After a ten-year absence from a leading role in a film, Arnie is back with The Last Stand. To celebrate the Austrian Oak’s comeback the team at Graffiti with Punctuation (GWP) were asked to vote for their favourite Schwarzenegger films. It doesn’t matter how cool or arty people like to think they are; everyone has a favourite Schwarzenegger film.
LIAR SITTING HIPSTER! That guy is probably listening to the soundtrack to Predator. Schwarzenegger’s films are the ultimate indulgence in action cinema with the odd detour via “comedy”. Schwarzenegger always played to his action hero strengths and revelled in one-liners, a physicality no other performer could match and enough self-awareness to make fun and even satirise the genre that made him famous.
The votes have be counted and put through an intense weight training session and injected with, errr, a protein shake.
Here are the top Schwarzenegger films according to the GWP staff.
10. End of Days (1999)
One of the few films released in 1999 that used the fear surrounding the approaching millennium as an excuse to have Schwarzenegger fire a rocket launcher at Satan (this actually happens in the film). The bad guys in this film we’re praying for pain relief as Arnie put his faith in the power of the fist and fully automatic weaponry.
9. Total Recall (1990)
Filmmaker Paul Verhoeven had delivered the perfect social satire with Robocop and used Schwarzenegger’s swagger to maximum bloody effect in Total Recall. Over the top violence and a sci-fi setting (“get your ass to Mars”) allowed Verhoeven and Schwarzenegger to run wild with ideas. Arnie played around with his status as an action hero to deconstruct the genre to the point of satirising the entire era of 80s action films that he built his career on.
8. The Running Man (1987)
Schwarzenegger doing another bit of social satire in a dystopian future where the population is obsessed with a gladiator style reality television fight to the death (think The Hunger Games with muscles and less talk of “feelings”).
7. Commando (1985)
Enjoyable for all the wrong reasons but a must see for any fan of action films. Featuring some of Schwarzenegger’s best one-liners, explosive action from multiple angles and homoerotic Freddie Mercury inspired villains – Commando has to be seen to be believed.
6. Last Action Hero (1993)
Outside of the Terminator franchise, Schwarzenegger is at his absolute best when he is making fun of himself. While critics may have slammed the film upon release, it’s actually a really fun deconstruction of action cinema that plays around with stereotypes and clichés beautifully. Schwarzenegger is more than aware of that and it’s fantastic watching him indulge his action hero persona as Jack Slater.
5. Eraser (1996)
High tech weapons, the process of “erasing” people and a scene where Arnie battles a bunch of alligators that leads to a reptile’s death followed by the line “you’re luggage”. The film has all the flair of a Tom Clancy thriller with giant freaking biceps.
4. True Lies (1994)
After the success of two ‘Terminator’ films, filmmaker James Cameron and Schwarzenegger teamed up for ‘True Lies’, an explosive spy film with the comedic tinge of a marriage that has hit the rocks. It is spies on steroids that makes James Bond look like a pansy.
3. The Terminator (1984)
The career defining role for Schwarzenegger who put the bod in “embodies” while representing a cold and calculated killing machine from the future. Schwarzenegger has an incredible presence and with very little dialogue he manages to completely sell the character with the mechanical walk, the eye and head movements that mirror a surveillance camera and a knack for killing without showing any remorse.
2. Predator (1987)
A film that mashes action, sci-fi and war all into one film while indulging in the male bravado of the 80s action hero suited Schwarzenegger perfectly. Despite the fact that the film starts with big egos blasting through the jungle, as the characters are worn down by their mysterious foe it becomes a battle of wits and brawn and Arnie is at his primal best.
1. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Schwarzenegger pulled off the impossible with the sequel to ‘Terminator 2’. The sequel to the 1984 hit film could have just been a simple re-tread of the Terminator character but Schwarzenegger and James Cameron managed to build on the foundations established in the first film and gave the character depth. Arnie switched sides to “team Connor” and with his interactions with a young John Conner (Edward Furlong), he was able to learn about humanity and the value of life; a direct conflict to his programming as a Terminator. Arnie was still tossing punks onto flaming stoves and kneecapping any threats, but it was a new take on a familiar character, an evolution of a cybernetic badass that an audience could develop an emotional connection with.
What are your favourite Schwarzenegger films? Hasta La comment baby!