Many Faces Of Action-Hero - Chapter #1 - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

This series represents some of the more memorable roles of different movie action-heroes. Chapter #1 focuses on the one that every action fan knows - ever funny macho action star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A short biography

Arnold was born July 30th of 1947 in Austria, Thal. He traveled as poor penniless immigrant to United States in 1968 seeking fortune as a bodybuilder. He acted in hilarious Hercules In New York (1969) and Stay Hungry (1976) gaining bit of a fame, while mainly started out as competitive professional bodybuilder in 1970's getting major success in that field -- winning five Mr.Universe titles and seven Mr.Olympia titles. A bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron (1977) covered majority of his bodybuilding career. In late 70's he took a part to rather unknown comedy Cactus-Jack (1979).


After starting out as professional bodybuilder gaining huge success doing that, and taking a part in few more unknown and rather comedic roles, Arnold's action star era was yet to come. And in 1980's it happened, in the peak of cheesy action movie era. Arnold first took role of Conan The Barbarian in movies Conan The Barbarian (1982) and Conan The Destroyer (1984) and played similar role, Kalidor, in less known Red Sonja (1985).

Rather soon Arnold switched the blade to bullets. First off came out total classic, Terminator (1984), where Arnold played a slow motioned cyborg. Soon after action-hero stardom raised by starring  role in grandfather of one-man action cheesy movies (well at least almost), at least one of the best and most memorable ones. The movie was called Commando (1985) and was quite successful.  He continued the same type of tough guy role with Raw Deal (1986), Running Man (1987) and Red Heat (1988) and Total Recall (1990) -- while taking a step to face an unknown alien specie in classic Predator (1987).

The hints of upcoming, rather lackluster comedies, was already in the air at late 1980's. Arnold did a step off the action-stardom with comedy movie called Twins, featuring Danny De Vito. It was allright but nothing spectacular. He then continued with comedy, but with approach to attract younger audience, and acted in Kindergarten Cop (1990) in rather comedic role. The movie partly was so stupid that it was funny, although lacked major action scenes.

Two memorable action movies were yet to come out, sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), where Arnold would once again take a role of cyborg from future, but this time as a good cyborg rather than evil. One of the best action movies ever was born. Directed by James Cameron and featured also Linda Hamilton along Robert Patrick. Last Action Hero (1993) once again aimed to a bit younger audience, but was very entertaining action parody.

Then the downhill started, True Lies (1994) was still quite good and so was Eraser (1996), though could not match some of the earlier classics. They had their moments. End of Days (1999) was just average, although had potential with Arnold facing Satan himself. 6th Day (2000) was a bit lackluster.

At this period of time Arnold was letting down his action role and trying to play in stupid cheesy children comedies such as Junior (1994), where Arnold gets pregnant. Fail. Jingle All The Way (1996) as a superhero of the city, aimed for children. Totally stupid. And in total failure of a movie, Batman & Robin, as overly cheesy Mr.Freeze. Cheesy even in terms of Arnold's movie career. There's not much to say about his role in Around The World In 80 Days (2004) either as overly wacky Prince Hapi, plus Collateral Damage (2003) was total lackluster. Terminator 3 (2003) was just average and a big disappointment for me, although I'd blame it on director. Sure these movies have some of so overly acted scenes with Arnold's bad accent that it cannot not be funny at times, but overall just very poor, failed movies. The signs of this to come were already in Kindergarten Cop.

Arnold as a Governator

After taking a step from very successful professional bodybuilder to action-movie star, turning his career into children movie star and failing in that area Arnold became a Governor of California. Quite exceptional run of career development indeed. Now that Arnold has left his job as a governor, and also divorced due the scandal of having a children outside his marriage, he's returned into movie business.

Arnold is back in business

Arnold was meant to act in next Terminator movie, but the scandal assured he won't. He did small role in Expendables 1, and lucky enough Sylvester "Sly" Stallone has offered bigger role for Arnold in the sequel Expendables 2, so we'll see what's to come. Other than that Arnold has two other movies listed as "upcoming": Last Stand (2013) as Sheriff Ray Owens and Black Sands as "The Stranger". Interesting to see how these will come out!

