strobeactioncontrollermetal which has a few nice features, amongst them support for halt in Rails. Don’t know if it works on Rails 3.2 though.
I disagree that the second version is simpler. The first version of the code reads top-down and is easy to understand. The second version abstracts every line into a separate method, which is only used once (presumably), and requires going back and forth figuring out what are local variables and what are methods.
The first version of the code could just as easily and cleanly be written with all of that code inline.