Where To Start With… Arnold Schwarzenegger
From his humble beginnings as a bodybuilder pumping iron in his native Austria, Arnold Schwarzenegger has gone on to have one of the most improbably successful careers, both in Hollywood and in public life. Landing his first leading role in John Milius’ 1982 film Conan the Barbarian, Arnie went on to notch up a string of blockbusting action hits during the 80s and 90s that saw him become one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. For most, that would be enough, but not Arnie; having conquered Hollywood, he then turned his sights to Washington and ended up as Governor of California, a role that he performed for six years and that earned him the predictable-but-hilarious nickname ‘The Governator’.
When he finally quit the political scene in 2009 he went straight back to acting, making a cameo appearance in Sylvester Stallone’s 2010 explosion-fest The Expendables, and he hasn’t stopped since. With performances in The Last Stand and Escape Plan already under his belt, next week see the release of Sabotage.
Directed by David Ayer (The Fast and the Furious, Training Day), Sabotage sees Arnie taking on the role of John ‘Breacher’ Wharton, head of a DEA task force that seizes $10m from a notorious drug cartel. The gang doesn’t take kindly to the seizure and begins taking its revenge by killing members of Wharton’s team in an attempt to recover the loot, but when the seized money goes missing Wharton finds that he and the rest of his team are under suspicion from the authorities, as well as under fire from the cartel’s henchman. When his wife and daughter are kidnapped, Wharton sets about a mission to recover the loot and save his family. Obviously, lots of stuff gets blown up in the process…
That’s not all either; with new films in the Terminator and Conan franchises already in the pipeline, as well as a follow-up to Twins (yes, really), Arnie fans have plenty to look forward to over the next couple of years. In the meantime, we’ve picked out five of our favourite Arnie moments. Enjoy…
Sabotage - Official Trailer (2014)
Undoubtedly his most famous role, Arnie’s performance as the murderous robot sent from the future to kill revolutionary John Connor is also one of his most iconic. When the government-created artificial intelligence system Skynet decides of its own volition that the human race must be exterminated, a rebellion ensues, led by Connors. Skynet sends one of its terminator robots to seek out and kill a young Connor and his mother Sarah.
The Running Man
One of our favourite Arnie films ever, The Running Man is loosely based on a novel of the same name by Stephen King (under his Richard Bachman pseudonym). Named after a TV gameshow that falls somewhere between The X Factor and fictional bloodbath The Contenders, The Running Man sends convicted criminals into a maze filled with cameras and follows them as they try to survive the attacks of a group of armed gladiators tasked with killing them. Nobody has survived the game yet, but when Ben Richards is stitched up for a crime he didn’t commit, he takes on the challenge and exposes the gameshow’s corruption.
Not everything Arnie does involves huge explosions and grisly deaths; he also churns out the occasional comedy too. By far the best of these is Twins, which sees Arnie’s muscular and innocent character Julius Benedict go hunting for his long-lost twin brother, Vincent, played by Danny DeVito. Yes, the film’s central gag is telegraphed, but it’s still funny, and thanks to some great writing and impressive performances Twins has become a bit of a cult classic; so much so in fact that a sequel, Triplets, is on the way, where the pair will discover they have a third sibling, who is set to be played by Eddie Murphy. Hand us the comedy binoculars, we think we can see where this one is going…
Recently the subject an underwhelming remake, the original version of Total Recall is still a sci-fi classic. Based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, Paul Verhoeven’s film stars Arnie alongside Sharon Stone and Ronny Cox as a construction worker who discovers his past is not what he thinks it is, and when a visit to a ‘virtual holiday’ company to implant memories in his mind goes horribly awry, he uncovers hidden memories and ends up fighting a corrupt mining corporation on Mars. Breaking Bad fans may also recognise a young Dean Norris in the role of Tony, one of the mutant rebels. Featuring some ground-breaking special effects for its time, Total Recall is one of Arnie’s most memorable films.
The Expendables 2
Anyone wondering if the big man’s political career might soften him up a bit needn’t have worried, and will have had all fears abolished on witnessing Arnie’s return to the big screen proper in the follow-up to Stallone’s Expendables. The actor that was really missing from the first film, Arnie makes up for lost time in his usual way: delivering one-liners and blowing stuff up. It’s loud, it’s cheesy, it’s full of explosions and, above all, it’s heaps of fun.
Sabotage is available in hmv stores now, courtesy of Lionsgate