Most memorable roles of Arnold Schwarzenegger

1. Terminator (T-800)

Arnold in Terminator 1

I would claim this to be most memorable and known role of Arnold among many. In 1984 Arnold played (evil) Terminator model T-800, a cyborg from future, assigned to kill Sarah Connor whos about to give birth to a boy -- a boy who would later on be rebel force commander leading attack against machines. In 1991 he played cyborg again in sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day. This time he was not set to kill, but set to defend Sarah and his already born boy (to-be last human hope against machines). Last return of the T-800 was in another sequel, Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines, which was not that good of a flick, though acceptable.

Be it Terminator 1, 2 or 3 -- evil or good cyborg -- Arnold's trademark was always quite the same. Playing a slow and sluggish cyborg, whereas his bad accent was pretty much understood, afterall how would a cyborg learning human language master it anyway? Arnold just fits into the role as a slow minded, but continuously learning macho cyborg, very well. I'd even claim that while Terminator 2 probably is better (and has different approach, less dark) movie than Terminator 1, Arnold's acting was best executed in Terminator 1. He was just very believable and scary as evil T-800 hunting Sarah.

Arnold was most freaky in T1, in my opinion anyway

Some memorable scenes in Terminator 1 include: while entering the world naked Arnold then runs into group of punks who first laugh, then start to treathen the cyborg -- big mistake. "Punks: Nice night for a walk? Nothing Clean Huh? - T-800: "Your clothes -- give dem to me -- nauh". Other memorable moments were peeling off the skin of the arm and cutting off the the cyborg eye, as well as Arnold entering the police station where Sarah resides, and while told visiting time is over he goes to get his car: "I'll be back" -- just to drive in to reception with the car. Other funny one-liner in T1 is when Arnold is residing in a hotel and cleaner asks "hey buddy, got a dead cat in there or what?" and T-800 is seeking a valid option to answer from it's database, then goes :"fuck you -- asshole" with very stale voice. The gun store scene of T-800 trying to buy modern weapons yet to be invented is also crackup.

Arnold's Hunt for clothes Part 1

Terminator 2 had just as much of the great scenes: of course the beginning, when entering world naked once again as a (good) T-800 and then roaming over a biker bar kicking everyone's ass "I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle". What a hilarious scene. Driving around with Harley Davidson blasting with a shotgun, and shooting several cop cars with a minigun from a window in that laboratory, while surrounded by police forces. Shooting iced and frozen T-1000 into pieces while calmly stating "Hasta la vista, baby". What a bunch of memorable acting moments!

Arnold's hunt for clothes Part 2

2. John Matrix

Camouflaged and armed to teeth

Pretty basic action-hero role by Arnold, but perhaps the most well executed of them all after T-800, and man was Arnold on the run here. Arnold played John Matrix in Commando (1985), on a one man mission to rescue his kidnapped daughter and avenge to the crooks. Matrix saves no cheesy one liners, while dragging a helpless and scared woman along the scene of chase. Total testosterone laden comedy the whole action role.

Some really funny and cheesy one liners in this movie: as Matrix cracks the neck of one of the crooks keeping eye on Matrix in aeroplane, he then puts a hat on the guy and states to stewardess: "don't disturb my friend -- he is dead tired". Another one is a wimpy and hopeless crook called Sully taking Matrix to airport, where as a hostage they lead Matrix into plane. Sully makes a crack about Matrix's kidnapped daughter. Matrix then says to Sully: "You are funny guy Sully, I like you, that's why I'm going to kill you last". While chasing Sully later in the movie and finally catching him on a ridge, Matrix holds him hanging over the ridge ready to drop the guy and says: "Remember when I promised to kill you last?", Sully replies "Yes yes! That's right you did!", Matrix then goes "I LAIDH!" and drops the poor sob, hilarious.

