Growing up in the late '80s and early '90s, no figure loomed larger in mainstream cinema than one Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger.
He was my generation's John Wayne; Clint Eastwood and Jimmy Stewart all rolled into one. Maybe not Jimmy Stewart.
In a time when the size of an actor's biceps directly reflected his stature in the entertainment business, Arnie was a golden goose. This bountiful period is reflected by such modern classics as Commando, Predator, Total Recall and Terminator: Judgement Day.
When 1993's overblown fiasco Last Action Hero came along, some of the sheen started to wear off. 1994's True Lies was pretty good, but 1999's End of Days and 2002's Collateral Damage were not. (I maintain a small soft spot for 2000's The Sixth Day).
Although Arnie's best movies were behind him, he was still a Hollywood powerhouse who commanded top dollar and first pick of all the best projects. Then came the whole political thing.
To be honest, I genuinely believed that Arnie would be able to push through an amendment to the American constitution that would allow him to run for President despite not being born in the USA.
I thought he'd said goodbye to movies forever. I thought his cameo as Prince Hapi in 2004's Around The World In 80 Days would be his final onscreen role. An ignominious end to an illustrious career if ever there was one.
But now that his excursion into politics is over, he's returning to his acting career. And it's doing my head in. I maintain my impression of Arnie from my youth - an infallible movie demi-god who can do whatever he wants.
So what role marks his magnificent return to the medium that created him? The third male lead in The Expendables 2.
This does not sit well with me.
If you'd told my 14-year-old that one day Arnie would appear SMALLER than Sly Stallone on a movie poster, I wouldn't have believed you. For the potential exhibited by the prospect of the first Expendables film ('80s action stars in '80s throwback action movie - sounds great!), the film itself was not very good.
I'll definitely be there on opening day for The Expendables 2, but I am highly thrown by Arnie's secondary status in the film. It's like discovering your parents are fallible, or that God makes poor career choices.
Following The Expendables 2, Arnie is playing the lead in a film called Last Stand, in which he plays a small town Sheriff (?!?!?) facing off against a ruthless drug lord. The presence of Korean director Jee-woon Kim (The Good, The Bad and the Weird) hopefully ensures the film will be something interesting, but the setting and plot descriptions aren't inspiring huge excitement in me.
Now Arnie is apparently considering an action project that's been floating around Hollywood for ages, in which he would again be playing second fiddle to Sly Stallone.
Sounding like the kind of high-concept action thriller that died in the late '90s, The Tomb is what happens when the man who designed the world's most inescapable prison is framed and thrown inside his very own creation. From where he must escape. Ugh.
Are Arnie and Sly in the Whatever Happened To Baby Jane phase of their careers - where their casting is more novelty than anything? I really hope not.
If it were up to me, (and let's face it, all things involving movies should be), Arnie would next make King Conan - a project that original Conan The Barbarian director John Milius has attempted to mount at various stages.
Consign the recent Conan reboot to the ages, and bring Arnie back in the role that made him a star. His increased age would benefit the film considerably, and allow Arnie to do what he does best. Seems unlikely at this point however.
Apparently Arnie had a "no sequels" policy in the '80s that lead him to reject sequels to both Predator and Commando. A modern-day Commando sequel would be awesome.
You could bring Alyssa Milano back as his daughter, and again Arnie's age would add some pathos to the story. Again, this is wishful thinking.
What do you think Arnie should do next? Is it weirding you out that he's back making movies? Or that he apparently has to crawl his way back up the Hollywood ladder? Can he ever recapture the magic of his golden period? These are serious issues people!
- Herald online