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The Expendables are rolling out onto our screen once again, bringing together old action stars and even older action stars. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the biggest action stars from the 80s and 90s, making movies like Commando and True Lies and has worked with some of the best action directors. He has made some classic movies, so lets look at some of his best (and one of his worst).
5. Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbarian was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first major role in a Hollywood movie. It is also one of his best movies. It is an entertaining romp and a very violent fantasy movie. It was a movie that helped resurge the swords and sorcery genre, had great action and music and Schwarzenegger looked perfect for the role. His thick Austrian accent was an asset to the character and Schwarzenegger’s version is the definitive onscreen version of the Robert E. Howard character.
Arnie is known for one-liners and some of his best were in Predator. Made in Schwarzenegger’s heyday and during the height of high-concept action filmmaking, our favorite hulk of Austrian muscle leads a team of special forces on a rescue mission in Central America, but ends up getting hunted by an advanced alien. Schwarzenegger as Dutch is the only man able to physically fight the Predator and uttering famous lines like “Get to the Chopper” and “You’re one ugly motherfucker!”
3. Total Recall
One of Mr. Schwarzenegger’s more intellectual movies was the Paul Verhoeven adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story, “We Can Remember It for You Whole”. Total Recall is a ultra-violent movie filled with Verhoeven’s dark humor, satire and surrealism. Total Recall is a fun sci-fi movie with OTT action sequences and also operates on a more cerebral level as Douglas Quaid’s scenes of reality becomes more and more blurred.
2. The Terminator
Conan the Barbarian started Schwarzenegger’s career as an action star, The Terminator cemented it. The Terminator is a classic sci-fi movie from the 80s with Schwarzenegger starring as a cyborg assassin sent back in time to kill the mother of the future resistance leader John Connor. The Terminator was a character of few words, but he did not need to say much because he was a near unstoppable force who would not stop until he completes his mission. As Kyle Reese says: ‘It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.’
1. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Terminator 2: Judgement Day is often seen as one of the best sequels ever made: for good reason. Schwarzenegger returns, starring as a new Terminator who is reprogrammed to protect a young John Connor from the liquid metal T-1000 and ends up helping the Connors stopping a nuclear apocalypse. Terminator 2: Judgement Day is a sequel that is bigger, featuring fantastic action sequences and state of the art special effects and most importantly served as a great continuation and end to the series. Schwarzenegger was in top form in the action and supplying some moments of deadpan humor. Schwarzenegger said a grand total of 700 words in the movie, earning $21,429 per-word: Hasta la vista, baby.
The Worst: Jingle All the Way
As well as making some of the best action movies, Schwarzenegger’s career does have a dark side as he has made some truly terrible movies. Hercules in New York and Batman and Robin are notoriously awful movies. But our pick for the worst Arnie movie is the festive comedy Jingle All the Way. It may be a guilty pleasure, but it is a terrible slapstick comedy celebrating the worst aspects of the commercialization of Christmas.