The famous I Lied-scene

Few more cheesy one liners are thrown to a green berrett "I eat green berretts for breakfast -- and right now -- I'm very hungry" as well as in the final fight against main bandit Bennett, while throwing a steam pipe through his body: "eat some steam Bennett". Commando also has one of the most memorable weapon armament scenes of action movie history, with Matrix putting on a camouflage paint, and then taking all kinds of arms, rocket launchers and grenades with him. John Matrix is Arnold's reply to Stallone's John Rambo.

3. Conan (The Barbarian)

Sword swinging Arnold

Arnold played Conan in two movies, Conan The Barbarian (1982) and Conan The Destroyer (1984). A restless barbarian out for vengeance (in part one) and to kill evil wizard (part two). Ones who have only seen Arnold in role of a gunslinger will probably wonder, what the hell? But Arnold actually does good job as a macho barbarian slaying his enemies with a large sword. The quite authentic setting and funny acting combined gave Conan films exceptional feeling. They are action-driven, yet adventurous and magical movies. While probably not so many cheesy biting one liners here as in Commando, the role of barbarian in general is just memorable, I mean who wouldn't find comedy in Arnold speaking bad english and swinging large sword through the whole movie?

The most memorable line - Mongol General: "Conan! What is best in life?" Conan: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women." Excellent!

Lamentation of the women-scene

4. Detective John Kimble

Arnold as wacky undercover agent working in kindergarten -- losing his nerves

First truly stupid role of Arnold, in a movie that aimed for younger audience, called Kindergarten Cop (1990). It's just too wacky to be bad. It's so bad it's good, if you know what I mean. John Kimble is like John Matrix trying to teach children in Kindergarten. Totally ridiculous combination. There's no much guns -- there's no that much action -- there's just pure stupidity of overly forced comedy by a man who's best doing comedy when he doesn't try actually to do it -- that it's so idiotic it's hilarious.

I don't remember who wrote the script, but oh boy.. Arnold trying to convince a cop that he is undercover cop and not a criminal: "Hey -- I'm a police officer.. I'm a cop you idiot! -- I'm detective John Kimble!". Arnold teaching children in kindergarten: "Today we are going to play a wonderful game called, who is my daddy -- and what does he do? Who is your daddy -- and what does he do?". Kid: "It might be a tumor", Arnold: "it's not a TUUMAHH!! Not a tumor at all!". Arnold getting angry to a kid who wants to go in to a bathroom and yells his lungs out: "There is no bathroom!" with a strong Austrian accent. You get a picture. This is the role, leading to so ah so many Arnold prank calls.

I'm a cop you idiot-scene

5. Douglas Quaid

Arnold's "face of pain"

Some more cheesiness in a movie not to be taken too serious, yet not meant to be total comedy either. This is sort of Sci-Fi/Action/Comedy. Arnold plays Douglas Quaid who takes a part to a holiday program, which promises ones mind to be able to "dream the vacation" while sleeping and it to feel real. But once things get out of hand, is it really a dream?

First of all this includes most memorable "faces of pain" of Arnold ever. Firstly when fallen a sleep in a chair and tied up, dreaming on his vacation, Quaid wakes up due some sort of a spasm and tries to break free of his chains -- just look at Arnold grinding and making "eaugh eaugh" noises while not able to move. Hilarious! Same goes when he tries to get off some sort of a signal receiver from his nose, which was attached inside his head to reveal his location. Eeugh!

There are also quite many nice one-liners thrown by Arnold with style. A few chauvinistic ones are thrown to his wife, while she throws a cake towards Quaid and misses, he says: "you should not drink and bake". Also later on his wife tries to kill Quaid, and while Quaid avoids it and aims back her with gun, she goes: "Honey we're married" and Arnold says: "consider that as a divorce" with his accent while shooting her. Gold! How macho is that?

