He came back. Every. Single. Time. Except in Hercules in New York.
I’ve been flicking through all of my films recently, trying to show my wife all of the things she’s been missing by not watching movies her whole life, and I basically just choose Arnie films.
So here are the best in which you can stream while on lockdown…
The film that made an Austrian bodybuilder with the most complicated last name ever a household name, The Terminator is also responsible for launching the illustrious career of writer and director James Cameron – who went on to make some of the best movies you’ll ever watch. So, The Terminator. I must say that it hasn’t aged too well, what with the sped-up car chases, electro-synth soundtrack and the dancing scene in Tech Noir – but everything else is spot on. Truly scary at times – the film is a triumph – thanks in part to Arnold’s restrained performance and an outstanding turn by Michael Biehn as the haunted Kyle Reece.
Not exactly one of Arnie’s best films, but it’s one of his best since he lost his head around the ‘Junior’ days. It also marks the first proper film in which he teams up with Sly Stallone – once sworn enemies in the 80s (due to Brigette Nielsen most likely), who later became best pals to open up Planet Hollywood with Bruce Willis. The film is about them escaping from a futuristic prison. It’s not as good as ‘No Escape’ with Ray Liotta but it’s better than Con Air.
Last Action Hero
If you had to name a film that encapsulates the phrase “ahead of its time” it would be Last Action Hero. Pretty much ridiculed at the time of its release in 1993, it was a massive bomb for Arnie and I think it secretly destroyed his ego after years of huge movie hits. It’s a shame really because the movie is fantastic – going full-on meta before anyone (except maybe David Bowie) even knew what the word meant. The premise is great; Arnie plays a movie action star, ‘Jack Slater’, who ends up in the real world after Charles Dance starts pissing around with a magic movie ticket. It sounds stupid and it is really – but it’s also genius.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Right, so you’ve watched The Terminator and you’re thinking – how the hell will they make a sequel to that?! Well, James Cameron is a master at sequels (see Aliens and Piranha 2) and he took his (and Arnie’s) creation and made it 10x better. Everything about this movie is flawless, with every single person in it at the very top of their game. The story is gripping, the acting outstanding, the CGI ground-breaking and it takes everything that made The Terminator so good and turns it completely on its head. The best movie sequel ever.
I don’t know what John McTiernan was doing before 1987 but when he released Predator he pretty much became the ‘go-to’ guy for action movies. Not only did he direct Last Action Hero (see above) but also The Hunt For Red October, Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengeance. He sorta lost his head a bit after that but his first proper move was this – Predator – starring a whole host of hard blokes whose body mass alone manages to elevate this film into the upper echelons of action movie greatness. They’re fighting an alien in the jungle who starts off as Jean Claude Van Damme but then gets sacked in favour of a taller man.
The Running Man
A film that actually makes a lot more sense now than it did when it was released, The Running Man is actually based on a book by Steven King and began Arnie’s foray into the ‘thinking man’s sci-fi action movies’. Much like the later Total Recall, The Running Man has a lot to say in terms of politics and society in general, all interspersed with some of the worst puns (the best) you’ll ever hear. For some reason Mick Fleetwood (from Fleetwood Mac) is in this at the beginning, and he’s just called “Mick” as if having another name would confuse him. I don’t get it – but the rest of the film is great.
Released right in the middle of some serious action movie titles, Arnie got together with Danny DeVito to star in Twins, a comedy in which the two play… twins. Obvious right?! Well, with Arnie being about 6ft 4 and Danny DeVito being about 3ft, that can only mean that they were both created in a lab by a group of scientists who created the ‘perfect’ human with Arnie and all of the dregs, piss and vinegar went to make DeVito. I’m sure he was happy with that one. It’s a great movie though – mostly because DeVito is a comedy genius – Arnie tries his best though.
Hercules in New York
Save the best ’til last?! That’s right, the infamous Hercules in New York is available to stream of Amazon Prime and you’d be a fool to miss it. Arnie’s first ever movie in the US, he’s actually credited as ‘Arnold Strong’ and seeing as he spoke with a strong Austrian accent, he’s been dubbed over by some other poor sod. The movie is absolute drivel – about Hercules going to New York because Zeus is a bit of a dick head for not letting him be a wrestler. Something like that. It’s a good one to watch while getting hammered though – it’s laughably bad.