Then there's the scene where the crooks are after Quaid, and while facing a dead-end he has a sort of a hologram machines, making ghost images of himself. The crooks then shoot the hologram, and Quaid pretends to be dying, but soon after reveales it's just a hologram and laughs it up. Arnold does his trademark laugh here "hyeaugh hyeaugh hyeaugh", and you cannot but crack up. After last time when it actually is real Quaid and not a hologram he goes: "you think this is the real Quaid ? -- It is!!" and starts shooting. Some totally memorable cheesiness in Total Recall.

The hologram scene - with classic laughter

6. Hercules

Arnold as Hercules, throwing some spear

And as last one there's the Hercules. The movie Hercules In New York was made as early as 1969. Now if you thought that Arnold's aussian-english accent in his 80's movies was bad, check this one out and get shocked. Arnold plays Hercules, who in heaven is bored and wants to visit Earth to seek adventures, but is not awared of modern world, thus totally lost when entering New York.

The acting here is not exceptionally good, actually it's just so sluggish that it's fun. Even more than ever after. Arnold just mostly flexes around with his muscles and talks so bad english that at times it's hard to understand. While he goes to a truck driver: "nice chariot, but where are the horses?", it sounds more like: "nais cheareath pat wheaes zi hoases?". Cracking up for that one. Arnie is also dragging along some old little man who seems to have some weird obsession with muscular Arnold -- never figured out what his story really is except his weird admiration towards Hercules (Arnold).

Also includes the famous fighting scene against most badly ever disguised bear.

Grizzly bear vs. Arnold

7. Mr.Freeze

Arnold as totally over the top and rediculous Mr.Freeze

This movie was called Batman & Robin (1997), and it's really so bad that I'm not sure is it any fun? Well perhaps on some field, but I just cannot stand watching this movie from the beginning till the end. I never have been able to finish it. Arnold though, is just so bad here that it's once again fun. This has to be his worst role ever thus making it more memorable over some others.

Arnold obviously tries to make a world record of using the words Freeze and Ice most time ever in a one movie -- and I don't think it's even a competition. Some famous one liners include: "Freeze well / Stay cool, bird boy / Lets kick some ice / You know what killed the dinosaurs? The ice age! / Allow me to break the ice. / Tonight's forecast, the Freeze is coming", and any other sentences you can come up with related to either ice, frost or cold. How embarassing yet quite funny -- and totally, i mean Totally over-the-top performance. Unfortunately every other actor fails to be any funny in this movie and the general setting and tone stinks, making this one of the worst movies ever made. And what's with the costume, blue face and blue lipstick?

Totally over-the-top one-liners - Freeze!

Discography of Arnold Schwarzenegger (click any link to see buying options):

  • Black Sands (pre-production)
    • The Stranger
  • 2013 Last Stand (filming)
    • Sheriff Ray Owens
  • 2012 The Expendables 2 (filming)
    • Trench
  • 1996 Eraser 
    • U.S. Marshal John 'The Eraser' Kruger
  • 1988/I Twins
    • Julius Benedict
  • 1986 Raw Deal
    • Mark Kaminsky aka Joseph P. Brenner
  • 1979 Scavenger Hunt
    • Lars



  1. MY wife loves cheesy 80's action movies, I'm not saying that I don't, but if I can put the blame on her I will. When we got signed up for the Blockbuster movie pass, we sat down and decided to load our queue up with 80's action hits for a while. Of course we were choosing Arnie movie after Arnie Movie. Started with Commando, Predator, The Running Man, Total Recall, then the Terminator series. There is something about his movies that no matter how cheesy they are you have to enjoy the unabashed death, the never ending clip of ammunition and the oh so common one liners. Commando was a movie made for one liners, Arnie is the king of the one liner so it has to be expected in every movie of his now. I think we got out $10 monthly fee out of it this month for sure, and now I'm ready to force bad Steven Seagal movies on her for the holidays. Unlike my coworkers at DISH, she likes it when I make fun of the one liners during conversation.

  2. I don't know Blockbuster since we don't have that here, but $10 dollars sure isn't bad if there's a lot of movies you like coming weekly.. :-) I think Seagal's later movies really've been struggling for being boring. I did enjoy some of his earlier ones though, like Under Siege which was decently good movie. Thanks for posting.